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!