Hume Not Consistent with his No OUGHT from IS

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Veritas Aequitas
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Hume Not Consistent with his No OUGHT from IS

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
Alasdair MacIntyre wrote:...in Hume’s own moral philosophy the transition from is to ought is made and made clearly.
But too much must not be made of this, for Hume is a notoriously inconsistent author.
Yet how does Hume make this transition?

Hume, as we have already seen, argues that when we call an action virtuous or vicious we are saying that it arouses in us a certain feeling, that it pleases us in a certain way.
In what way?
This question Hume leaves unanswered.
He passes on to give an account of why we have the moral rules we do have, why it is this rather than that which we judge virtuous.
The basic terms of this account are utility and sympathy.

Consider for example the account of justice which Hume gives in the Treatise.
He begins by asking why we accept and obey rules which it would often be in our interest to break.
He denies that we are by nature so constituted that we have a natural regard for public rather than private interest.
  • “In general, it may be affirm’d that there is no such passion in human minds as the love of mankind, merely as such, independent of personal qualities, of services, or of relation to oneself.”48
If private interest would lead us to flout the rules, and we have no natural regard for public interest, how then do the rules come about?

Because it is a fact that without rules of justice there would be no stability of property, and indeed no property, an artificial virtue has been created, that of abiding by the rules of justice, and we exhibit this virtue not perhaps so much because we are aware of the benefit that flows from our observing the rules as because we are conscious of how much we are harmed by others infringing them.

Our long-term benefit from insisting on strict observance of the rules will always outweigh our short-term benefit from breaking them on this occasion.

In the Enquiry human nature is exhibited as less self-interested.
  • “It appears also, that, in our general approbation of character and manners, the useful tendency of the social interests moves us not by any regards to self-interest, but has an influence much more universal and extensive.
    It appears that a tendency to public good, and to the promoting of peace, harmony, and order in society does always, by affecting the benevolent principles of our frame, engage us on the side of the social virtues.”49
But what is clear is that Hume’s altered picture of human nature is made to provide the same type of explanation and justification of moral rules.

We are so constituted that we have certain desires and needs; these desires and needs are served by maintaining the moral rules.
Hence their explanation and justification.

In such an account we certainly begin with an is and end with an ought.

................................
From A SHORT HISTORY OF [Western] ETHICS by Alasdair MacIntyre pg 111
Last edited by Veritas Aequitas on Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No OUGHT from IS

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

The point with the above is to dispel the arrogance of the moral fact deniers like Peter Holmes et. al. who insist blindly, dogmatically and arrogantly, as long as whatever is identified as "is' in their limited interpretation, no 'ought' can be derived from it.

As I had pointed elsewhere, Hume was not rigid with his 'no is from ought' since as above he himself transited from is to ought in his moral philosophy.

What Hume was targeting with his "no ought from is" [NOFI] was directly at the pure rationalists and the theists' God driven moral oughts as can be seen in this quote;
Hume wrote:I cannot forbear adding to these reasonings an observation, which may, perhaps, be found of some importance.
In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that
the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs;
when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not.

Treatise, III, 1, 1.
Last edited by Veritas Aequitas on Fri Jan 08, 2021 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Peter Holmes
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Peter Holmes »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:49 am Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
Alasdair MacIntyre wrote:...in Hume’s own moral philosophy the transition from is to ought is made and made clearly.
But too much must not be made of this, for Hume is a notoriously inconsistent author.
Yet how does Hume make this transition?

Hume, as we have already seen, argues that when we call an action virtuous or vicious we are saying that it arouses in us a certain feeling, that it pleases us in a certain way.
In what way?
This question Hume leaves unanswered.
He passes on to give an account of why we have the moral rules we do have, why it is this rather than that which we judge virtuous.
The basic terms of this account are utility and sympathy.

Consider for example the account of justice which Hume gives in the Treatise.
He begins by asking why we accept and obey rules which it would often be in our interest to break.
He denies that we are by nature so constituted that we have a natural regard for public rather than private interest.
  • “In general, it may be affirm’d that there is no such passion in human minds as the love of mankind, merely as such, independent of personal qualities, of services, or of relation to oneself.”48
If private interest would lead us to flout the rules, and we have no natural regard for public interest, how then do the rules come about?

Because it is a fact that without rules of justice there would be no stability of property, and indeed no property, an artificial virtue has been created, that of abiding by the rules of justice, and we exhibit this virtue not perhaps so much because we are aware of the benefit that flows from our observing the rules as because we are conscious of how much we are harmed by others infringing them.

Our long-term benefit from insisting on strict observance of the rules will always outweigh our short-term benefit from breaking them on this occasion.

In the Enquiry human nature is exhibited as less self-interested.
  • “It appears also, that, in our general approbation of character and manners, the useful tendency of the social interests moves us not by any regards to self-interest, but has an influence much more universal and extensive.
    It appears that a tendency to public good, and to the promoting of peace, harmony, and order in society does always, by affecting the benevolent principles of our frame, engage us on the side of the social virtues.”49
But what is clear is that Hume’s altered picture of human nature is made to provide the same type of explanation and justification of moral rules.

We are so constituted that we have certain desires and needs; these desires and needs are served by maintaining the moral rules.
Hence their explanation and justification.

In such an account we certainly begin with an is and end with an ought.

................................
From A SHORT HISTORY OF [Western] ETHICS by Alasdair MacIntyre pg 111
It's easy to explain why we have moral rules. But that doesn't show that we ought to have moral rules, or that those moral rules are facts. We can begin with an is and end with an ought. But we don't have to. The one doesn't entail the other. And that's what Hume meant.
Peter Holmes
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Peter Holmes »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:05 am The point with the above is to dispel the arrogance of the moral fact deniers like Peter Holmes et. al. who insist blindly, dogmatically and arrogantly, as long as whatever is identified as "is' in their limited interpretation, no 'ought' can be derived from it.

As I had pointed elsewhere, Hume was not rigid with his 'no is from ought' since as above he himself transited from is to ought in his moral philosophy.

What Hume was targeting with his "no ought from is" [NOFI] was directly at the pure rationalists and the theists' God driven moral oughts as can be seen in this quote;
Hume wrote:I cannot forbear adding to these reasonings an observation, which may, perhaps, be found of some importance.
In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that
the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs;
when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not.

Treatise, III, 1, 1.
This passage very clearly shows Hume's point: the shift from factual assertions - there's a god, or there's this fact about humans - to moral assertions goes unremarked. There's no logical connection between an is and an ought because the two kinds of assertion have different functions.
Skepdick
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Skepdick »

Peter Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:20 pm There's no logical connection between an is and an ought because the two kinds of assertion have different functions.
No they don't.

The function of both is and ought is to make assertions about the world.

Is asserts the world as it it now. I am drinking coffee.
Ought asserts the world as it will be in future. I will drink coffee. <wait 5 minutes>. I am drinking coffee.

The logical connection is called imperative LOGIC
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:49 am Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
:shock: Um...Are you not aware that it's "the no ought from is maxim"?

The way you put it makes no sense at all.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:49 am Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
Alasdair MacIntyre wrote: We are so constituted that we have certain desires and needs; these desires and needs are served by maintaining the moral rules.
Hence their explanation and justification.

In such an account we certainly begin with an is and end with an ought.
MacIntyre's simply wrong.

To say "I desire" or even "I need" is not at all to say that one has a moral injunction or rule to back that "desire" or "need." I may desire my neighbour's wife, or need insulin. That does not imply that reality has some kind of duty to cough up either for me, and certainly not that any other person does either. Even if we invent a social rule that says, "All people must be given their neighbours' wives and insulin," that does not show that the rule thus framed is legitimate or justified, or that any one has a universal moral obligation to follow it. It merely means that an arbitrary social rule has been invented by a particular society.

So no, nothing he give us gets from is to ought. All that is needed to defeat such a weak argument is enough basic skepticism to doubt it, as illustrated above.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:18 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:49 am Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
:shock: Um...Are you not aware that it's "the no ought from is maxim"?

The way you put it makes no sense at all.
OK, noted, was in a rush.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Peter Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:20 pm This passage very clearly shows Hume's point: the shift from factual assertions - there's a god, or there's this fact about humans - to moral assertions goes unremarked. There's no logical connection between an is and an ought because the two kinds of assertion have different functions.
The OP point is,
Re classical logic, we cannot deduce ought from is.
The problem is classic logic has its limitations where it has to deal with only abstracted general things and not things in their completeness in reality.

As Alisdair had shown Hume himself was not consistent and transited ought from is.
As such, my point is, Hume focus was on the rationalists and theists' derivation of ought from their reasoning and God respectively.

In reality, we can transit ought from is by analyze the variable in more details.
Note my argument, oughtness [the mental tension] is an 'is' within reality, i.e. all-there-is.
Moral facts are inherent 'oughtness' adapted from evolution which Hume could not dig into due to his time.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Peter Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:14 pm It's easy to explain why we have moral rules. But that doesn't show that we ought to have moral rules, or that those moral rules are facts. We can begin with an is and end with an ought. But we don't have to. The one doesn't entail the other. And that's what Hume meant.
You got it wrong.
Morality-proper is not about moral rules, moral judgment, moral decisions and the likes.

As stated above, morality is about the inherent moral function and the inherent "oughtness" [mental tension] which is generic in ALL humans adapted from evolution.
These moral oughtness are the moral facts as verified and justified within the moral framework and system.
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:25 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:49 am Here is a point where Hume was not consistent with his famous "No IS from OUGHT" maxim.
Alasdair MacIntyre wrote: We are so constituted that we have certain desires and needs; these desires and needs are served by maintaining the moral rules.
Hence their explanation and justification.

In such an account we certainly begin with an is and end with an ought.
MacIntyre's simply wrong.

To say "I desire" or even "I need" is not at all to say that one has a moral injunction or rule to back that "desire" or "need." I may desire my neighbour's wife, or need insulin. That does not imply that reality has some kind of duty to cough up either for me, and certainly not that any other person does either. Even if we invent a social rule that says, "All people must be given their neighbours' wives and insulin," that does not show that the rule thus framed is legitimate or justified, or that any one has a universal moral obligation to follow it. It merely means that an arbitrary social rule has been invented by a particular society.

So no, nothing he give us gets from is to ought. All that is needed to defeat such a weak argument is enough basic skepticism to doubt it, as illustrated above.
MacIntyre stated we have CERTAIN [not all] desires and need that are related to Moral Issues.
In this case we have to define what is Morality [ done elsewhere] and its related desires and need.

You are jumping to hasty generalization [as usual] into 'desiring neighbor's wife' and 'need for insulin' without deliberating whether they can be related to morality per se.

The principle of morality is whatever is a "moral ought" must first be a moral fact which must be verified and justified empirically and philosophically within a moral framework and system.

You did not ensure your 'desiring neighbor's wife' and 'need for insulin' complied with the above principles, i.e. no proper verification and justification.

Instead of the above, let take the more obvious moral element, i.e. 'murder of humans'.

The moral fact re 'murder' that can be verified and justified is;
  • 1. No normal human would want to die prematurely. [is]
    2. No normal human would want to be murdered, else they would have died. [is]
    3. All humans are programmed with the potential for empathy. [is-ought]
    4. The principles of empathy ensure no one is murdered. [oughtness]
    5. Thus within a moral framework and its constitution and 1-3
    .....'no humans ought to murder another' [ought]
Btw, the moral fact justified above is not to be taken as a rule nor be imposed on any individual or groups, but merely to act as a standard to guide moral improvements.

The above is a general proof among the many ways in reconciling 'ought' with 'is'.

It is not a question of deriving 'ought' from 'is'.
It is a moral fact, 'oughtness' is IS.

Note it is so obvious with a God-driven-morality.
From: God is. God commanded.
To: ALL theists ought to obey God's command.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:46 am You did not ensure your 'desiring neighbor's wife' and 'need for insulin' complied with the above principles, i.e. no proper verification and justification.
You're talking nonsense again. It's not my job to justify either. It's YOURS, if you insist we have an ought from an is.

"Desire" or "need" are "is" facts; as such, they are devoid of moral status, and you can see that they are because the "desire" listed above is pretty much universally conceded to be "immoral," and because even though the second is a genuine "need," it is not at all apparent that anybody else is obligated to provide it.

Both "I need" and "I desire" have no logical link to "you ought to give them to me." Sorry.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No IS from OUGHT

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:04 am
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:46 am You did not ensure your 'desiring neighbor's wife' and 'need for insulin' complied with the above principles, i.e. no proper verification and justification.
You're talking nonsense again. It's not my job to justify either. It's YOURS, if you insist we have an ought from an is.

"Desire" or "need" are "is" facts; as such, they are devoid of moral status, and you can see that they are because the "desire" listed above is pretty much universally conceded to be "immoral," and because even though the second is a genuine "need," it is not at all apparent that anybody else is obligated to provide it.

Both "I need" and "I desire" have no logical link to "you ought to give them to me." Sorry.
The principle is, whatever is fact is always qualified to a specific framework and system of knowledge [FSK] or Reality [FSR].
Scientific facts verified and justified empirically and philosophically from the scientific FSK is the standard bearer of bearer of truth.

Theists claimed there are moral facts from God but that is only qualified with a theological framework and system [FSK]. Surely it cannot be based on a scientific, legal, economics, and other FSK.
  • A conceptual framework is an analytical tool with several variations and contexts. It can be applied in different categories of work where an overall picture is needed. It is used to make conceptual distinctions and organize ideas. Strong conceptual frameworks capture something real and do this in a way that is easy to remember and apply.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_framework
  • As for 'system' note system theory.
A divine moral fact is grounded on a theological FSK which is grounded on God and faith.

Thus a moral fact is grounded on a moral FSK which like the scientific FSK is grounded on facts verified and justified empirically and philosophically within the moral FSK.

Note my arguments; Not all desires are for evil and many are for good.

Ultimately, whatever is claimed to be a moral fact, it must is grounded on a moral FSK -which like the scientific FSK - is grounded on facts verified and justified empirically and philosophically within the moral FSK.
Peter Holmes
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No OUGHT from IS

Post by Peter Holmes »

Both is and ought assertions are declarative. And our argument is about whether oughts have truth-value.

But commands are imperative and so can have no truth-value. A command doesn't make a falsifiable claim about the way the world should be.

Talk of the 'propositional content' of non-decalarative clauses - such as in Searle's representationalism - shows the myth of propositions at work.
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Re: Hume Not Consistent with his No OUGHT from IS

Post by Skepdick »

Peter Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:44 am But commands are imperative and so can have no truth-value. A command doesn't make a falsifiable claim about the way the world should be.
Horseshit. Of course imperatives have truth-value.

I utter the sentence "Alexa, turn on the lights". It is now true that the lights in my house are on.

This is a verifiable and falsifiable fact about the world.
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