Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

deriving ought for is fallacy? example?

can anyone give me an example of a deriving ought from is fallacy?? thanks!

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Are you referring to the Naturalistic Fallacy?

    An example of that might look like this...

    The poor have been with us forever.

    Therefore, government "ought" not try to alleviate poverty.

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  • 4 years ago

    "is" refers to the sum total of physical existence. basically the argument is saying that the physical world does not contain anything that would give rise to a moral rule, ie. something that would be preceded by the word "ought". let's flesh this out a bit. when you say that someone ought to do something, you can only make sense if that person is capable of doing what you suggested. if i say "You ought to fly to Mars unaided", i have made a nonsensical statement, as "ought" makes no sense unless the subject is possible. however, it cannot be the only possibility, ie. there must be something which you "ought not". if you only have one option, then "ought" makes no sense. for example, "you ought to breathe" makes no sense, as you have no choice (in normal situations) about whether you breathe or not. so for ought to make sense, there must be a choice between two possible actions. of course, one of these actions can be doing nothing: the point is that you can either do A or B, and we are saying that the morally correct thing is to do A. now, in answer to your question, the physical world is described in terms of mechanisms, ie "when A occurs/is true, B follows" or some similar statement. there is no physical rule that can tell you "when faced with two options, it is morally correct to do A". they can tell you the consequences of your actions, and therefore inform you in order to let you decide, but they cannot actually answer a moral dilemna for you. for example, if i know that if i do A, then as an inevitable consequence a little child will die brutally, i still haven't got any reason not to do A. only because i consider brutal murder to be wrong (for whatever reason, under whichever system of morality: that is not the point here, don't start talking about relative morality) that i can make a rational choice not to do A. this is essentially the "ought from an is" argument, precede by a load of my own personal musings about morality. take it or leave it.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    You are referring to the naturalistic fallacy, but I'm afraid the examples above are NOT naturallistic fallacies; in the two cases above, the speaker notices something that is true about the world and decides based on that what he ought to do. In the naturallistic fallacy, the speaker notices something that is true about the world, and concludes that it ought to be that way. So for example:

    IS: The strong triumph over the weak

    OUGHT: The strong deserve to triumph over the weak

    IS: The majority of the American population are Christian

    OUGHT: It is good that majority of the American population are Christian

    IS: Most women earn less than most men in the same positions

    OUGHT: Women should earn less than men in the same positions

    Source(s): I'm a third-year Philosophy student at the University of Warwick, UK
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  • 1 decade ago

    "The murder rate is increasing, so we ought to bring back the death penalty".

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