The Mīmāṃsā school of Indian philosophy has for its main purpose the interpretation of injunctions that are found in a set of sacred texts, the Vedas. In their works, Mīmāṃsā authors provide some of the most detailed and systematic examinations available anywhere of statements with a deontic force; however, their considerations have generally not been registered outside of Indological scholarship. In the present article we analyze the Mīmāṃsā theory of Vedic injunctions from a logical and philosophical point of view. The (...) theory at issue can be regarded as a system of reasoning based on certain fundamental principles, such as the distinction between strong and weak duties, and on a taxonomy of ritual actions. We start by reconstructing the conceptual framework of the theory and then move to a formalization of its core aspects. Our contribution represents a new perspective to study Mīmāṃsā and outlines its relevance, in general, for deontic reasoning. (shrink)
In philosophical logic and metaphysics there is a long-standing debate around the most appropriate structures to represent indeterministic scenarios concerning the future. We reconstruct here such a debate in a computational setting, focusing on the fundamental difference between moment-based and history-based structures. Our presentation is centered around two versions of an indeterministic scenario in which a programmer wants a machine to perform a given task at some point after a specified time. One of the two versions includes an assumption about (...) the future behaviour of the machine that cannot be encoded in any programming instruction; such version has models over history-based structures but no model over a moment-based structure. Therefore, our work adds a new stance to the debate: moment-based structures can be said to rule out certain indeterministic scenarios that are computationally unfeasible. (shrink)
Vicarious responsibility is a notoriously puzzling notion in normative reasoning. In this article we will explore two fundamental issues, which we will call the “explication problem” and the “justification problem”. The former issue concerns how vicarious responsibility can plausibly be defined in terms of other normative concepts. The latter issue concerns how ascriptions of vicarious responsibility can be justified. We will address these two problems by combining ideas taken from legal theory and moral philosophy. Our analysis will emphasise the importance (...) of the voluntary involvement of the normative parties considered liable in a relation with other normative parties who causally contributed to a prohibited state-of-affairs. (shrink)
The article offers an overview of the deontic theory developed by the philosophical school of Mīmāṃsā, which is, and has been since the last centuries BCE, the main source of normative concepts in Sanskrit thought. Thus, the Mīmāṃsā deontics is interesting for any historian of philosophy and constitutes a thought-provoking occasion to rethink deontic concepts, taking advantage of centuries of systematic reflections on these topics. Some comparison with notions currently used in Euro-American normative theories and metaethical principles is offered in (...) order to show possible points of contact and deep divergences. In more detail, after an introduction explaining the methodology and aims of our work, we discuss how Mīmāṃsā authors distinguished and defined some fundamental deontic concepts, such as different types of prescriptions and prohibitions. We then discuss how Mīmāṃsā authors approached the problem of conflicts among commands without jeopardising the validity of the normative text issuing them. In the second part of the article we introduce our formal apparatus, which is construed around the main taxonomic and conceptual distinctions used in the first part. Our formal rendering captures the most important features of the Mīmāṃsā theory and can thus serve as a concise and rigorous presentation of it for scholars working in deontic logic. (shrink)
The present article employs a model-theoretic semantics to interpret a fragment of the language of the Quantified Argument Calculus (Quarc), a recently introduced logical system whose main aim is capturing the structure of natural language sentences in a closer way than does the language of classical logic. The main contribution is an axiomatization for the set of formulas that are valid in all standard interpretations within the employed semantics.
Computational systems are traditionally approached from control-oriented perspectives; however, as soon as we move from centralized to decentralized computational infrastructures, direct control needs to be replaced by distributed coordination mechanisms that are on par with institutional constructs observable in human societies (contracts, agreements, enforcement mechanisms, etc.). This paper presents a formalization of Hohfeld's framework building upon a logic whose language includes primitive operators of ability and parametric deontic operators. The proposal is meant to highlight the fundamental interaction between deontic and (...) potestative concepts and contains proofs of soundness and completeness with respect to a class of relational models. (shrink)
In this work we provide an analysis of some issues arising with geometrical representations of a family of deontic and potestative relations that can be classified as Hohfeldian modalities, traditionally illustrated on two diagrams, the Hohfeldian squares. Our main target is the lack of symmetry to be found in various formal accounts by drawing analogies with the square of opposition for alethic modalities. We argue that one should rather rely on an analogy with the alethic hexagon of opposition and exploit (...) the notions of contingency and absoluteness in order to restore the symmetry of Hohfeldian modalities in accordance to the diagrams presented by Hohfeld. Interestingly, the investigation unveils three potestative squares defined at different levels of granularity (force, outcome and change) and allows us to further elaborate on the connections between deontic and potestative relations. (shrink)
The present article is devoted to a logical treatment of some fundamental concepts involved in responsibility attribution. We specify a theoretical framework based on a language of temporal deontic logic with agent-relative operators for deliberate causal contribution. The framework is endowed with a procedure to solve normative conflicts which arise from the assessment of different normative sources. We provide a characterization result for a basic system within this framework and illustrate how the concepts formalized can be put at work in (...) the analysis of examples of legal reasoning. (shrink)
In this article we introduce a logical structure for normative reasoning, called Normative Detachment Structure with Ideal Conditions, that can be used to represent the content of certain legal texts in a normalized way. The structure exploits the deductive properties of a system of bimodal logic able to distinguish between ideal and actual normative statements, as well as a novel formalization of conditional normative statements able to capture interesting cases of contrary-to-duty reasoning and to avoid deontic paradoxes. Furthermore, we illustrate (...) how the theoretical framework proposed can be mechanized to get an automated procedure of query-answering on an example of legal text. (shrink)
Kulicki and Trypuz (2016) introduced three systems of multivalued deontic action logic to handle normative conflicts. The first system suggests a pessimistic view on normative conflicts, according to which any conflicting option represents something forbidden; the second system suggests an optimistic view, according to which any conflicting option represents something obligatory; finally, the third system suggests a neutral view, according to which any conflicting option represents something that is neither obligatory nor forbidden. The aim of the present paper is to (...) propose a fourth system in this family, which comes with a realistic view on normative conflicts: a normative conflict remains unsolved unless it is generated by two or more normative sources that can be compared. In accordance with this, we will provide a more refined formal framework for the family of systems at issue, which allows for explicit reference to sources of norms. Conflict resolution is thus a consequence of a codified hierarchy of normative sources. (shrink)
This work concerns the use of operators for past and future contingency in Priorean temporal logic. We will develop a system named C_t, whose language includes a propositional constant and prove that (I) C_t is complete with respect to a certain class of general frames and (II) the usual operators for past and future necessity are definable in such system. Furthermore, we will introduce the extension C_t(lin) that can be interpreted on linear and transitive general frames. The theoretical result of (...) the current work is that contingency can be treated as a primitive notion in reasoning about temporal modalities. (shrink)
In this work, we illustrate applications of a semantic framework for non-congruential modal logic based on hyperintensional models. We start by discussing some philosophical ideas behind the approach; in particular, the difference between the set of possible worlds in which a formula is true (its intension) and the semantic content of a formula (its hyperintension), which is captured in a rigorous way in hyperintensional models. Next, we rigorously specify the approach and provide a fundamental completeness theorem. Moreover, we analyse examples (...) of non-congruential systems that can be semantically characterized within this framework in an elegant and modular way. Finally, we compare the proposed framework with some alternatives available in the literature. In the light of the results obtained, we argue that hyperintensional models constitute a basic, general and unifying semantic framework for (non-congruential) modal logic. (shrink)
Who is responsible when an AI machine causes something to go wrong? Or is there a gap in the ascription of responsibility? Answers range from claiming there is a unique responsibility gap, several different responsibility gaps, or no gap at all. In a nutshell, the problem is as follows: on the one hand, it seems fitting to hold someone responsible for a wrong caused by an AI machine; on the other hand, there seems to be no fitting bearer of responsibility (...) for this wrong. In this article, we focus on a particular (aspect of the) AI responsibility gap: it seems fitting that someone should bear the legal consequences in scenarios involving AI machines with design defects; however, there seems to be no such fitting bearer. We approach this problem from the legal perspective, and suggest vicarious liability of AI manufacturers as a solution to this problem. Our proposal comes in two variants: the first one has a narrower range of application, but can be easily integrated in current legal frameworks; the second one requires a revision of current legal frameworks, but has a wider range of application. The latter variant employs a broadened account of vicarious liability. We emphasise strengths of the two variants and finally highlight how vicarious liability offers important insights for addressing a moral AI responsibility gap. (shrink)
The deontic status of tautologies and contradictions is one of the major puzzles for authors of early works on deontic logic. It is well-known that von Wright addresses this problem by adopting a Principle of Deontic Contingency, which says that tautologies are not necessarily obligatory and contradictions are not necessarily forbidden. A more radical solution is proposed by Anderson within a reductionist approach to deontic logic and consists in restricting the range of application of deontic modalities to contingent propositions. Anderson’s (...) solution has not received much attention in the literature, despite reflecting a typical feature of ordinary deontic reasoning, where non-contingent propositions are rarely, if ever, taken into account. In the present article we explore some of its formal consequences, providing a taxonomy of the properties of the Andersonian operators of obligation and permission for contingent propositions, O′ and P′, in the class of normal alethic systems. (shrink)
We analyze some normative relations as instances of a general schema of relations among a finite number of parties; in this schema parties can play various roles grouped into two main conceptual layers, called 'subject position' and 'object position'. Relying on the theoretical apparatus introduced, we develop a new symbolic representation for normative reasoning which constitutes an alternative to approaches available in the literature. Our contribution includes a semantic characterization for a series of logical systems built over the proposed framework.
This article proposes the use of temporal logic for an analysis of instrumentality inspired by the work of G.H. von Wright. The first part of the article contains the philosophical foundations. We discuss von Wright’s general theory of agency and his account of instrumentality. Moreover, we propose several refinements to this framework via rigorous definitions of the core notions involved. In the second part, we develop a logical system called Temporal Logic of Action and Expectations (TLAE). The logic is inspired (...) by a fragment of propositional dynamic logic based on indeterministic time. The system is proven to be weakly complete relative to its given semantics. We then employ TLAE to formalise and analyse the instrumentality relations defined in the first part of the paper. Last, we point out philosophical implications and possible extensions of our work. (shrink)
We introduce a multimodal framework of deontic action logic which encodes the interaction between two fundamental procedures in normative reasoning: conceptual classification and deontic classification. The expressive power of the framework is noteworthy, since it combines insights from agency logic and dynamic logic, allowing for a representation of many kinds of normative conflicts. We provide a semantic characterization for three axiomatic systems of increasing strength, showing how our approach can be modularly extended in order to get different levels of analysis (...) of normative reasoning. Finally, we discuss ways in which the framework can be used to capture other formalisms proposed in the literature, as well as to model searching problems in Artificial Intelligence. (shrink)
We provide a fine-grained analysis of notions of regret and responsibility (such as agent-regret and individual responsibility) in terms of a language of multimodal logic. This language undergoes a detailed semantic analysis via two sorts of models: (i) relating models, which are equipped with a relation of propositional pertinence, and (ii) synonymy models, which are equipped with a relation of propositional synonymy. We specify a class of strictly relating models and show that each synonymy model can be transformed into an (...) equivalent strictly relating model. Moreover, we define an axiomatic system that captures the notion of validity in the class of all strictly relating models. (shrink)
In the present work we illustrate how two sorts of defeasible reasoning that are fundamental in the normative domain, that is, reasoning about exceptions and reasoning about violations, can be simulated via monotonic propositional theories based on a bimodal language with primitive operators representing knowledge and obligation. The proposed theoretical framework paves the way to using native theorem provers for multimodal logic, such as MleanCoP, in order to automate normative reasoning.
In this paper we present an approach to conditional reasoning tasks based on two main ideas. The first idea is that, in contrast with what is usually assumed, an ‘if… then…’ sentence is not an adequate translation in natural language of a logical formula containing a material implication as its principal operator. The second idea is that when subjects are required to check the validity of a sentence in a task, their inferences are not driven uniquely by the content of (...) the sentence, but also by other information embedded in the task scenario and, eventually, by their knowledge about the topic (i.e. information stored in memory). Data from 30 subjects tested on six different tasks are reported as evidence for our approach. The results show that conditional tasks are significantly more complex only when they are presented with ‘if… then…’ sentences and when the subject cannot rely on any extra information, such as contextual information or knowledge about the topic. (shrink)
The present article is devoted to a logical inquiry on the notions of permanence and termination, which play a central role in many areas of temporal reasoning. In the first part, we introduce a bimodal framework to represent these notions and provide a syntactic and semantic comparison with a monomodal framework representing the notion of future necessity. In the second part, we focus on the problem of defining synonymous logical systems over the two frameworks; as an example, we provide an (...) extended analysis of two systems, the monomodal K4 and the bimodal S4X. The third part of the article indicates possible developments of the proposed line of inquiry, such as finding a simple representation in the bimodal language of some interesting properties of time and identifying further pairs of synonymous systems. (shrink)
The formal analysis of normative systems has traditionally focused on their deontic dimension rather than on their potestative dimension; yet, a growing amount of works aims at shedding light on the notion of power, its norm changing potential and its general interactions with deontic concepts. The present article contributes to this line of inquiry by adopting the following perspective: a normative system can be metaphorically seen as an agent that allocates abilities (powers) in order to promote the fulfillment of certain (...) desires (deontic directives), and in doing so regulates its behavioural domain. Our analysis emphasizes the instrumental nature of power, while clarifying the distinction between ‘being allowed’ and ‘being enabled’ and unveiling new patterns of interaction between deontic and potestative concepts. Operationally, we formulate this framework in terms of conditional rules, and provide a corresponding logic programming (ASP) implementation. (shrink)
The present article provides a taxonomic analysis of bimodal logics of normative ideality and normative awfulness, two notions whose meaning is here explained in terms of the moral values pursued by a given community. Furthermore, the article addresses the traditional problem of a reduction among deontic concepts: we explore the possibility of defining other relevant normative notions, such as obligation, explicit permission and Hohfeldian relations, in terms of ideality and awfulness. Some proposals in this respect, which have been formulated in (...) the literature over the years, are here improved and discussed with reference to the various logics that we will introduce. (shrink)
In normative reasoning one typically refers to intervals of time across which norms are intended to hold, as well as to alternative possibilities representing hypothetical developments of a given scenario. Thus, deontic modalities are naturally intertwined with temporal and metaphysical ones. Furthermore, contemporary debates in philosophy suggest that a proper understanding of fundamental ethical principles, such as the Ought-Implies-Can thesis, requires a simultaneous analysis of these three families of concepts. In the present article we propose a general formal framework which (...) allows for fine-grained multimodal reasoning in the normative domain. We provide an axiomatization for a novel system of propositional logic encoding the way in which possibilities and norms arising from different sources change over intervals of time. The usefulness of our framework is illustrated by analysing an ancient and particularly challenging `cold case', the Paradox of the Court. (shrink)
In the present article we exploit the logical notions of correctness and completeness to provide an analysis of some fundamental problems that can be encountered by a software developer when transforming norms for traffic circulation into programming instructions. Relying on this analysis, we then introduce a question and answer procedure that can be helpful, in case of an accident, to clarify which components of an existing framework should be revised and to what extent software developers can be held responsible.
This article concerns the treatment of propositional quantification in a framework of labelled natural deduction for modal logic developed by Basin, Matthews and Viganò. We provide a detailed analysis of a basic calculus that can be used for a proof-theoretic rendering of minimal normal multimodal systems with quantification over stable domains of propositions. Furthermore, we consider variations of the basic calculus obtained via relational theories and domain theories allowing for quantification over possibly unstable domains of propositions. The main result of (...) the article is that fragments of the labelled calculi not exploiting reductio ad absurdum enjoy the Church–Rosser property and the strong normalization property; such result is obtained by combining Girard’s method of reducibility candidates and labelled languages of lambda calculus codifying the structure of modal proofs. (shrink)
In the present work we provide a logical analysis of normatively determined and non-determined propositions. The normative status of these propositions depends on their relation with another proposition, here named reference proposition. Using a formal language that includes a monadic operator of obligation, we define eight dyadic operators that represent various notions of “being normatively (non-)determined”; then, we group them into two families, each forming an Aristotelian square of opposition. Finally, we show how the two resulting squares can be combined (...) to form an Aristotelian cube of opposition. (shrink)
Normative positions are sometimes illustrated in diagrams, in particular in didactic contexts. Traditional examples are the Aristotelian polygons of opposition for deontic modalities (squares, triangles, hexagons, etc.), and the Hohfeldian squares for obligative and potestative concepts. Relying on previous work, we show that Hohfeld’s framework can be used as a basis for developing several Aristotelian polygons and more complex diagrams. Then, we illustrate how logical theories of increasing strength can be built based on these diagrams, and how those theories enable (...) us to determine in a computably efficient way whether a set of normative positions can be derived from another set of normative positions. (shrink)
This article concerns the metatheory of a class of modal logics whose language includes propositional constants of various kinds. The main novelties are the use of general frames with specific restrictions and the definition of the strict range of a formula. Many examples from the literature are treated within the framework provided and some traditional model-theoretic issues such as preservation results concerning the validity of formulas and definability results concerning frame properties are addressed.
In their presentation of canonical models for normal systems of modal logic, Hughes and Cresswell observe that some of these models are based on a frame which can be also thought of as a collection of two or more isolated frames; they call such frames ‘non-cohesive’. The problem of checking whether the canonical model of a given system is cohesive is still rather unexplored and no general decision procedure is available. The main contribution of this article consists in introducing a (...) method which is sufficient to show that canonical models of some relevant classes of normal monomodal and bimodal systems are always non-cohesive. (shrink)
We present a logic of agency called LAE whose language includes propositional constants for actions and expectations. The logic is based on Von Wright’s theory of agency in general and his analysis of instrumentality in particular. An axiomatization of the logic, including an independence of agents axiom, is provided and soundness and completeness are shown with respect to its intended class of frames. The framework of LAE will allow us to formally define a manifold of concepts involved in agency theories, (...) including Von Wright’s four elementary forms of action, the notion of forbearance and notions of instrumentality that make reference to an agent’s expectations. (shrink)
In this work, we provide an extensive analysis of Hohfeld’s theory of normative relations, focusing in particular on diagrammatic structures. Our contribution is threefold. First, we specify an extensional formal language to represent the main notions in the two families of normative relations identified by Hohfeld (i.e. the deontic and the potestative family). Our primary focus is on the part of the theory concerning potestative relations. In this regard, we assign a key role to the concept of ability, which is (...) treated as a primitive notion and used to formulate three fine-grained definitions of power (outcome-centered, change-centered and force-centered). Second, on the basis of these definitions we build Aristotelian diagrams of opposition for deontic and potestative relations, improving, extending and systematizing previous proposals formulated in the literature. Third, we present a model-theoretic interpretation and a logic programming (ASP) implementation of the proposed framework, elaborating on the procedural dimension of normative reasoning. (shrink)