Results for 'Deontic Modals'

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  1. Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. (...)
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  2. Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.J. L. Dowell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
    According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might (...)
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  3.  96
    Evidence Sensitivity in Weak Necessity Deontic Modals.Alex Silk - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):691-723.
    Kolodny and MacFarlane have made a pioneering contribution to our understanding of how the interpretation of deontic modals can be sensitive to evidence and information. But integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard Kratzerian framework for modals suggests ways of capturing the relevant data without treating deontic modals as “informational modals” in their sense. I show that though one such way of capturing the data within the standard semantics fails, an alternative does not. (...)
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  4. Cognitive Products and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs and Deontic Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2017 - In Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.), Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 254-290.
    This paper outlines a semantic account of attitude reports and deontic modals based on cognitive and illocutionary products, mental states, and modal products, as opposed to the notion of an abstract proposition or a cognitive act.
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  5.  56
    Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case Against Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  6.  86
    Contrastive Semantics for Deontic Modals.Justin Snedegar - 2012 - In Martijn Blaauw (ed.), Contrastivism in Philosophy: New Perspectives. Routledge.
    This paper argues for contrastivism about the deontic modals, 'ought', 'must', and 'may'. A simple contrastivist semantics that predicts the desired entailment relations among these modals is offered.
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  7.  22
    Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  8.  54
    Metanormative Theory and the Meaning of Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 395-424.
    Philosophical debate about the meaning of normative terms has long been pulled in two directions by the apparently competing ideas: (i) ‘ought’s do not describe what is actually the case but rather prescribe possible action, thought, or feeling, (ii) all declarative sentences deserve the same general semantic treatment, e.g. in terms of compositionally specified truth conditions. In this paper, I pursue resolution of this tension by rehearsing the case for a relatively standard truth-conditionalist semantics for ‘ought’ conceived as a necessity (...)
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  9.  8
    Deontic Modals and Hyperintensionality.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2019 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 27 (4):387-410.
    In this paper I argue that deontic modals are hyperintensional, i.e. logically equivalent contents cannot be substituted in their scope. I give two arguments, one deductive and the other abductive. First, I show that the contrary thesis leads to falsity; second, I argue that a hyperintensional theory of deontic modals fares better than its rivals in terms of elegance, theoretical simplicity and explanatory power. I then propose a philosophical analysis of this thesis and outline some consequences. (...)
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  10.  20
    Counterfactual-Style Revisions in the Semantics of Deontic Modals.Ana Arregui - 2011 - Journal of Semantics 28 (2):171-210.
    The article argues for a parallelism between the interpretation of deontic modals and the interpretation of counterfactuals. The main claim is that dependencies between facts play a role in the resolution of both types of modality: in both cases, facts ‘stand and fall’ together. The article provides two types of evidence supporting this claim: (i) evidence that comes from the interaction between primary and secondary duties (as presented in contrary-to-duty imperatives) and (ii) evidence that comes from the possibility (...)
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    Deontic Modals: Why Abandon the Default Approach.André Fuhrmann - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1351-1365.
    John Horty has proposed an approach to reasoning with ought-propositions which stands in contrast to the standard modal approach to deontic logic. Horty’s approach is based on default theories as known from the framework of Default Logic. It is argued that the approach cannot be extended beyond the most simple kinds of default theories and that it fails in particular to account for conditional obligations. The most plausible ways of straightening out the defects of the approach conform to a (...)
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    Deontic Modals: Why Abandon the Classical Semantics?John Horty - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):424-460.
    I begin by reviewing classical semantics and the problems presented by normative conflicts. After a brief detour through default logic, I establish some connections between the treatment of conflicts in each of these two approaches, classical and default, and then move on to consider some further issues: priorities among norms, or reasons, conditional oughts, and reasons about reasons.
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  13. Deontic Modals.Jennifer Carr - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 194-210.
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  14. Modals with a Taste of the Deontic.Zoltán Gendler Szabó & Joshua Knobe - 2013 - Semantics and Pragmatics 6 (1):1-42.
    The aim of this paper is to present an explanation for the impact of normative considerations on people’s assessment of certain seemingly purely descriptive matters. The explanation is based on two main claims. First, a large category of expressions are tacitly modal: they are contextually equivalent to modal proxies. Second, the interpretation of predominantly circumstantial or teleological modals is subject to certain constraints which make certain possibilities salient at the expense of others.
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  15. An Object‐Based Truthmaker Semantics for Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):255-288.
    Possible worlds semantics faces a range of difficulties for at least certain types of modals, especially deontic modals with their distinction between heavy and light permissions and obligations. This paper outlines a new semantics of modals that aims to overcome some of those difficulties. The semantics is based on an a novel ontology of modal objects, entities like obligations, permissions, needs, as well as epistemic states, abilities, and essences. Moreover, it is based on truthmaking, in the (...)
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  16.  3
    Is 'Function' a Deontic Modal Word?Michael Beebe - manuscript
    In this paper I develop a theory of 'function' and function as a deontic modal word and phenomenon. Kratzer’s account of the semantics for the deontic modals is invoked and using her approach a formal schema for the semantics of 'function'-sentences is proposed. My account of function is a modalized and extended version of Cummins’ systems-type account of function. In the biological and physical sciences, on this account, function is a complex empirical deontic modal property. It (...)
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  17. Epistemic and Deontic Should.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):73-84.
    Probabilistic theories of “should” and “ought” face a predicament. At first blush, it seems that such theories must provide different lexical entries for the epistemic and the deontic interpretations of these modals. I show that there is a new style of premise semantics that can avoid this consequence in an attractively conservative way.
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  18. Decision Theory: Yes! Truth Conditions: No!Nate Charlow - 2016 - In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This essay makes the case for, in the phrase of Angelika Kratzer, packing the fruits of the study of rational decision-making into our semantics for deontic modals—specifically, for parametrizing the truth-condition of a deontic modal to things like decision problems and decision theories. Then it knocks it down. While the fundamental relation of the semantic theory must relate deontic modals to things like decision problems and theories, this semantic relation cannot be intelligibly understood as representing (...)
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  19.  93
    Supererogation in Deontic Logic: Metatheory for DWE and Some Close Neighbours.Edwin D. Mares & Paul McNamara - 1997 - Studia Logica 59 (3):397-415.
    In "Doing Well Enough: Toward a Logic for Common Sense Morality", Paul McNamara sets out a semantics for a deontic logic which contains the operator It is supererogatory that. As well as having a binary accessibility relation on worlds, that semantics contains a relative ordering relation, . For worlds u, v and w, we say that u w v when v is at least as good as u according to the standards of w. In this paper we axiomatize logics (...)
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  20. Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
  21. Consequence and Contrast in Deontic Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (8):396-416.
    Contrastivists view ought-sentences as expressing comparisons among alternatives. Deontic actualists believe that the value of each alternative in such a comparison is determined by what would actually happen if that alternative were to be the case. One of the arguments that motivates actualism is a challenge to the principle of agglomeration over conjunction—the principle according to which if you ought to run and you ought to jump, then you ought to run and jump. I argue that there is no (...)
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  22.  29
    Introduction: Epistemic Modals.Brit Brogaard & Dimitria Electra Gatzia - 2017 - Topoi 36 (1):127-130.
    Theorists with otherwise radically different commitments agree that epistemic modals mark the necessity or possibility of a prejacent proposition relative to a body of evidence or knowledge. However, there is vast disagreement about the semantics of epistemic modals, which stems in part from the fact that statements of epistemic possibility or necessity make no explicit reference to a speaker or group, an audience, or an evidence set. This volume introduces new philosophical papers that mark a significant contribution to (...)
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  23. Ought, Agents, and Actions.M. Schroeder - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):1-41.
    According to a naïve view sometimes apparent in the writings of moral philosophers, ‘ought’ often expresses a relation between agents and actions – the relation that obtains between an agent and an action when that action is what that agent ought to do. It is not part of this naïve view that ‘ought’ always expresses this relation – on the contrary, adherents of the naïve view are happy to allow that ‘ought’ also has an epistemic sense, on which it means, (...)
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  24. A Flexible Contextualist Account of Epistemic Modals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11:1-25.
    On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. (...)
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  25. Must I Do What I Ought (or Will the Least I Can Do Do)?Paul McNamara - 1996 - In Mark Brown & Jose' Carmo (eds.), Deontic Logic, Agency and Normative Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. pp. 154-173.
    Appears to give the first model-theoretic account of both "must" and "ought" (without conflating them with one another). Some key pre-theoretic semantic and pragmatic phenomena that support a negative answer to the main title question are identified and a conclusion of some significance is drawn: a pervasive bipartisan presupposition of twentieth century ethical theory and deontic logic is false. Next, an intuitive model-theoretic framework for "must" and "ought" is hypothesized. It is then shown how this hypothesis helps to explain (...)
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  26.  39
    Deontic Modality. [REVIEW]Jussi Suikkanen - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):354-363.
    This is a critical notice of Nate Charlow and Matthew Chrisman's (eds.) edited collection of articles entitled Deontic Modality. It begins from a brief overview of Angelika Kratzer's standard ordering semantic model for understanding deontic modals such as 'ought', 'must', and 'may' and some of the problems of this model. The focus is then on how many of the articles of this collection reach to these problems by either developing the standard model further or by formulating alternatives (...)
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  27. A Remark on Iffy Oughts.Malte Willer - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (7):449-461.
    Every adequate semantics for conditionals and deontic ought must offer a solution to the miners paradox about conditional obligations. Kolodny and MacFarlane have recently argued that such a semantics must reject the validity of modus ponens. I demonstrate that rejecting the validity of modus ponens is inessential for an adequate solution to the paradox.
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  28. Weak and Strong Necessity Modals: On Linguistic Means of Expressing "A Primitive Concept OUGHT".Alex Silk - forthcoming - In Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard.
    This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is (...)
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    Normativity in Language and Law.Alex Silk - forthcoming - In David Plunkett, Kevin Toh & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops an account of the meaning and use of various types of legal claims, and uses this account to inform debates about the nature and normativity of law. The account draws on a general framework for implementing a contextualist theory, called 'Discourse Contextualism' (Silk 2016). The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the apparent normativity of claims of law from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, along with general principles of interpretation and (...)
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  30. Narrow-Scoping for Wide-Scopers.Alex Worsnip - 2015 - Synthese 192 (8):2617-2646.
    Many philosophers think that requirements of rationality are “wide-scope”. That is to say: they are requirements to satisfy some material conditional, such that one counts as satisfying the requirement iff one either makes the conditional’s antecedent false or makes its consequent true. These contrast with narrow-scope requirements, where the requirement takes scope only over the consequent of the conditional. Many of the philosophers who have preferred wide-scope requirements to narrow-scope requirements have also endorsed a corresponding semantic claim, namely that ordinary (...)
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  31. Two Puzzles About Deontic Necessity.Dilip Ninan - 2005 - In J. Gajewski, V. Hacquard, B. Nickel & S. Yalcin (eds.), New Work on Modality, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
    The deontic modal must has two surprising properties: an assertion of must p does not permit a denial of p, and must does not take past tense complements. I first consider an explanation of these phenomena that stays within Angelika Kratzer’s semantic framework for modals, and then offer some reasons for rejecting that explanation. I then propose an alternative account, according to which simple must sentences have the force of an imperative.
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  32.  50
    Modals as Distributive Indefinites.Hotze Rullmann, Lisa Matthewson & Henry Davis - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (4):317-357.
    Modals in St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish) show two differences from their counterparts in English. First, they have variable quantificational force, systematically allowing both possibility and necessity interpretations; and second, they lexically restrict the conversational background, distinguishing for example between deontic and (several kinds of) epistemic modality. We provide an analysis of the St’át’imcets modals according to which they are akin to specific indefinites in the nominal domain. They introduce choice function variables which select a subset of the accessible (...)
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  33. Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
    Advocates of Expressivism about basically any kind of language are best-served by abandoning a traditional content-centric approach to semantic theorizing, in favor of an update-centric or dynamic approach (or so this paper argues). The type of dynamic approach developed here — in contrast to the content-centric approach — is argued to yield canonical, if not strictly classical, "explanations" of the core semantic properties of the connectives. (The cases on which I focus most here are negation and disjunction.) I end the (...)
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  34. Oughts and Ends.Stephen Finlay - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):315 - 340.
    This paper advances a reductive semantics for ‘ought’ and a naturalistic theory of normativity. It gives a unified analysis of predictive, instrumental, and categorical uses of ‘ought’: the predictive ‘ought’ is basic, and is interpreted in terms of probability. Instrumental ‘oughts’ are analyzed as predictive ‘oughts’ occurring under an ‘in order that’ modifer (the end-relational theory). The theory is then extended to categorical uses of ‘ought’: it is argued that they are special rhetorical uses of the instrumental ‘ought’. Plausible conversational (...)
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  35.  56
    What Normative Terms Mean and Why It Matters for Ethical Theory.Alex Silk - 2015 - In Mark C. Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol. 5. pp. 296–325.
    This paper investigates how inquiry into normative language can improve substantive normative theorizing. First I examine two dimensions along which normative language differs: “strength” and “subjectivity.” Next I show how greater sensitivity to these features of the meaning and use of normative language can illuminate debates about three issues in ethics: the coherence of moral dilemmas, the possibility of supererogatory acts, and the connection between making a normative judgment and being motivated to act accordingly. The paper concludes with several brief (...)
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  36. What Ought Probably Means, and Why You Can’T Detach It.Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Synthese 177 (1):67 - 89.
    Some intuitive normative principles raise vexing 'detaching problems' by their failure to license modus ponens. I examine three such principles (a self-reliance principle and two different instrumental principles) and recent stategies employed to resolve their detaching problems. I show that solving these problems necessitates postulating an indefinitely large number of senses for 'ought'. The semantics for 'ought' that is standard in linguistics offers a unifying strategy for solving these problems, but I argue that an alternative approach combining an end-relational theory (...)
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  37. Contextualist Solutions to Three Puzzles About Practical Conditionals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 7. Oxford University Press.
  38. ‘Ought’-Contextualism Beyond the Parochial.Alex Worsnip - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Despite its increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. I argue, however, that contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism – on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to – and “aspirational” contextualism – on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards (if any) for (...)
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  39. Anscombe on the Sources of Normativity.Katharina Nieswandt - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (1):141-163.
    Anscombe is usually seen as a critic of “Modern Moral Philosophy.” I attempt a systematic reconstruction and a defense of Anscombe’s positive theory. -/- Anscombe’s metaethics is a hybrid of social constructivism and Aristotelian naturalism. Her three main claims are the following: (1) We cannot trace all duties back to one moral principle; there is more than one source of normativity. (2) Whether I have a certain duty will often be determined by the social practices of my community. For instance, (...)
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  40. Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use.Nate Charlow - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  41. Making Room for Going Beyond the Call.Paul McNamara - 1996 - Mind 105 (419):415-450.
    In the latter half of this century, there have been two mostly separate threads within ethical theory, one on 'superogation', one on 'common-sense morality'. I bring these threads together by systematically reflecting on doing more than one has to do. A rich and coherent set of concepts at the core of common-sense morality is identified, along with various logical connections between these core concepts. Various issues in common-sense morality emerge naturally, as does a demonstrably productive definition of doing more than (...)
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  42. Metanormative Contextualism and Normative Uncertainty.John Pittard & Alex Worsnip - 2017 - Mind 126 (501):155-193.
    We offer a new argument in favour of metanormative contextualism, the thesis that the semantic value of a normative ‘ought’ claim of the form ‘ S ought to Φ’ depends on the value of one or more parameters whose values vary in a way that is determined by the context of utterance. The debate over this contextualist thesis has centred on cases that involve ‘ought’ claims made in the face of uncertainty regarding certain descriptive facts. Contextualists, relativists, and invariantists all (...)
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  43. One Ought Too Many.Stephen Finlay & Justin Snedegar - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):102-124.
    Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which (...)
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  44. Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  45. The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  46. Disagreeing About 'Ought'.Robin McKenna - 2014 - Ethics 124 (3):589-597.
    In their ‘Metaethical contextualism defended’ (Ethics, 2010) Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay argue that metaethical contextualism - roughly, the view that 'ought' claims are semantically incomplete and require supplementation by certain parameters provided by the context in which they are uttered - can deal with two influential problems. The first concerns the connection between deliberation and advice (the 'practical integration problem'). The second concerns the way in which the expression ‘ought’ behaves in intra- and inter-contextual disagreement reports (the 'semantic assessment (...)
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  47. Contextualism and Knowledge Norms.Alex Worsnip - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. Routledge. pp. 177-189.
    I provide an opinionated overview of the literature on the relationship of contextualism to knowledge norms for action, assertion, and belief. I point out that contextualists about ‘knows’ are precluded from accepting the simplest versions of knowledge norms; they must, if they are to accept knowledge norms at all, accept “relativized” versions of them. I survey arguments from knowledge norms both for and against contextualism, tentatively concluding that commitment to knowledge norms does not conclusively win the day either for contextualism (...)
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  48. Chrisman, Matthew. The Meaning of ‘Ought’: Beyond Descriptivism and Expressivism in Metaethics.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. 280. $65.00. [REVIEW]Jack Woods - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):272-277.
  49.  37
    Permission and (So-Called Epistemic) Possibility.Stephen Yablo - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
  50. Imperatives and Modals.Paul Portner - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
    Imperatives may be interpreted with many subvarieties of directive force, for example as orders, invitations, or pieces of advice. I argue that the range of meanings that imperatives can convey should be identified with the variety of interpretations that are possible for non-dynamic root modals (what I call ‘priority modals’), including deontic, bouletic, and teleological readings. This paper presents an analysis of the relationship between imperatives and priority modals in discourse which asserts that, just as declaratives (...)
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