An adaptive logic framework for conditional obligations and deontic dilemmas

Christian Straßer



Lou Goble proposed powerful conditional deontic logics (CDPM) that are able to deal with deontic conflicts by means of restricting the inheritance principle. One of the central problems for dyadic deontic logics is to properly treat the restricted applicability of the principle “strengthening the antecedent”. In most cases it is desirable to derive from an obligation A under condition B, that A is also obliged under condition B and C. However, there are important counterexamples. Goble proposed a weakened rational monotonicity principle to tackle this problem. This solution is suboptimal as it is for some examples counter-intuitive or even leads to explosion. The paper identifies also other problems of Goble’s systems. For instance, to make optimal use of the restricted inheritance principle, in many cases the user has to manually add certain statements to the premises. An adaptive logic framework based on CDPM is proposed which is able to tackle these problems. It allows for certain rules to be applied as much as possible. In this way counter-intuitive consequences as well as explosion can be prohibited and no user interference is required. Furthermore, for non-conflicting premise sets the adaptive logics are equivalent to Goble’s dyadic version of standard deontic logic.


deontic logic; dyadic deontic logic; deontic conflicts; adaptive logic; defeasible reasoning; nonmonotonic logic

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Financed by MNiSW on the basis of agreement no. 706/P-DUN/2018 (dated 10/05/18). Project 1: “Preparation of articles in English for eight editions of the journal Logic and Logical Philosophy over the period 2018–19; Vol. 27, No. 1–4 (2018), Vol. 28, No. 1–4 (2019)”; amount from the DUN grant: 64800 zł. Project 4: “Digitalisation of eight editions of the journal Logic and Logical Philosophy over the period 2018-19; Vol. 27, No. 1–4 (2018), Vol. 28, No. 1–4 (2019)”; amount from the DUN grant: 18600 zł.

ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)
ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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