Deontic Logic and Legal Rules
Introduction: The Concept of Deontic Logic
Deontic logic is a branch of logic that studies normative concepts such as obligation (“ought”), permission (“may”), prohibition (“may not”), and other related notions (“optional,” “good,” “bad,” “claim,” “power,” “liberty,” “immunity,” “supererogatory,” “blameworthy,” “praiseworthy,” etc.). It investigates the logical features of these concepts, as well as the logical relations among propositions that contain them as their essential constituents. Deontic logic is also concerned with the study of norms, normative systems, and different forms of normative reasoning. That is why it is considered to be particularly relevant for investigating the logical aspects of law, ethics, and other fields in which this kind of reasoning plays a prominent role (see Hilpinnen 1981, 2002; McNamara 2006; Von Wright 1951, 1999).
The origin of the term “deontic” can be traced back to the Greek word “δέον” (gen. δέοντος), which may be translated as “duly,” “as it...
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