Deontic Tense Logic With Historical Necessity, Frame Constants, and a Solution to the Epistemic Obligation Paradox (The “Knower”)

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Abstract

In an earlier paper by the author, Åqvist (1999), I presented an approach to the logic of historical necessity, or inevitability, in the sense of a “two-dimensional” combination of tense and modal logic for worlds, or histories, with the same time order, known as T × W logic. Distinctive features of that approach were, apart from its two-dimensionality, its being based on discrete and finite time, and its use of so-called systematic frame constants in order to enable us to indicate longitudes (x-values) and latitudes (y-values) of any points in the co-ordinate systems under consideration. This led us to study and axiomatize an infinite hierarchy HTWxy of two-dimensional modal tense logics with the characteristic operators for historical necessity and possibility added to the original basic vocabulary. The main purpose of the present paper is then twofold: (A) to extend the logics HTWxy to the interesting branch of philosophical logic constituted by deontic logic as combined with tense (or temporal) logic; and (B) to deal with a curious puzzle known as the so-called epistemic obligation paradox – a well known stumbling-block in this area of research in philosophical logic. We argue for a solution to both these problems, which appeals to a new infinite hierarchy DHTWxym of extensions of the HTWxy in the sense of logics combining dyadic deontic modalities with temporal ones such as those for historical necessity and other two-dimensional modalities.

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