LIRa session: Ilaria Canavotto

Speaker: Ilaria Canavotto (ILLC, Amsterdam)

Date and Time: Thursday, April 13th 2017, 17:00-18:30

Venue: KdVI Seminar Room F3.20, Science Park 107.

Title: Deontic Conflicts in Explicit Dynamic Deontic Logic.

Abstract.  A deontic conflict is a situation in which it is obligatory to do A and it is obligatory to do B, but it is impossible to do both A and B. Despite being common in everyday life, deontic conflicts are ruled out by standard systems of deontic logic. This has led to several attempts to formulate conflict tolerant deontic systems. Yet, the main strategies that have been embraced in the current debate, see e.g. Goble (2005, 2009) and Horty (2003, 2012), are subject to three significant limitations. First, they do not allow us to distinguish different kinds of deontic conflicts. Second, they do not provide us with the tools to refer to the norms from which the conflicts originate. Finally, and relatedly, they do not allow us to model agents who update their individual codes by accepting possibly conflicting norms as binding. In light of this, we propose a new system of deontic logic in which ideas from explicit epistemic logic (we introduce norms and codes as explicit sources of obligation) and from dynamic epistemic logic (we introduce an update procedure on codes) are combined. We show that within our system it is possible to distinguish a considerable variety of interesting normative conflicts, including abstract and concrete normative conflicts and, within the latter, social, civil, legal and moral conflicts. We then apply these distinctions to provide an original analysis of three paradigmatic cases of normative conflicts, viz. those of Antigone, of Gandhi, and Sophie’s choice.

(This is a joint work with Alessandro Giordani.)