According to the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, it is never the case that you ought to do something you cannot do. While many accept this principle in some form, it also has its share of critics, and thus it seems desirable if an argument can be offered in its support. The aim of this paper is to examine a particular way in which the principle has been defended, namely, by appeal to considerations of fairness. In a nutshell, the idea (...) (due to David Copp) is that moral requirements we cannot comply with would be unfair, and there cannot be unfair moral requirements. I discuss several ways of spelling out the argument, and argue that all are unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. (shrink)
David Enoch recently defended the idea that there are valid inferences of the form ‘it would be good if p, therefore, p’. I argue that Enoch's proposal allows us to infer the absurd conclusion that ours is the best of all possible worlds.
There are two distinct views on how to formulate an objective consequentialist account of the deontic status of actions, actualism and possibilism. On an actualist account, what matters to the deontic status of actions is only the value of the outcome an action would have, if performed. By contrast, a possibilist account also takes into account the value of the outcomes that an action could have. These two views come apart in their deontic verdicts when an agent is imperfect in (...) an avoidable way, viz., when agent brings about less good than she could. In this paper, I offer an argument against actualism that draws on the connection between moral obligation and practical reasons. (shrink)
Some moral theories, such as objective forms of consequentialism, seem to fail to be practically useful: they are of little to no help in trying to decide what to do. Even if we do not think this constitutes a fatal flaw in such theories, we may nonetheless agree that being practically useful does make a moral theory a better theory, or so some have suggested. In this paper, I assess whether the uncontroversial respect in which a moral theory can be (...) claimed to be better if it is practically useful can provide a ground worth taking into account for believing one theory rather than another. I argue that this is not the case. The upshot is that if there is a sound objection to theories such as objective consequentialism that is based on considerations of practical usefulness, the objection requires that it is established that the truth about what we morally ought to do cannot be epistemically inaccessible to us. The value of practical usefulness has no bearing on the issue. (shrink)
The characterization of objective, normative reasons to φ as facts (or truths) that count in favor of φ-ing is widely accepted. But are there any further conditions that considerations which count in favor of φ-ing must meet, in order to count as a reason to φ? In this brief paper, I consider and reject one such condition, recently proposed by Caspar Hare.
El estudio y análisis de las argumentaciones cotidianas entendidas como interacciones discursivas e intencionales encaminadas a dar cuenta de algo con el fin de lograr que aquello que se sostiene sea aceptado, sería inconcebible sin la aparición de la teoría de los actos de habla de Austin (1962), la propuesta de Searle (1969), el trabajo de Grice sobre la teoría de la conversación (1975) y el importante estudio sistemático de Hamblin sobre el argumento falaz (1970). Como una reelaboración de dichas (...) obras cabe entender la teoría pragmadialéctica de la argumentación propuesta inicialmente por Frans H. van Eemeren y Rob Grootendorst (1984). Algunos autores (Blair, 2006: 11; Woods, 1992) creen ver en ella, más que una teoría, una amalgama de varias teorías y una particular versión de la teoría pragmadialéctica de la argumentación, entendiendo ésta bajo una acepción más general. Otros consideran que ni es útil ni tampoco especulativamente productivo sostener que de toda argumentación pueda buscarse un modelo según el cual ésta buscaría resolver una diferencia de opinión (Goodwin, 1999). (shrink)
In this article I develop a new perspective on Kierkegaard’s ethics of becoming oneself. I understand this important subject from the perspective of moral exemplarity, a viewpoint for which there has not been sufficient attention in Kierkegaard scholarship on the subject of becoming oneself. On the basis of a combined reading of his The sickness unto death and his Practice in Christianity I show that Kierkegaard argues, under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, that one becomes oneself through the imitation of Christ. I (...) elaborate this Christian ethics of becoming oneself by focusing on the transition from philosophy to theology in Anti-Climacus’ ethics, and, moreover, by making clear, first, how one can become oneself through the imitation of Christ; second, why one should, according to Anti-Climacus, imitate Christ; and third, what exactly should be imitated in the imitation of Christ. In the conclusion of this article I argue that, contra a dominant interpretation among Kierkegaard scholars, human beings can be themselves according to Anti-Climacus. (shrink)
The central characteristic of denials is that they perform a non-monotonic correction operation on discourse structure. A second characteristic is that they may be used to object to various kinds of information including presuppositions and implicatures. In this paper we first use standard DRT to capture these features, implement an earlier proposal of van der Sandt in DRT and point out a shortcoming of that approach. We then adopt Layered DRT. LDRT is an extension of standard DRT designed to represent (...) and interpret different types of information conveyed in a conversation by distributing them over separate layers of the same LDRS. We will then show how LDRT allows us to solve the problems of the classic monostratal system. The resulting system makes use of a di- rected reverse anaphora mechanism to locate, remove and negate the material objected to. (shrink)
The central characteristic of denials is that they perform a non-monotonic correction operation on discourse structure. A second characteristic is that they may be used to object to various kinds of information including presuppositions and implicatures. In this paper we first use standard DRT to capture these features, implement an earlier proposal of van der Sandt (1991) in DRT and point out a shortcoming of that approach. We then adopt Layered DRT. LDRT is an extension of standard DRT designed to (...) represent and interpret different types of information conveyed in a conversation by distributing them over separate layers of the same LDRS. We will then show how LDRT allows us to solve the problems of the classic monostratal system. The resulting system makes use of a directed reverse anaphora mechanism to locate, remove and negate the material objected to. (shrink)
Some conspicuous characteristics of argumentation as we all know this phenomenon from our shared everyday experiences are in my view vital to its theoretical treatment because they should have methodological consequences for the way in which argumentation research is conducted. To start with, argumentation is in the first place a communicative act complex, which is realized by making functional verbal communicative moves.