‘Ought Implies Can’: Not So Pragmatic After All

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
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 on its own terms. ‘Ought’ and ‘can’ do not obey the negation test for presupposition, and they do not obey the calculability or the cancelability tests for conversational implicature. I diagnose these failures as partly a result of the importance of the contrapositive of ‘ought implies can’. I end with a final argument emphasizing the role the principle plays in moral thinking, and the fact that no pragmatic account can do it justice.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
ALEOIC
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-04-01
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Conversational Implicatures.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (2):170-185.
I Ought, Therefore I Can.Vranas, Peter B. M.
Subjective Reasons.Vogelstein, Eric

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ought Implies Can,” Framing Effects, and “Empirical Refutations.Kissinger-Knox, Alicia; Aragon, Patrick & Mizrahi, Moti

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2017-04-01

Total views
226 ( #14,257 of 41,556 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #19,560 of 41,556 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.