/ Epistemic Oughts in Stit Semantics

Abstract

This paper explores ways in which agentive, deontic, and epistemic concepts combine to yield ought statements, or "oughts," of different characters. I am especially interested in agentive ought statements whose violation invites criticism of the agent. I refer to these statements as “epistemic oughts,” since an appeal to knowledge seems to play such an important role in their description. The investigation takes place in the setting of stit semantics, a modal framework for the analysis of agentive statements. I begin by supplementing stit semantics with an epistemic operator, and then exploring an initial account of epistemic oughts that results from combining this operator with agentive and deontic concepts in a straightforward way. After showing that this initial proposal is flawed, I then offer an account of epistemic oughts in which the role of knowledge is more complex, but which escapes the flaws of the initial proposal. Finally, I mention two directions for generalization: to relativistic oughts, and to conditional oughts.


This article is now available via PDF download. The full-text version is forthcoming, summer 2019.