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Imperatives, Logic, and Moral Obligation

Robert G. Turnbull
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Oct., 1960), pp. 374-390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/185239
Page Count: 17
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Imperatives, Logic, and Moral Obligation
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Abstract

It is claimed that 'Do x!' means 'Then you will do x'. Answering a "Why?" question concerning the former may take either of two forms, viz., 'Because --' or 'If you wish to --'. The second answer completes the truncated hypothetical. "Ought" sentences are treated as a species of imperatives involving universality in the "if" clause ('If anyone wished to --'). Moral "ought" sentences involve a double universality, viz., the one mentioned above and universality connecting the action with social harmony (e.g., "If everyone were to do x, then there would be social harmony').

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