Deontic Logic, Weakening and Decisions Concerning Disjunctive Obligations

Logos and Episteme 13 (1):93-102 (2022)
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This paper introduces two new paradoxes for standard deontic logic (SDL). They are importantly related to, but distinct from Ross' paradox. These two new paradoxes for SDL are the simple weakening paradox and the complex weakening paradox. Both of these paradoxes arise in virtue of the underlaying logic of SDL and are consequences of the fact that SDL incorporates the principle known as weakening. These two paradoxes then show that SDL has counter-intuitive implications related to disjunctive obligations that arise in virtue of deontic weakening and in virtue of decisions concerning how to discharge such disjunctive obligations. The main result here is then that theorem T1 is a problematic component of SDL that needs to be addressed.

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Michael Shaffer
Gustavus Adolphus College


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