Ought Implies Can: Why it is Wrong and How that Impacts Deontic Logics

Kevin Michael Gayler


In this paper I show why the principle ought implies can is false via counter-examples, why other philosophers have failed to do so, and defend my view against various objections. I also show that the inference rule Kant’s Law as used in standard deontic logics and the relevance logics of Andersonian-Kangerian reduction must be equivalent to ought implies can in order to be coherent and why that makes it an invalid inference rule. I then explore how rejection of ought implies can means that there must be other ways of restricting obligation other than through ability or suffer a crazy reasons problem. I then offer one way to restrict obligations via contractual agreements.