Basic Iffy Oughts
If it is his most stringent prima facie duty, then he ought to doit.
If she promised to come for lunch, then she should come for lunch.
If you want to gain a reputation for honesty, then you should give correct change.
If rain would make the flowers grow, then there ought to be rain.
KeywordsMoral Obligation Ordinary Language Good World False Conclusion Innocent Person
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Notes to Chapter 4
- 1.Although a number of deontic logicians have used the term ‘detachment’ in the relevant sense, I first came across the current use of ‘factual detachment’, as well as the current use of ‘deontic detachment’ in P. S. Greenspan’s ‘Conditional Oughts and Hypothetical Imperatives,’ The Journal of Philosophy LXXII (1975), 259–276.Google Scholar
- 3.My use of ‘overrides’ derives from Chisholm. See his ‘The Ethics of Requirement,’ The American Philosophical Quarterly 1 (1964), 148. Chisholm, in turn, cites W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good (New York: Oxford University Press, 1930), p. 18.Google Scholar
- 6.Once again, I am indebted to David Lewis. My proposal is an agent- and time-relativized version of the concept of conditional obligation he presents in Counterfactuals (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), p. 100. See also his ‘Semantic Analyses for Dyadic Deontic Logic,’ in Logical Theory and Semantic Analysis, ed. by Soren Stenlund (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1974), pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
- 9.Analysis 24 (1963), 33–36.Google Scholar
- 10a.For an excellent review of some of the main treatments of Chisholm’s puzzle, as well as a fine bibliography of recent work in deontic logic in general, see James E. Tomberlin, ‘Contrary-to-Duty Imperatives and Conditional Obligation,’ Noûs XV (1981), 357–375.Google Scholar
- 10b.Two other extremely useful works are: Azizah al-Hibri, Deontic Logic: A Comprehensive Appraisal and a New Proposal (Washington: University press of America, 1978)Google Scholar
- 10c.Risto Hilpinen (ed.), Deontic Logic: Introductory and Systematic Readings (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1971).Google Scholar
- 10d.One of the most insightful discussions of Chisholm’s problem may be found in Lennart Aqvist, ‘Good Samaritans, Contrary to Duty Imperatives, and Epistemic Obligations,’ Noûs 1 (1967), 361–379.Google Scholar
- 12.Criticism along these lines is also presented in DeCew’s ‘Conditional Obligation and Counterfactuals,’ op. cit. For further criticism of Mott’s approach, see Tomberlin’s ‘Contrary to Duty Imperatives and Conditional Obligation, op. cit.Google Scholar
- 13a.I don’t claim to be the first to see things in this way. See, for example, Bas van Fraassen, ‘The Logic of Conditional Obligation,’ Journal of Philosophical Logic 1 (1972), 417–438Google Scholar
- 13b.David Lewis, ‘Semantic Analyses for Dyadic Deontic Logic,’ op. citGoogle Scholar