Phil Soc seminar with Matthew Chrisman

eri, Room 149
Arts and Law, Research
Monday 14th November 2011 (16:15-18:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Darragh Byrne (

Philosophy Society

Matthew Chrisman (Edinburgh)
Ought and Agency

All Welcome!



It is commonly assumed in metaethics that the word 'ought' is ambiguous between a sense that is closely related to obligations and several other senses that seem to have nothing to do with obligations. This metaethical thesis is in sharp tension with the common view in theoretical semantics and deontic logic that the word 'ought' functions as a modal operator used to say what is true in all of some contextually specified range of possible worlds. Unfortunately, this semantic antithesis is not only in tension with the metaethical thesis about 'ought'; it also has a number of problematic consequences surrounding the connection between 'ought' and agency. In this paper I pursue some resolution of the tension between metaethical thesis and semantic antithesis with the hope of a satisfying synthesis.