New foundations for deontic logic: A preliminary sketch

I outline six components of a comprehensive proposal for overhauling the foundations of deontic logic. (1) Actions and prescriptions are temporally indexed; more precisely, they attach to nodes of a tree in a branching time structure. (2) Actions are (modeled as) sets of branches and can be coarse- or fine-grained depending on whether or not they have proper subsets which are also actions. (3) Prescriptions have satisfaction and violation sets; these are sets of branches which may—but need not—be or include actions. (4) Prescriptive propositions, which state that an action is obligatory/permitted/forbidden according to a given prescription, are defined by relating the action with the satisfaction and violation sets of the prescription. (5) Conditional prescriptions can—but need not—be derived from unconditional or even from other conditional ones. (6) Thick prescriptions, in contrast to thin ones, prescribe or proscribe actions with varying intensities, and can have embedded subprescriptions (some of which are negative, namely “contraryto-duty”). Most of the above components are inspired by the literature, but their combination is novel.
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