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The Australian National University

Janice Dowell (Syracuse): Flexible Contextualism, Contrastivism, Inheritance, and Iffy ‘Ought’s

Date and time

Thu, 15/06/2017 - 15:30 - 17:30


Coombs Seminar Room B

Title: Flexible Contextualism, Contrastivism, Inheritance, and Iffy ‘Ought’s
J.L. Dowell and Aaron Bronfman

Fabrizio Cariani has argued against a Kratzer-style semantics for deontic modals on the grounds that it validates both the principle of Inheritance (if p entails q, then ought p entails ought q) and, together with Kratzer’s own widely accepted semantics for the indicative conditional, that if p, ought p, both of which raise puzzles. He then uses the rejection of Inheritance as a motivation for his own contrastivist view, Resolution Semantics.
Here we show, first, that not only is rejecting Inheritance not necessary for solving the puzzles, its rejection saddles Resolution Semantics with puzzles of its own. We then show that, while Cariani’s own preferred explanation of the if p, ought p puzzle is equally compatible with the canonical semantics, our alternative does even better.

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