Ought Implies Can

Edited by Guglielmo Feis (Università degli Studi di Milano)
About this topic
Summary The "Ought implies Can" (OIC) thesis establishes a link between obligations and abilities. It is associated with Kant, but the Kantian attribution is debated. Its main interpretation goes along the latin motto "ad impossibilia nemo tenetur" and allows you to discharge an obligation when you lack the possibility to do what is commanded. Others interpret it as saying that, given the fact that you have the relevant "Can", there is no way not to do what you Ought to.  OIC has been used as an (unquestionable) principle in many fields. from moral and legal philosophy (moral dilemmas, alternate possibilities) to deontic logic and epistemology (doxastic voluntarism). Since the 1960's it has undergone multiple criticisms from many areas.
Key works A spectrum of arguments for and against OIC can be found in Vranas 2007. Martin 2009 and Graham & Graham 2011 have further objections. For a discussion on the Kantian attribution see Stern 2004.  For the history of OIC, see Moore 1922. Dahl 1974 and Jacquette 1991 are helpful for relevance to deontic logic (see von Wright 1963 and von Wright 1983 for different uses). For the debate on "imply" see Streumer 2003.  For OIC in the debate on moral dilemmas see McConnell 2010.  The debate on OIC and the principle of alternate possibilities starts with Frankfurt 1988 and goes on at least up to Copp 2008. OIC enters the debate over doxastic volutarism with Alston 1988.  It is endorsed by Chuard & Southwood 2009 and rejected by Ryan 2003.
Introductions Vranas 2007; McConnell 2010; Chuard & Southwood 2009; Stern 2004; Streumer 2003.
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  1. Rational 'Ought' Implies 'Can'.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):70-92.
    Every kind of ‘ought’ implies some kind of ‘can’ – but there are many kinds of ‘ought’ and even more kinds of ‘can’. In this essay, I shall focus on a particular kind of ‘ought’ – specifically, on what I shall call the “rational ‘ought’”. On every occasion of use, this kind of ‘ought’ is focused on the situation of a particular agent at a particular time; but this kind of ‘ought’ is concerned, not with how that agent acts at (...)
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Linguaggio Assertivo E Linguaggio Precettivo.Luigi Ferrajoli - forthcoming - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia Del Diritto:515--545.
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  6. Pacifists Are Admirable Only If They're Right.Blake Hereth - forthcoming - Public Affairs Quarterly.
    The recent explosion of philosophical papers on Confederate and Colonialist statues centers on a central question: When, if ever, is it permissible to admire a person? This paper contends it’s not just Confederates and slavers whose reputations are on the line, but also pacifists like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Daisy Bates whose commitments to pacifism meant they were unwilling to save others using defensive violence, including others they talked into endangering themselves for the sake of racial equality. Other things (...)
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  7. Dispensing with the Subjective Moral 'Ought'.Amelia Hicks - forthcoming - In Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 11. Oxford, UK:
    There are cases in which, intuitively, an agent’s action is both morally right in one sense, and morally wrong in another sense. Such cases (along with other intuitions about blameless wrongdoing and action-guidance) support distinguishing between the objective moral ‘ought’ and the subjective moral ‘ought.’ This chapter argues against drawing this distinction, on the grounds that the prescriptions delivered by an adequate objective moral theory must be sensitive to the mental states of agents. Specifically, an adequate theory of the objective (...)
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  8. Non-Ideal Prescriptions for the Morally Uncertain.Amelia Hicks - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-26.
    Morally speaking, what should one do when one is morally uncertain? Call this the Moral Uncertainty Question. In this paper, I argue that a non-ideal moral theory provides the best answer to the Moral Uncertainty Question. I begin by arguing for a strong ought-implies-can principle---morally ought implies agentially can---and use that principle to clarify the structure of a compelling non-ideal moral theory. I then describe the ways in which one's moral uncertainty affects one's moral prescriptions: moral uncertainty constrains the set (...)
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  9. Epistemology Without Guidance.Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Epistemologists often appeal to the idea that a normative theory must provide useful, usable, guidance to argue for one normative epistemology over another. I argue that this is a mistake. Guidance considerations have no role to play in theory choice in epistemology. I show how this has implications for debates about the possibility and scope of epistemic dilemmas, the legitimacy of idealisation in Bayesian Epistemology, Uniqueness vs. Permissivism, sharp vs. mushy credences, and internalism vs. externalism.
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  10. Rethinking Kant on Duty.Samuel J. M. Kahn - forthcoming - Review of Metaphysics.
    According to a common caricature of Kant’s ethics, it is synonymous with the Categorical Imperative (CI) and with the sublime and clarion call of duty. But in this paper, I argue that the conjunction of Kant’s concept of duty and his idea of morality as a system of imperatives is unsustainable on the grounds that it commits him to the following two theses: (I) If an agent has a duty to D, then she must be constrained to D, and (II) (...)
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  11. How to Prove Hume’s Law.Gillian Russell - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-30.
    This paper proves a precisification of Hume’s Law—the thesis that one cannot get an ought from an is—as an instance of a more general the- orem which establishes several other philosophically interesting, though less controversial, barriers to logical consequence.
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  12. Infeasibility as a Normative Argument‐Stopper: The Case of Open Borders.Nicholas Southwood & Robert E. Goodin - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    The open borders view is frequently dismissed for making infeasible demands. This is a potent strategy. Unlike normative arguments regarding open borders, which tend to be relatively intractable, the charge of infeasibility is supposed to operate as what we call a "normative argument-stopper." Nonetheless, we argue that the strategy fails. Bringing about open borders is perfectly feasible on the most plausible account of feasibility. We consider and reject what we take to be the only three credible ways to save the (...)
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  13. Devoting Ourselves to the Manifestly Unattainable.Nicholas Southwood & David Wiens - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    It is tempting to think (1) that we may sometimes have hopelessly utopian duties and yet (2) that “ought” implies “can.” How might we square these apparently conflicting claims? A simple solution is to interpret hopelessly utopian duties as duties to "pursue" the achievement of manifestly unattainable outcomes (as opposed to duties to "achieve" the outcomes), thereby promising to vindicate the possibility of such duties in a way that is compatible with “ought” implies “can.” The main challenge for this simple (...)
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  14. From Value to Rightness: Consequentialism, Action-Guidance, and the Perspective-Dependence of Moral Duties.Vuko Andrić - 2021 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    This book develops an original version of act-consequentialism. It argues that act-consequentialists should adopt a subjective criterion of rightness. -/- The book develops new arguments which strongly suggest that, according to the best version of act-consequentialism, the rightness of actions depends on expected rather than actual value. Its findings go beyond the debate about consequentialism and touch on important debates in normative ethics and metaethics. The distinction between criterion of rightness and decision procedures addresses how, why, and in which sense (...)
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  15. The Ethics of Religious Belief.Elizabeth Jackson - 2021 - Religious Studies Archives 1 (4):1-10.
    On some religious traditions, there are obligations to believe certain things. However, this leads to a puzzle, since many philosophers think that we cannot voluntarily control our beliefs, and, plausibly, ought implies can. How do we make sense of religious doxastic obligations? The papers in this issue present four responses to this puzzle. The first response denies that we have doxastic obligations at all; the second denies that ought implies can. The third and fourth responses maintain that we have either (...)
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  16. Ought Implies Can, Asymmetrical Freedom, and the Practical Irrelevance of Transcendental Freedom.Matthé Scholten - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1-18.
    In this paper, I demonstrate that Kant's commitment to an asymmetry between the control conditions for praise and blame is explained by his endorsement of the principle Ought Implies Can (OIC). I argue that Kant accepts only a relatively weak version of OIC and that he is hence committed only to a relatively weak requirement of alternate possibilities for moral blame. This suggests that whether we are transcendentally free is irrelevant to questions about moral permissibility and moral blameworthiness.
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  17. The Possibility of Wildly Unrealistic Justice and the Principle/Proposal Distinction.Nicholas Southwood - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2403-2423.
    Are institutional principles of justice subject to a minimal realism constraint to the effect that, in order to be valid, they must not make wildly unrealistic demands? Most of us say “yes.” David Estlund says, “no.” However, while Estlund holds that 1) institutional principles of justice are not subject to a minimal realism constraint, he accepts that 2) institutional principles of justice are subject to an *attainability constraint* to the effect that, in order to be valid, they must not make (...)
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  18. Inability and Obligation in Intellectual Evaluation.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2020 - Episteme 17 (4):475-497.
    If moral responsibilities prescribe how agents ought to behave, are there also intellectual responsibilities prescribing what agents ought to believe? Many theorists have argued that there cannot be intellectual responsibilities because they would require the ability to control whether one believes, whereas it is impossible to control whether one believes. This argument appeals to an “ought implies can” principle for intellectual responsibilities. The present paper tests for the presence of intellectual responsibilities in social cognition. Four experiments show that intellectual responsibilities (...)
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  19. Six Arguments Against ‘Ought Implies Can’.Jonah Goldwater - 2020 - Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (1):45-54.
    Opponents of ‘ought implies can’ (OIC) often proceed via cases or counterexamples; hypothetical situations are described in which one is unable to do what one intuitively ought to do. I proceed differently. I offer six arguments against OIC via general principles; no cases. Though each argument would suffice to refute OIC if sound, redundancy is always a failsafe.
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  20. If You Can't Change What You Believe, You Don't Believe It.Grace Helton - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):501-526.
    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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  21. Options Must Be External.Justis Koon - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1175-1189.
    Brian Hedden has proposed that any successful account of options for the subjective “ought” must satisfy two constraints: first, it must ensure that we are able to carry out each of the options available to us, and second, it should guarantee that the set of options available to us supervenes on our mental states. In this paper I show that, due to the ever-present possibility of Frankfurt-style cases, these two constraints jointly entail that no agent has any options at any (...)
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  22. 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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  23. The Culpable Inability Problem for Synchronic and Diachronic ‘Ought Implies Can’.Alex King - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (1):50-62.
    My paper has two aims: to underscore the importance of differently time-indexed ‘ought implies can’ principles; and to apply this to the culpable inability problem. Sometimes we make ourselves unable to do what we ought, but in those cases, we may still fail to do what we ought. This is taken to be a serious problem for synchronic ‘ought implies can’ principles, with a simultaneous ‘ought’ and ‘can’. Some take it to support diachronic ‘ought implies can’, with a potentially temporally (...)
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  24. What We Ought and What We Can.Alex King - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Are we able to do everything we ought to do? According to the important but controversial Ought Implies Can principle, the answer is yes. -/- In this book Alex King sheds some much-needed light on this principle. She argues that it is flawed because we are obligated to perform some actions that we cannot perform, and goes on to present a suggested theory for anyone who would deny the principle. She examines the traditional motivations for Ought Implies Can, and finds (...)
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  25. Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  26. Recent Experimental Work on “Ought” Implies “Can”.Jen Semler & Paul Henne - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (9).
    While philosophers generally accept some version of the principle ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, recent work in experimental philosophy and cognitive science provides evidence against a presupposition or a conceptual entailment from ‘ought’ to ‘can’. Here, we review some of this evidence, its effect on particular formulations of the principle, and future directions for cognitive scientists and philosophers.
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  27. 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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  28. ‘Ought Implies Can’ and the Law.Chris Fox & Guglielmo Feis - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):370-393.
    In this paper, we investigate the ‘ought implies can’ thesis, focusing on explanations and interpretations of OIC, with a view to clarifying its uses and relevance to legal philosophy. We first review various issues concerning the semantics and pragmatics of OIC; then we consider how OIC may be incorporated in Hartian and Kelsenian theories of the law. Along the way we also propose a taxonomy of OIC-related claims.
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  29. Guidance, Obligations and Ability: A Close Look at the Action Guidance Argument for Ought-Implies-Can.Nick Hughes - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (1):73-85.
    It is often argued that the requirement that moral obligations be ‘action guiding’ motivates the claim that one can be obligated to ϕ only if one can ϕ. I argue that even on its most plausible interpretation, this argument fails, since the reasoning behind it leads to the absurd conclusion that one is permitted to ϕ if one cannot ϕ.
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  30. Kant, Ought Implies Can, the Principle of Alternate Possibilities, and Happiness.Samuel Kahn - 2018 - Lexington Books.
    This book examines three issues: the principle of ought implies can ; the principle of alternate possibilities ; and Kant’s views on the duty to promote one’s own happiness. It argues that although Kant was wrong to deny such a duty, the part of his denial that rests on a conception of duty incorporating both OIC and PAP is sound.
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. "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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  34. Marcel van Ackeren and Michael Kühler (Eds.): The Limits of Moral Obligation: Moral Demandingness and Ought Implies Can. [REVIEW]Lukas Naegeli - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (1):148-152.
  35. What Ability Can Do.Ben Schwan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):703-723.
    One natural way to argue for the existence of some subjective constraint on agents’ obligations is to maintain that without that particular constraint, agents will sometimes be obligated to do that which they lack the ability to do. In this paper, I maintain that while such a strategy appears promising, it is fraught with pitfalls. Specifically, I argue that because the truth of an ability ascription depends on an (almost always implicit) characterization of the relevant possibility space, different metaethical accounts (...)
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  36. Objective Consequentialism and the Rationales of ‘ “Ought” Implies “Can” ’.Vuko Andrić - 2017 - Ratio 30 (1):72-87.
    This paper argues that objective consequentialism is incompatible with the rationales of ‘ “ought” implies “can” ’ – with the considerations, that is, that explain or justify this principle. Objective consequentialism is the moral doctrine that an act is right if and only if there is no alternative with a better outcome, and wrong otherwise. An act is obligatory if and only if it is wrong not to perform it. According to ‘ “ought” implies “can” ’, a person is morally (...)
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  37. Ability, Responsibility, and Global Justice.Wesley Buckwalter - 2017 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 34 (3):577-590.
    Many have argued we have a moral obligation to assist others in need, but given the scope of global suffering, how far does this obligation extend? According to one traditional philosophical view, the obligation to help others is limited by our ability to help them, or by the principle that “ought implies can”. This view is primarily defended on the grounds that it is a core principle of commonsense moral psychology. This paper reviews findings from experimental philosophy in cognitive science (...)
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  38. NDPR: What Can Philosophy Contribute to Ethics? (By James Griffin). [REVIEW]Bradford Cokelet - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2017.
    Summary of Griffin's book. Raises objections to his ought implies can principle and his negative assumptions about human nature.
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  39. 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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  40. ‘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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  41. 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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  42. Is Objective Consequentialism Compatible with the Principle That “Ought” Implies “Can”?Vuko Andrić - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):63-77.
    Some philosophers hold that objective consequentialism is false because it is incompatible with the principle that “ought” implies “can”. Roughly speaking, objective consequentialism is the doctrine that you always ought to do what will in fact have the best consequences. According to the principle that “ought” implies “can”, you have a moral obligation to do something only if you can do that thing. Frances Howard-Snyder has used an innovative thought experiment to argue that sometimes you cannot do what will in (...)
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  43. Why Compatibilists Need Alternative Possibilities.Reid Blackman - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):529-544.
    Defenders of compatibilism occupy one of two camps: those who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise, and those who deny this. Those compatibilists who think that free will requires the ability to do otherwise are interested in defending a reading of ‘can’ such that one can do otherwise even if determinism is true. By contrast, those compatibilists who think that free will does not require the ability to do otherwise tend to join incompatibilists in denying that (...)
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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. “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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  47. 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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  48. "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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  49. Symmetry, Rational Abilities, and the Ought-Implies-Can Principle.Matthew Talbert - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):283-296.
    In Making Sense of Free Will and Moral Responsibility Dana Nelkin defends the “rational abilities view.” According to this view, agents are responsible for their behavior if and only if they act with the ability to recognize and act for good reasons. It follows that agents who act well are open to praise regardless of whether they could have acted differently, but agents who act badly are open to blame only if they could have acted on the moral reasons that (...)
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  50. The Best Argument for 'Ought Implies Can' Is a Better Argument Against 'Ought Implies Can'.Brian Talbot - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    To argue that “ought” implies “can,” one can appeal to general principles or to intuitions about specific cases. One general truism that seems to show that “ought” implies “can” is that obligations must be able to guide action, and putative obligations that are unfulfillable are unable to do so. This paper argues that obligations that are unfulfillable can still guide action, and that moral theories which reject the principle that “ought” implies “can” are actually better able to account for how (...)
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