In Defense of Imperative Inference

Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 55:85-92 (2018)
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Abstract

“Surrender; therefore, surrender or fight” is apparently an argument corresponding to an inference from an imperative to an imperative. Several philosophers, however, have denied that imperative inferences exist, arguing that no such inferences occur in everyday life, imperatives cannot be premises or conclusions of inferences because it makes no sense to say, for example, “since surrender” or “it follows that surrender or fight”, and distinct imperatives have conflicting permissive presuppositions, so issuing distinct imperatives amounts to changing one’s mind and thus cannot be construed as making an inference. In response I argue inter alia that, on a reasonable understanding of ‘inference’, some everyday-life inferences do have imperatives as premises and conclusions, and that issuing imperatives with conflicting permissive presuppositions does not amount to changing one’s mind.

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Peter Vranas
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citations of this work

Logic and Semantics for Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):617-664.
Imperative Inference and Practical Rationality.Daniel W. Harris - 2021 - Philosophical Studies (4):1065-1090.
Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 67–98.

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