Call for Papers - Special Issue on Deontic Logic and Normative Systems

A special issue on Theoretical and technical limitations of automated behavior will be published in the Journal of Applied Logics – IfCoLog Journal (open access).

There is a growing literature in machine ethics attempting at creating ethical machines through AI and machine learning. This, in conjunction with the fact that there is a tendency to anthropomorphise AI, has led some scholars to believe that we should thrive to define and build machines that would be better than humans at making ethical choices and behaving ethically. While many limitations to such attempts are known, including the framing problem, incompatible ethical theories, conflicts between rules, and computation time, it remains that many problems and characteristics well known in the deontic logic literature (e.g. deontic paradoxes, conflicting norms and obligations) and that have a direct impact on the mere possibility of defining truly autonomous ethical machines seem to have been overlooked in the machine ethics literature. As such, DEON2023 aims to raise awareness on important aspects from the deontic logic literature that should impact machine ethics by focusing on the theoretical and technical limitations of automated behavior.

We further invite submissions pertaining to the following topics (the list is non-exclusive):

  • the logical study of normative reasoning, including formal systems of deontic logic, defeasible normative reasoning, logics of action, logics of time, and other related areas of logic
  • the formal analysis of normative concepts, normative systems (and their dynamics)
  • the formal specification of aspects of norm-governed multi-agent systems and autonomous agents, including (but not limited to) the representation of rights, authorization, delegation, power, responsibility and liability
  • the normative aspects of protocols for communication, negotiation and multi-agent decision making
  • the formal analysis of the semantics and pragmatics of deontic and normative expressions in natural language, including modals, imperatives, deontic verbs and adjectives, and discourse particles
  • advances in formal models of context and discourse structure that aim to explain the use of deontic expressions in natural language, and their significance for communication, action and social structures
  • the formal representation of legal knowledge
  • the formal specification of normative systems for the management of bureaucratic processes in public or private administration
  • applications of normative logic to the specification of database integrity constraints
  • game theoretic aspects of deontic reasoning
  • emergence of norms, including its logical and computational representation
  • deontic paradoxes and their philosophical and linguistic import
  • the connection between argumentation theory and normative reasoning, including the role of reasons and justification


Guest editors

Clayton Peterson (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)

Christian Straßer (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)


Submission details

Authors are invited to submit original work that either:

  1. Is previously unpublished (i.e. the CFP is open to papers that were not presented at DEON2023) or
  2. That has been accepted for presentation at DEON2023, in which case the paper should be extended to include at least 20% new material. Authors submitting papers that were previously published in DEON2023’s proceedings should provide a brief description of the modifications that were made to the manuscript in their submission letter.

Papers should be written in English and anonymized for peer review. Papers should be no longer than 25 pages (including references). Authors are allowed an additional 5 pages for technical appendices, if necessary.

Papers should be formatted using the LaTeX document class available below (see Guide for Authors). 


How to submit

Submissions should be sent to Jane Spurr at with “JALs-DEON submission” in the subject line.

Submission deadline: January 7th 2024

Guide for Authors IfCoLog Applied Logics Document Class