Ought Implies Can

Edited by Guglielmo Feis (Università degli Studi di Milano)
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  1. added 2020-06-18
    How “Ought” Exceeds but Implies “Can”: Description and Encouragement in Moral Judgment.John Turri - 2017 - Cognition 168:267-275.
    This paper tests a theory about the relationship between two important topics in moral philosophy and psychology. One topic is the function of normative language, specifically claims that one “ought” to do something. Do these claims function to describe moral responsibilities, encourage specific behavior, or both? The other topic is the relationship between saying that one “ought” to do something and one’s ability to do it. In what respect, if any, does what one “ought” to do exceed what one “can” (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-19
    A Millian Objection to Reasons as Evidence.Guy Fletcher - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (3):417-420.
    Stephen Kearns and Daniel Star have recently proposed this thesis: [Reasons as Evidence: Necessarily, a fact F is a reason for an agent A to PHI.
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  3. added 2019-12-11
    The Priority of the Epistemic.Parker Crutchfield & Scott Scheall - forthcoming - Episteme.
    Epistemic burdens – the nature and extent of our ignorance (that and how) with respect to various courses of action – serve to determine our incentive structures. Courses of action that seem to bear impossibly heavy epistemic burdens are typically not counted as options in an actor’s menu, while courses of action that seem to bear comparatively heavy epistemic burdens are systematically discounted in an actor’s menu relative to options that appear less epistemically burdensome. That ignorance serves to determine what (...)
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  4. added 2019-09-19
    Conflicts of Normativity.Andrew Reisner - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    The thesis contains my early work arguing against evidentialism for reasons for belief (chapter 1), my early argument that rationality is not normative (chapter 2), an argument that rationality is not responding reasons, at least understood in one way (chapter 2), a general discussion of how normative conflicts might (appear to) arise in many different ways (chapter 3), a discussion of how to weigh pragmatic and evidential reasons for belief (chapter 4), and a discussion of the general structure of normativity (...)
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  5. added 2019-05-04
    Is Motivation Internal to Value?J. David Velleman - 1998 - In C. Fehige & U. Wessels (eds.), Preferences. Walter de Gruyter.
    The view that something's being good for a person depends on his capacity to care about it – sometimes called internalism about a person’s good – is here derived from the principle that 'ought' implies 'can'. In the course of this derivation, the limits of internalism are discussed, and a distinction is drawn between two senses of the phrase "a person's good".
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  6. added 2018-04-22
    If You Can't Change What You Believe, You Don't Believe It.Grace Helton - forthcoming - Noûs.
    I develop and defend the view that subjects are necessarily psychologically able to revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence. Specifically, subjects can revise their beliefs in response to relevant counter-evidence, given their current psychological mechanisms and skills. If a subject lacks this ability, then the mental state in question is not a belief, though it may be some other kind of cognitive attitude, such as a supposi-tion, an entertained thought, or a pretense. The result is a moderately revisionary (...)
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  7. added 2018-04-17
    Contrary-to-Duty Scenarios, Deontic Dilemmas, and Transmission Principles.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - Ethics 129 (1):98-115.
    Actualists hold that contrary-to-duty scenarios give rise to deontic dilemmas and provide counterexamples to the transmission principle, according to which we ought to take the necessary means to actions we ought to perform. In an earlier article, I have argued, contrary to actualism, that the notion of ‘ought’ that figures in conclusions of practical deliberation does not allow for deontic dilemmas and validates the transmission principle. Here I defend these claims, together with my possibilist account of contrary-to-duty scenarios, against Stephen (...)
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  8. added 2017-09-18
    "Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and "Empirical Refutations".Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):165-182.
    This paper aims to contribute to the current debate about the status of the “Ought Implies Can” principle and the growing body of empirical evidence that undermines it. We report the results of an experimental study which show that people judge that agents ought to perform an action even when they also judge that those agents cannot do it and that such “ought” judgments exhibit an actor-observer effect. Because of this actor-observer effect on “ought” judgments and the Duhem-Quine thesis, talk (...)
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  9. added 2017-09-16
    Moral Failure — Response to Critics.Lisa Tessman - 2016 - Feminist Philosophical Quarterly 2 (1):1-18.
    I briefly introduce Moral Failure as a book that brings together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology to examine moral requirements that are non-negotiable and that contravene the principle that “ought implies can.” I respond to Rivera by arguing that the process of construction that imbues normative requirements with authority need not systematize or eliminate conflicts between normative requirements. My response to Schwartzman clarifies what is problematic about nonideal theorizing that limits itself to offering action-guidance. In response to Kittay, (...)
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  10. added 2017-09-04
    On the Theoretical Significance of G. A. Cohen’s Fact-Insensitivity Thesis.Kyle Johannsen - 2017 - Res Publica 23 (2):245-53.
    G. A. Cohen’s claim that fundamental principles are ‘fact-insensitive’ has not received an especially warm welcome from the philosophical community. While some philosophers have expressed doubts about the plausibility of his claim, others have complained that even if his thesis is true, it is also relatively insignificant. In my paper, I argue that the fact-insensitivity thesis, if true, provides considerable support for value pluralism, and is thus of interest for that reason. Though Cohen himself assumes a plurality of fundamental principles, (...)
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  11. added 2017-08-14
    An Analysis of Recent Empirical Data on ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):57-67.
    Recent experimental studies dispute the position that commonsense morality accepts ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’, the view that, necessarily, if an agent ought to perform some action, then she can perform that action. This paper considers and supports explanations for the results of these studies on the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive and true.
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  12. added 2017-07-17
    Sound Advice and Internal Reasons.Ariela Tubert - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):181-199.
    Reasons internalism holds that reasons for action contain an essential connection with motivation. I defend an account of reasons internalism based on the advisor model. The advisor model provides an account of reasons for action in terms of the advice of a more rational version of the agent. Contrary to Pettit and Smith's proposal and responding to Sobel's and Johnson's objections, I argue that the advisor model can provide an account of internal reasons and that it is too caught up (...)
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  13. added 2017-04-01
    ‘Ought Implies Can’: Not So Pragmatic After All.Alex King - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):637-661.
    Those who want to deny the ‘ought implies can’ principle often turn to weakened views to explain ‘ought implies can’ phenomena. The two most common versions of such views are that ‘ought’ presupposes ‘can’, and that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. This paper will reject both views, and in doing so, present a case against any pragmatic view of ‘ought implies can’. Unlike much of the literature, I won't rely on counterexamples, but instead will argue that each of these views fails (...)
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  14. added 2016-12-08
    Reasons and Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (3):214-235.
    Many philosophers accept a response constraint on normative reasons: that p is a reason for you to φ only if you are able to φ for the reason that p. This constraint offers a natural way to cash out the familiar and intuitive thought that reasons must be able to guide us, and has been put to work as a premise in a range of influential arguments in ethics and epistemology. However, the constraint requires interpretation and faces putative counter-examples due (...)
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  15. added 2016-12-08
    I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
    I defend the following version of the ought-implies-can principle: (OIC) by virtue of conceptual necessity, an agent at a given time has an (objective, pro tanto) obligation to do only what the agent at that time has the ability and opportunity to do. In short, obligations correspond to ability plus opportunity. My argument has three premises: (1) obligations correspond to reasons for action; (2) reasons for action correspond to potential actions; (3) potential actions correspond to ability plus opportunity. In the (...)
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  16. added 2016-06-06
    Does “Ought” Imply “Feasible”?Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (1):7-45.
    Many of us feel internally conflicted in the face of certain normative claims that make infeasible demands: say, normative claims that demand that agents do what, given deeply entrenched objectionable character traits, they cannot bring themselves to do. On the one hand, such claims may seem false on account of demanding the infeasible, and insisting otherwise may seem to amount to objectionable unworldliness – to chasing “pies in the sky.” On the other hand, such claims may seem true in spite (...)
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  17. added 2016-03-01
    "Actual" Does Not Imply "Feasible".Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3037-3060.
    The familiar complaint that some ambitious proposal is infeasible naturally invites the following response: Once upon a time, the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women seemed infeasible, yet these things were actually achieved. Presumably, then, many of those things that seem infeasible in our own time may well be achieved too and, thus, turn out to have been perfectly feasible after all. The Appeal to History, as we call it, is a bad argument. It is not true that (...)
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  18. added 2016-02-29
    Review: M. V. Ackeren and M. Kühler (Eds.) The Limits of Moral Obligation: Moral Demandingness and Ought Implies Can (New York: Routledge, 2016), 210 Pages. ISBN: 9781138824232 (Hbk). Hardback: £90.00. [REVIEW]Alfred Archer - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
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  19. added 2016-02-01
    How Reasons Are Sensitive to Available Evidence.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 90-114.
    In this paper, I develop a theory of how claims about an agent’s normative reasons are sensitive to the epistemic circumstances of this agent, which preserves the plausible ideas that reasons are facts and that reasons can be discovered in deliberation and disclosed in advice. I argue that a plausible theory of this kind must take into account the difference between synchronic and diachronic reasons, i.e. reasons for acting immediately and reasons for acting at some later point in time. I (...)
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  20. added 2015-11-30
    Ought, Can, and Presupposition: A Reply to Kurthy and Lawford-Smith.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):250-256.
    I report the results of a follow-up study, designed to address concerns raised by Kurthy and Lawford-Smith in response to my original study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Like the results of the original study, the results of the follow-up study do not support the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive. The results of both studies suggest that OIC is probably not a principle of ordinary moral cognition. As I have argued in my paper, I take this (...)
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  21. added 2015-08-22
    Inability and Obligation in Moral Judgment.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2015 - PLoS ONE 10 (8).
    It is often thought that judgments about what we ought to do are limited by judgments about what we can do, or that “ought implies can.” We conducted eight experiments to test the link between a range of moral requirements and abilities in ordinary moral evaluations. Moral obligations were repeatedly attributed in tandem with inability, regardless of the type (Experiments 1–3), temporal duration (Experiment 5), or scope (Experiment 6) of inability. This pattern was consistently observed using a variety of moral (...)
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  22. added 2015-01-22
    Acts, Attitudes, and Rational Control.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    I argue that when determining whether an agent ought to perform an act, we should not hold fixed the fact that she’s going to form certain attitudes (and, here, I’m concerned with only reasons-responsive attitudes such as beliefs, desires, and intentions). For, as I argue, agents have, in the relevant sense, just as much control over which attitudes they form as which acts they perform. This is important because what effect an act will have on the world depends not only (...)
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  23. added 2014-12-08
    Ought, Can, and Presupposition: An Experimental Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):232-243.
    In this paper, I present the results of an experimental study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Many philosophers accept as an axiom the principle known as “Ought Implies Can” (OIC). If the truth of OIC is intuitive, such that it is accepted by many philosophers as an axiom, then we would expect people to judge that agents who are unable to perform an action are not morally obligated to perform that action. The results of my experimental (...)
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  24. added 2014-08-18
    Is the Right Prior to the Good?Julian Fink - 2007 - South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):143-149.
    One popular line of argument put forward in support of the principle that the right is prior to the good is to show that teleological theories, which put the good prior to the right, lead to implausible normative results. There are situa- tions, it is argued, in which putting the good prior to the right entails that we ought to do things that cannot be right for us to do. Consequently, goodness cannot (always) explain an action's rightness. This indicates that (...)
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  25. added 2014-08-08
    Instrumental Normativity: In Defense of the Transmission Principle.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):921-946.
    If you ought to perform a certain act, and some other action is a necessary means for you to perform that act, then you ought to perform that other action as well – or so it seems plausible to say. This transmission principle is of both practical and theoretical significance. The aim of this paper is to defend this principle against a number of recent objections, which (as I show) are all based on core assumptions of the view called actualism. (...)
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  26. added 2014-03-22
    The Force and Fairness of Blame.Pamela Hieronymi - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):115–148.
    In this paper I consider fairness of blaming a wrongdoer. In particular, I consider the claim that blaming a wrongdoer can be unfair because blame has a certain characteristic force, a force which is not fairly imposed upon the wrongdoer unless certain conditions are met--unless, e.g., the wrongdoer could have done otherwise, or unless she is someone capable of having done right, or unless she is able to control her behavior by the light of moral reasons. While agreeing that blame (...)
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  27. added 2014-03-15
    Rational Capacity as a Condition on Blame.Pamela Hieronymi - 2007 - Philosophical Books 48 (2):109–123.
    In "Rational Capacities" Michael Smith outlines the sense of capacity he believes to be required before blame is appropriate. I question whether this sense of capacity is required. In so doing, I consider different ways in which blame might be conditioned.
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  28. added 2014-03-14
    Hard Determinism, Humeanism, and Virtue Ethics.Ben Vilhauer - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):121-144.
    Hard determinists hold that we never have alternative possibilities of action—that we only can do what we actually do. This means that if hard determinists accept the “ought implies can” principle, they mustaccept that it is never the case that we ought to do anything we do not do. In other words, they must reject the view that there can be “ought”- based moral reasons to do things we do not do. Hard determinists who wish to accommodate moral reasons to (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-12
    Ethical Theories and Moral Guidance.Pekka Väyrynen - 2006 - Utilitas 18 (3):291-309.
    Let the Guidance Constraint be the following norm for evaluating ethical theories: Other things being at least roughly equal, ethical theories are better to the extent that they provide adequate moral guidance. I offer an account of why ethical theories are subject to the Guidance Constraint, if indeed they are. We can explain central facts about adequate moral guidance, and their relevance to ethical theory, by appealing to certain forms of autonomy and fairness. This explanation is better than explanations that (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-06
    Responsibility for Believing.Pamela Hieronymi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (3):357-373.
    Many assume that we can be responsible only what is voluntary. This leads to puzzlement about our responsibility for our beliefs, since beliefs seem not to be voluntary. I argue against the initial assumption, presenting an account of responsibility and of voluntariness according to which, not only is voluntariness not required for responsibility, but the feature which renders an attitude a fundamental object of responsibility (that the attitude embodies one’s take on the world and one’s place in it) also guarantees (...)
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  31. added 2014-03-05
    ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’.Moti Mizrahi - 2009 - Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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  32. added 2014-02-25
    “The Thing To Do” Implies “Can”.Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):61-72.
    A familiar complaint against the principle that “ought” implies “can” is that it seems that agents can intentionally make it the case that they cannot perform acts that they nonetheless ought to perform. I propose a related principle that I call the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can.” I argue that the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can” is implied by important but underappreciated truths about practical reason, and that it is not vulnerable to the familiar (...)
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  33. added 2014-02-15
    ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Fairness.Rob van Someren Greve - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):913-922.
    According to the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, it is never the case that you ought to do something you cannot do. While many accept this principle in some form, it also has its share of critics, and thus it seems desirable if an argument can be offered in its support. The aim of this paper is to examine a particular way in which the principle has been defended, namely, by appeal to considerations of fairness. In a nutshell, the idea (...)
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  34. added 2014-01-03
    Ought We to Forget What We Cannot Forget? A Reply to Sybille Schmidt.Attila Tanyi - 2015 - In Giovanni Galizia & David Shulman (eds.), Forgetting: An Interdisciplinary Conversation. Magnes Press of the Hebrew University. pp. 258-262.
    This is a short response to Sybille Schmidt's paper (in the same volume) "Is There an Ethics of Forgetting?". The response starts out by admitting that forgetting is an essential function of human existence, that it serves, as it were, an important evolutionary function: that it is good, since it contributes to our well-being, to have the ability to forget. But this does not give us as answer, affirmative or not, to Schmidt’s title question: “Is There an Ethics of Forgetting?” (...)
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  35. added 2013-10-16
    Unwitting Wrongdoers and the Role of Moral Disagreement in Blame.Matthew Talbert - 2013 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 1. Oxford University Press.
    I argue against the claim that morally ignorant wrongdoers are open to blame only if they are culpable for their ignorance, and I argue against a version of skepticism about moral responsibility that depends on this claim being true. On the view I defend, the attitudes involved in blame are typically responses to the features of an action that make it objectionable or unjustifiable from the perspective of the one who issues the blame. One important way that an action can (...)
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  36. added 2012-09-05
    Does ‘Ought’ Imply ‘Can’ From an Epistemic Point of View?Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):829-840.
    In this paper, I argue that the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle, as it is employed in epistemology, particularly in the literature on epistemic norms, is open to counterexamples. I present a counterexample to OIC and discuss several objections to it. If this counterexample works, then it shows that it is possible that S ought to believe that p, even though S cannot believe that p. If this is correct, then OIC, considered from an epistemic point of view, is false, (...)
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  37. added 2012-08-26
    Non-Ideal Accessibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):653-669.
    What should we do when we won't do as we ought? Suppose it ought to be that the procrastinating professor accept the task of reviewing a book, and actually review the book. It seems clear that given he won't review it, he ought not to accept the task. That is a genuine moral obligation in light of less than perfect circumstances. I want to entertain the possibility that a set of such obligations form something like a 'practical morality'; that which (...)
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  38. added 2012-08-20
    An Essay in Deontic Logic and the General Theory of Action.G. H. von Wright (ed.) - 1968 - Amsterdam: North-Holland Pub. Co..
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  39. added 2011-06-14
    Factualism, Normativism and the Bounds of Normativity.Thomas M. Besch - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (2):347-365.
    The paper argues that applications of the principle that “ought” implies “can” (OIC) depend on normative considerations even if the link between “ought” and “can” is logical in nature. Thus, we should reject a common, “factualist” conception of OIC and endorse weak “normativism”. Even if we use OIC as the rule ““cannot” therefore “not ought””, applying OIC is not a mere matter of facts and logic, as factualists claim, but often draws on “proto-ideals” of moral agency.
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  40. added 2008-12-31
    ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Practical Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):363-73.
    Some recent defenses of the 'ought' implies 'can' (OIC) principle try to derive that principle from uncontroversial claims about reasons for action. Reasons for action, it's said, are reasons only for 'potential' actions, which are actions that an agent can perform. Given that 'ought' implies 'reasons', it seems we have our proof of OIC. In this paper, I argue that this latest strategy for defending OIC fails.
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  41. added 2008-12-31
    Internal Reasons and the Ought-Implies-Can Principle.Jonny Anomaly - 2008 - Philosophical Forum 39 (4):469-483.
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  42. added 2008-12-31
    Ought-Implies-Can: Erasmus Luther and R.M. Hare.Charles R. Pigden - 1990 - Sophia 29 (1):2-30.
    l. There is an antinomy in Hare's thought between Ought-Implies-Can and No-Indicatives-from-Imperatives. It cannot be resolved by drawing a distinction between implication and entailment. 2. Luther resolved this antinomy in the l6th century, but to understand his solution, we need to understand his problem. He thought the necessity of Divine foreknowledge removed contingency from human acts, thus making it impossible for sinners to do otherwise than sin. 3. Erasmus objected (on behalf of Free Will) that this violates Ought-Implies-Can which he (...)
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