Studia Logica

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 329–336

Ideal Worlds — Wishful Thinking in Deontic Logic


    • Department of Philosophy and the History of TechnologyRoyal Institute of Technology (KTH)

DOI: 10.1007/s11225-006-8100-3

Cite this article as:
Hansson, S.O. Stud Logica (2006) 82: 329. doi:10.1007/s11225-006-8100-3


The ideal world semantics of standard deontic logic identifies our obligations with how we would act in an ideal world. However, to act as if one lived in an ideal world is bad moral advice, associated with wishful thinking rather than well-considered moral deliberation. Ideal world semantics gives rise to implausible logical principles, and the metaphysical arguments that have been put forward in its favour turn out to be based on a too limited view of truth-functional representation. It is argued that ideal world semantics should be given up in favour of other, more plausible uses of possible worlds for modelling normative subject-matter.


deontic logicdeontic paradoxesideal worldspossible worldstruth-functional representation

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006