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Journal of Philosophical Logic

pp 1–31

First Online: 05 July 2017Received: 21 October 2016Accepted: 23 May 2017


Formalising deontic concepts, such as obligation, prohibition and permission, is normally carried out in a modal logic with a possible world semantics, in which some worlds are better than others. The main focus in these logics is on inferring logical consequences, for example inferring that the obligation O q is a logical consequence of the obligations O p and O p → q. In this paper we propose a non-modal approach in which obligations are preferred ways of satisfying goals expressed in first-order logic. To say that p is obligatory, but may be violated, resulting in a less than ideal situation s, means that the task is to satisfy the goal p ∨ s, and that models in which p is true are preferred to models in which s is true. Whereas, in modal logic, the preference relation between possible worlds is part of the semantics of the logic, in this non-modal approach, the preference relation between first-order models is external to the logic. Although our main focus is on satisfying goals, we also formulate a notion of logical consequence, which is comparable to the notion of logical consequence in modal deontic logic. In this formalisation, an obligation O p is a logical consequence of goals G, when p is true in all best models of G. We show how this non-modal approach to the treatment of deontic concepts deals with problems of contrary-to-duty obligations and normative conflicts, and argue that the approach is useful for many other applications, including abductive explanations, defeasible reasoning, combinatorial optimisation, and reactive systems of the production system variety.

KeywordsDeontic logic Abductive logic programming Normative conflicts Contrary-to-duty obligations Goals Preferences  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Robert Kowalski - Ken Satoh

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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