Authors
Alex Silk
University of Birmingham
Abstract
This paper argues that a standard analysis of modals from formal semantics suggests a solution to the detaching problem — the problem of whether un-embedded 'ought'-claims can "detach" (be derived) from hypothetical imperatives and their antecedent conditions. On a broadly Kratzerian analysis, modals have a skeletal conventional meaning and receive a particular reading (e.g., deontic, epistemic, teleological) only relative to certain forms of contextual supplementation. I argue that 'ought'-claims can detach — subject to an important qualification — but only as long as the 'ought's in the conditional premise and conclusion are interpreted relative to the same ordering sources. Although modus ponens can be shown to fail with hypothetical imperatives, the cases in question do not constitute a failure of detachment in the sense that ethicists have cared about. Rival wide-scoping accounts are proven to be linguistically problematic. They make incorrect predictions about the meanings of hypothetical imperatives, and founder in response to quantificational variants of the detaching problem
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,209
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Policy Externalism.Daniel Drucker - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):261-285.
Modus Ponens Under the Restrictor View.Moritz Schulz - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (6):1001-1028.
Narrow-Scoping for Wide-Scopers.Alex Worsnip - 2015 - Synthese 192 (8):2617-2646.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Imperatives and Modals.Paul Portner - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
Two Objections to Wide-Scoping.Daan Evers - 2011 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 83 (1):251-255.
Were Kant's Hypothetical Imperatives Wide-Scope Oughts?Simon Rippon - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):783-788.
Logic and Semantics for Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):617-664.
Evidence Sensitivity in Weak Necessity Deontic Modals.Alex Silk - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):691-723.
What We Know and What to Do.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.
A Preference Semantics for Imperatives.William B. Starr - 2020 - Semantics and Pragmatics 20.
Are Methodological Rules Hypothetical Imperatives?David B. Resnik - 1992 - Philosophy of Science 59 (3):498-507.
Practical Reason and 'Companions in Guilt'.James Harold - 2003 - Philosophical Investigations 26 (4):311–331.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-02-18

Total views
91 ( #119,748 of 2,455,352 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #225,792 of 2,455,352 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes