The Content and Logic of Imperatives

Axiomathes 31 (3):419-436 (2021)
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This paper articulates an account of imperatives that sensibly supports the idea of a logic of imperative inferences. We rebuke common objections to the very possibility of such a logic, from a perspective based on recent linguistic work on the morphosyntax of imperatives. Specifically, we develop the notion that the content of an imperative sentence includes both a force operator alongside an imperational content to which the force applies. We further argue that this account of the content of imperatives constitutes a plausible and flexible framework to develop a logic of imperative by examining a number of reconstructions of this idea using semantical analogs of widespread modal semantics. After studying the performance of those approaches, we conclude that progress in imperative logic has been hindered by the failure to adopt conflict-tolerant and resource-sensitive semantics, but suggest that such considerations can be incorporated in this flexible framework. Finally, we also propose a simple account of the difference between operators applying to the content of imperatives and imperative operators, in a way that sheds light on some of the issues underlying the usual antinomies.



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Nicolas Fillion
Simon Fraser University

References found in this work

Modal Logic: An Introduction.Brian F. Chellas - 1980 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Foundations of Illocutionary Logic.John Rogers Searle & Daniel Vanderveken - 1985 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Reasons as Defaults.John F. Horty - 2012 - Oxford, England: Oup Usa.
Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts.John Rogers Searle - 1979 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Neighborhood Semantics for Modal Logic.Eric Pacuit - 2017 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

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