Weak Necessity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Getting the meaning of ought right and accounting for its relation to must has proven to be a considerable challenge for deontic logic as well as formal semantic analyses of modality. This chapter aims to give a language-independent characterization of weak necessity as a phenomenon of gradable modality, focusing on morphological, semantic, and discursive properties of modals like ought. Weak necessity requires us to distinguish between degrees of necessity. Two theoretical frameworks for doing so are evaluated in the chapter. The two frameworks are shown to have complementary strengths, highlighting the distinction between probability-based weak necessities and priority-oriented ones.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Semantics
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)9781118788516
StatePublished - 2020


  • decision theory
  • degrees of necessity
  • domain restriction
  • gradability
  • gradable modality
  • modality
  • necessity
  • obligation
  • weak obligation


Dive into the research topics of 'Weak Necessity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this