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Contrary-to-Duty Paradoxes and Counterfactual Deontic Logic
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
Number of Authors: 12019 (English)In: Philosophia (Ramat Gan), ISSN 0048-3893, E-ISSN 1574-9274, Vol. 47, no 4, p. 1247-1282Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, I will discuss some examples of the so-called contrary-to-duty (obligation) paradox, a well-known puzzle in deontic logic. A contrary-to-duty obligation is an obligation telling us what ought to be the case if something forbidden is true, for example: 'If she is guilty, she should confess'. Contrary-to-duty obligations are important in our moral and legal thinking. Therefore, we want to be able to find an adequate symbolisation of such obligations in some logical system, a task that has turned out to be difficult. This is shown by the so-called contrary-to-duty (obligation) paradox. I will investigate and evaluate one kind of solution to this problem that has been suggested in the literature, which I will call the 'counterfactual solution'. I will use some recent systems that combine not only counterfactual logic and deontic logic, but also temporal logic, in my analysis of the paradox. I will argue that the counterfactual solution has many attractive features and that it can give a fairly satisfactory answer to some examples of the contrary-to-duty paradox, but that it nevertheless has some serious problems. The conclusion is that, notwithstanding the many attractive features of the solution, there seem to be other approaches to the paradox that are more promising.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 47, no 4, p. 1247-1282
Keywords [en]
Contrary-to-duty paradox, Chisholm's paradox, Deontic logic, Contrary-to-duty obligation, Counterfactual logic
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173090DOI: 10.1007/s11406-018-0036-0ISI: 000481761100021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173090DiVA, id: diva2:1358403
Available from: 2019-10-07 Created: 2019-10-07 Last updated: 2019-10-07Bibliographically approved

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