The geometry of standard deontic logic

Logica Universalis 3 (1):19-57 (2009)
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Whereas geometrical oppositions (logical squares and hexagons) have been so far investigated in many fields of modal logic (both abstract and applied), the oppositional geometrical side of “deontic logic” (the logic of “obligatory”, “forbidden”, “permitted”, . . .) has rather been neglected. Besides the classical “deontic square” (the deontic counterpart of Aristotle’s “logical square”), some interesting attempts have nevertheless been made to deepen the geometrical investigation of the deontic oppositions: Kalinowski (La logique des normes, PUF, Paris, 1972) has proposed a “deontic hexagon” as being the geometrical representation of standard deontic logic, whereas Joerden (jointly with Hruschka, in Archiv für Rechtsund Sozialphilosophie 73:1, 1987), McNamara (Mind 105:419, 1996) and Wessels (Die gute Samariterin. Zur Struktur der Supererogation, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2002) have proposed some new “deontic polygons” for dealing with conservative extensions of standard deontic logic internalising the concept of “supererogation”. Since 2004 a new formal science of the geometrical oppositions inside logic has appeared, that is “ n -opposition theory”, or “NOT”, which relies on the notion of “logical bi-simplex of dimension m ” ( m = n − 1). This theory has received a complete mathematical foundation in 2008, and since then several extensions. In this paper, by using it, we show that in standard deontic logic there are in fact many more oppositional deontic figures than Kalinowski’s unique “hexagon of norms” (more ones, and more complex ones, geometrically speaking: “deontic squares”, “deontic hexagons”, “deontic cubes”, . . ., “deontic tetraicosahedra”, . . .): the real geometry of the oppositions between deontic modalities is composed by the aforementioned structures (squares, hexagons, cubes, . . ., tetraicosahedra and hyper-tetraicosahedra), whose complete mathematical closure happens in fact to be a “deontic 5-dimensional hyper-tetraicosahedron” (an oppositional very regular solid).



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Alessio Moretti
Université de Neuchâtel

References found in this work

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