A comment by VS on my last post proposes the above solution and suggests that contradictions might be due to different textual layers. This is certainly true in many cases, but
- 1. it does not solve the intrinsic problem of whomsoever wants to make sense of the text prescribing the contrary-to-duty obligation. This applies to people who believe in that text (e.g. Mīmāṃsakas and the Veda, Christians and the Bible, etc.), to people who depend on it (such as law scholars having to do with a Costitution) and to thinkers who, like me, apply the principle of charity in order to make sense of the texts they analyse.
- 2. contrary-to-duty obligations may perhaps arise also outside texts.
Whatever the case, for sure contrary to duty obligations might arise out of the mixture of two different sources. For instance: What should one do, if one has promised to harm someone, given that a) one should do what one has promised to do and b) one should not harm others?