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I Ought to Reply, So I Can

Philosophia 47 (5):1547-1554 (2019)

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  1. Against Some Recent Arguments for ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’: Reasons, Deliberation, Trying, and Furniture.Paul Henne, Jennifer Semler, Vladimir Chituc, Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):131-139.
    Many philosophers claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. In light of recent empirical evidence, however, some skeptics conclude that philosophers should stop assuming the principle unconditionally. Streumer, however, does not simply assume the principle’s truth; he provides arguments for it. In this article, we argue that his arguments fail to support the claim that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’.
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  • Unbelievable Errors: An Error Theory About All Normative Judgments.Bart Streumer - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Unbelievable Errors defends an error theory about all normative judgements: not just moral judgements, but also judgements about reasons for action, judgements about reasons for belief, and instrumental normative judgements. This theory states that normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, but that normative properties do not exist. It therefore entails that all normative judgements are false. -/- Bart Streumer also argues, however, that we cannot believe this error theory. This may seem to be a problem for the theory. (...)
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  • Reasons and Impossibility.Ulrike Heuer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (2):235 - 246.
    In this paper, I argue that a person can have a reason to do what she cannot do. In a nutshell, the argument is that a person can have derivate reasons relating to an action that she has a non-derivative reason to perform. There are clear examples of derivative reasons that a person has in cases where she cannot do what she (non-derivatively) has reason to do. She couldn’t have those derivative reasons, unless she also had the non-derivative reason to (...)
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  • Deontic Morality and Control.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book addresses a dilemma concerning freedom and moral obligation. If determinism is true, then no one has control over one's actions. If indeterminism is true, then no one has control over their actions. But it is morally obligatory, right or wrong for one to perform some action only if one has control over it. Hence, no one ever performs an action that is morally obligatory, right or wrong. The author defends the view that this dilemma can be evaded but (...)
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  • The Concept of Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    The principal aim of this book is to develop and defend an analysis of the concept of moral obligation. The analysis is neutral regarding competing substantive theories of obligation, whether consequentialist or deontological in character. What it seeks to do is generate solutions to a range of philosophical problems concerning obligation and its application. Amongst these problems are deontic paradoxes, the supersession of obligation, conditional obligation, prima facie obligation, actualism and possibilism, dilemmas, supererogation, and cooperation. By virtue of its normative (...)
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  • Modal Thinking.Alan R. White - 1975 - Cornell University Press.
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  • `Ought' Conversationally Implies `Can'.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 1984 - Philosophical Review 93 (2):249-261.
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  • Blame, Not Ability, Impacts Moral “Ought” Judgments for Impossible Actions: Toward an Empirical Refutation of “Ought” Implies “Can”.Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2016 - Cognition 150:20-25.
    Recently, psychologists have explored moral concepts including obligation, blame, and ability. While little empirical work has studied the relationships among these concepts, philosophers have widely assumed such a relationship in the principle that “ought” implies “can,” which states that if someone ought to do something, then they must be able to do it. The cognitive underpinnings of these concepts are tested in the three experiments reported here. In Experiment 1, most participants judge that an agent ought to keep a promise (...)
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  • 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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  • Reasons and Impossibility.Bart Streumer - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):351-384.
    Many philosophers claim that it cannot be the case that a person ought to perform an action if this person cannot perform this action. However, most of these philosophers do not give arguments for the truth of this claim. In this paper, I argue that it is plausible to interpret this claim in such a way that it is entailed by the claim that there cannot be a reason for a person to perform an action if it is impossible that (...)
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  • An Empirical Refutation of ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Paul Henne, Vladimir Chituc, Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2016 - Analysis 76 (3):283-290.
    Most philosophers assume that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, and most of them hold that this principle is true not only universally but also analytically or conceptually. Some skeptics deny this principle, although they often admit some related one. In this article, we show how new empirical evidence bolsters the skeptics’ arguments. We then defend the skeptical view against some objections to the empirical evidence and to its effect on the traditional principle. In light of the new evidence, we conclude that philosophers (...)
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  • Review of Alan White, Modal Thinking. [REVIEW]Roger Wertheimer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (2):250-54.
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  • The Concept of Moral Obligation.Lou Goble - 1996 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):242-244.
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  • Reasons, Impossibility and Efficient Steps: Reply to Heuer.Bart Streumer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):79 - 86.
    Ulrike Heuer argues that there can be a reason for a person to perform an action that this person cannot perform, as long as this person can take efficient steps towards performing this action. In this reply, I first argue that Heuer's examples fail to undermine my claim that there cannot be a reason for a person to perform an action if it is impossible that this person will perform this action. I then argue that, on a plausible interpretation of (...)
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  • 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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  • “Cannot” Implies “Not Ought”.Frances Howard-Snyder - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (2):233-246.
    I argue for a version of "ought" implies "can". In particular, I argue that it is necessarily true that if an agent, S, ultima facie ought to do A at T', then there is a time T* such that S can at T* do A at T'. In support of this principle, I have argued that without it, we cannot explain how it is that, in cases where agents cannot do the best thing, they often ought to do some alternative (...)
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  • Does 'Ought' Conversationally Implicate 'Can'?Bart Streumer - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):219–228.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that 'ought' does not entail 'can', but instead conversationally implicates it. I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong is actually committed to a hybrid view about the relation between 'ought' and 'can'. I then give a tensed formulation of the view that 'ought' entails 'can' that deals with Sinnott-Armstrong's argument and that is more unified than Sinnott-Armstrong's view.
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  • Deontic Morality and Control.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):492-495.
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  • Modal Thinking.Alan R. White - 1977 - Philosophy 52 (199):111-113.
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