Consequences of Reasoning with Conflicting Obligations

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Mind, ISSN: 0026-4423, Vol: 123, Issue: 491, Page: 753-790

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NAIR, Gopal Shyam
Oxford University Press (OUP)
article description
Since at least the 1960s, deontic logicians and ethicists have worried about whether there can be normative systems that allow conflicting obligations. Surprisingly, however, little direct attention has been paid to questions about how we may reason with conflicting obligations. In this paper, I present a problem for making sense of reasoning with conflicting obligations and argue that no deontic logic can solve this problem. I then develop an account of reasoning based on the popular idea in ethics that reasons explain obligations and show that it solves this problem.