from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or concerning duties or obligations: deontic logic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to necessity, duty or obligation, or expressions conveying this.


Greek deon, deont-, obligation, necessity; see deontology.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek δέον ("what is right"); compare deontology (Wiktionary)


  • I would only add that both will and going to (like most modals or modal phrases) are used to express two kinds of meanings: 1. meanings related to how we see the likelihood of events (sometimes called extrinsic, or epistemic, modality); and meanings related to how we intervene in, or exert change on, events (intrinsic or deontic modality).

    C is for Corpus « An A-Z of ELT

  • A broad division has been made into alethic (regarding theoretical possibility), epistemic (regarding actuality), deontic (regarding duty) and boulomaic (regarding desire).

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Equilibrium warp: Equilibrium can be considered the state of the substory at any point where what “can happen” carries deontic and/or boulomaic modalities that effectively neutralise each other — i.e. where it “may and/or may not happen” — or that dynamically counterbalance each other — i.e. where it “should and should not happen”.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • In fact, just as “must not” can be read as deontic modality rather than epistemic, “should not” can be read as boulomaic modality rather than deontic — the “should not” of desire rather than duty.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • The disruption or absence of it — which is to say where what “can happen” carries uneven deontic and/or boulomaic modalities — is equilibrium warp.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Actually, there is an alternative reading in which this modality can be read as honest prescriptivism, if we take “must” as a deontic rather than epistemic modality — the “must” of social obligation rather than theoretical possibility.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • As with deontic quirks, you can see this in terms of rhetorical transformations.

    Modality and Hamlet

  • To explain what I mean a little better (hopefully,) I'd tend to put these in a similar terminology to that with which the base deontic quirks are articulated.

    Modality and Hamlet

  • With the deontic and boulomaic quirks ... could the deontic quirks be paraphrased as:

    Modality and Hamlet

  • The rhetorical transformations of deontic modalities are pertinent to the analysis of narrative, but reformulating duty as actuality is not a good starting point.

    Modality and Hamlet


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  • "They include the kinds of relationship this enunciation entertains with particular paths (or "statements") by according them a truth value ("alethic" modalities of the necessary, the impossible, the possible, or the contingent), an epistemological value ("epistemic" modalities of the certain, the excluded, the plausible, or the questionable) or finally an ethical or legal value ("deontic" modalities of the obligatory, the forbidden, the permitted, or the optional)."
    The practice of everyday life by Michel de Certeau, p 99

    March 25, 2011