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Confusion of TonguesA Theory of Normative Language$
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Stephen Finlay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199347490

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199347490.001.0001

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Multiple Ends

Multiple Ends

(p.145) 6 Multiple Ends
Confusion of Tongues

Stephen Finlay

Oxford University Press

Because the end-relational theory relativizes normative language to individual ends, it faces special difficulties in accounting for all-things-considered uses, as in deliberation. This chapter offers pragmatic solutions by examining agents’ preferences for ends in various contexts. Topics discussed include vagueness, incompatible ends, uncertainty, gradability, and the logical and illocutionary strength of different normative words, such as the difference between ‘ought’ and ‘must’. It is shown that the theory can pragmatically replicate the judgments of decision theory by assigning the complexity to the psychology rather than semantics of normative claims. This treatment is argued to be superior to more complex ordering semantics like Kratzer’s.

Keywords:   Kratzer, ordering semantics, deliberation, pragmatics, decision theory, uncertainty, preference, context

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