December 2019 Philosophy Think & Drink (Missoula)

We had a great time at our December Think & Drink.  And the topic fo the eve:  the good ol’ is-ought conundrum.  What is that?  An ‘is’ has to do with facts about/things in the world.  It is descriptive in nature.  An ‘ought’ has to do with normative claims.  It describes what we should do. 
According to David Hume, an is-ought fallacy arises when a normative claim (an ought) is derived from a descriptive claim (an is).  For example: Just because something is a certain way, does it follow that it ought to be that way?  Some say yes.  Some say no.  Here’s a quick video highlighting the issue (from Hume’s perspective).

The Question We Chose…

  • Can you get an “ought” from an “is”?

Some Things That Came Up in the Course of Our Discussion…

  • Do we derive our morals from our experience in the world, from pure reason, or from somewhere else?
  • How do different cultures come to completely different moral conclusions regarding similar factual circumstances?
  • Our answers to moral questions have changed over time.  Does this constitute moral progress?  By what criteria could we even answer this question?
  • What is the relationship between power and morals?
  • Are there fundamental moral principles that are consistent across human cultures and through the ages?  

Thank you to the Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization (PLATO) and Montana Internet for supporting philosophy in the community and helping us bring activities like these to the Missoula community!  

Comments are closed.