“Must” implies “can”

Kürthy, Miklós, Del Prete, Fabio and Barlassina, Luca (2023) “Must” implies “can”. Mind and Language, 38 (3). pp. 620-643. ISSN 0268-1064

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We consider the thorny issue of whether ascribing to an agent the obligation to φ implies that it is possible for the agent to φ. Traditionally, this issue has been interpreted as whether “ought” implies “can”. But another linguistic interpretation is available, namely, whether “must” implies “can” (MIC). We show that “must” does imply “can” via a convergent argument. First, we prove MIC from a well-established theory of modality in natural language, namely, that proposed by Kratzer. Second, we present novel acceptability judgement studies showing that MIC predicts and explains the linguistic behaviour of native English speakers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: experimental philosophy,modality,obligation,ought implies can,semantics,language and linguistics,philosophy,linguistics and language ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > UEA Experimental Philosophy Group
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 12:30
Last Modified: 28 May 2024 08:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95264
DOI: 10.1111/mila.12415


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