The Paradoxes of Deontic Logic: The Simplest Solution to all of them in one Fell Swoop

  • Hector-Neri Castañeda
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 152)


Deontic logic, as a discipline of study, deals with the structure of our ordinary reasoning about obligations, ought’s, interdictions, prohibitions, wrongs, rights, and freedoms to act. Thus, it is supposed to: (i) reveal and clarify the criteria for valid reasoning about those matters; (ii) illuminate and give us understanding of the logical structure of the ordinary language through which we live our experiences of obligations, requirements, wrongs, rights, etc. Consequently, a formal calculus proposed as a deontic calculus together with its primary interpretation is a theory about the logical structure of our ordinary deontic language and about our ordinary deontic reasonings. Clearly, then, such a calculus should be proposed after a careful examination of the linguistic data pertaining to our deontic experiences.


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  1. 11.
    Lawrence Powers, ‘Some Deontic Logicians’, Noûs 1 (1967), 361–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 15.
    Bas van Fraassen’s in his ‘The Logic of Conditional Obligation’, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 1 (1972), 417–438, p. 424. Van Fraassen in this paper discusses the Good-Samaritan arguing that in modal contexts the substitutivity of identicals fails. This is not right, since what fails in general need not fail in particular cases. Furthermore, in ordinary deontic English ought contexts are extensional with respect to the substitutivity of identicals.Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    Willard Van Orman Quine, Methods of Logic (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, revised edition, 1963), pp. 116ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hector-Neri Castañeda
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana UniversityUSA

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