Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

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Hume's Is-Ought:

true distinction between ontology (true is) and epistemology (justified ought)
3
38%
false dichotomy keeping values outside the realm of truth
5
63%
 
Total votes : 8

Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Ichthus » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:32 am

I am working on the difference between Hume’s is-ought distinction, which maintains a valid distinction between ontology and epistemology, and the false is-ought dichotomy, which keeps values outside the realm of truth.  One can rightly reject the false dichotomy without rejecting the is-ought distinction.  I think making clear the differences between the two will help further the dialogue in this area of philosophy.  If you want to see my past posts on Hume’s is-ought, scroll to the “Euthyphro, Hume, Plato, Gettier” section here: http://ichthus77.com/portfolio/book-discussions-and-reviews. I added a poll to this thread to get a general idea of how ILP weighs in on whether or not the is-ought is a genuine distinction or a false dichotomy. I'd love to hear supporting arguments for your vote in the comments.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Only_Humean » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:21 am

Ichthus wrote:I am working on the difference between Hume’s is-ought distinction, which maintains a valid distinction between ontology and epistemology, and the false is-ought dichotomy, which keeps values outside the realm of truth.  One can rightly reject the false dichotomy without rejecting the is-ought distinction.  I think making clear the differences between the two will help further the dialogue in this area of philosophy.  If you want to see my past posts on Hume’s is-ought, scroll to the “Euthyphro, Hume, Plato, Gettier” section here: http://ichthus77.com/portfolio/book-discussions-and-reviews. I added a poll to this thread to get a general idea of how ILP weighs in on whether or not the is-ought is a genuine distinction or a false dichotomy. I'd love to hear supporting arguments for your vote in the comments.


You're asking people whether they believe in a false dichotomy? Ever heard the phrase "loaded question"? :) Seriously, it looks like you're taking a survey of how many people are wrong by their own admission. It also looks like you've already concluded the matter that you're working on before you've finished working on it. Each to their own, I suppose, but retrofitting an argument to the pre-desired conclusion is an... unorthodox way of arriving at truth.

Referring people to a page full of hyperlinked discussions and reviews on all sorts of topics isn't an effective way of making a point or starting a discussion. Could you perhaps give an example? Are you saying Hume says that moral values do exist but they are unknowable, whereas the "false" camp denies their existence?
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Pezerocles » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:57 pm

I voted false dichotomy. As Yoda would say: "Do or do not! There is no try..."

When we say something ought to be done, it seems to me that an order is being processed, a prescription for action. When it is treated as metaphysichal, as on the same grounds as saying something will happen, a nasty trick is played.

They are not the same thing, but they aren't a Heraclitan upward-downward path either. They are just different balls in different ball games.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Ierrellus » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:17 pm

What Hume said is that an ought cannot be deduced from an is. He went on to posit ethical statements. So, I voted false dichotomy. Oughts come from somewhere, after all.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Ichthus » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:27 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
Ichthus wrote:I am working on the difference between Hume’s is-ought distinction, which maintains a valid distinction between ontology and epistemology, and the false is-ought dichotomy, which keeps values outside the realm of truth.  One can rightly reject the false dichotomy without rejecting the is-ought distinction.  I think making clear the differences between the two will help further the dialogue in this area of philosophy.  If you want to see my past posts on Hume’s is-ought, scroll to the “Euthyphro, Hume, Plato, Gettier” section here: http://ichthus77.com/portfolio/book-discussions-and-reviews. I added a poll to this thread to get a general idea of how ILP weighs in on whether or not the is-ought is a genuine distinction or a false dichotomy. I'd love to hear supporting arguments for your vote in the comments.


You're asking people whether they believe in a false dichotomy? Ever heard the phrase "loaded question"? :) Seriously, it looks like you're taking a survey of how many people are wrong by their own admission. It also looks like you've already concluded the matter that you're working on before you've finished working on it. Each to their own, I suppose, but retrofitting an argument to the pre-desired conclusion is an... unorthodox way of arriving at truth.

I have already done some work on it and have arrived at a conclusion, which I am firming up and testing its mettle, so to speak. As you have guessed wrongly about how I've concluded, then you've also guessed wrongly that the question is loaded. That, or I have communicated poorly, as I made no attempt to hide my intentions. I will come back this evening and try to better represent my findings. It gets complicated, which is why I linked to "more". Not all will be interested or have time for more, but that's why I didn't post this on in a recipe forum.

Could you perhaps give an example? Are you saying Hume says that moral values do exist but they are unknowable, whereas the "false" camp denies their existence?

I feel like if I answer you here you will again accuse me of stacking the deck or poisoning the well. I would love to discuss this after I get some other perspectives untainted by my thought process. For those who really want more, I did link to more. For those who want more "here" -- reply with arguments that support your vote. That's what I came for.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Ichthus » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:41 pm

Also, to clarify for Only Humean, voting "false dichotomy" doesn't mean you believe in one. It means you think the is-ought is not a genuine fallacy.

As Ierellius (sorry I can't spell) demonstrates, different folks conclude this for different reasons, some of them based on a likely misunderstanding I hope to make clear.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby BUFFALO » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:16 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
Ichthus wrote:I am working on the difference between Hume’s is-ought distinction, which maintains a valid distinction between ontology and epistemology, and the false is-ought dichotomy, which keeps values outside the realm of truth.  One can rightly reject the false dichotomy without rejecting the is-ought distinction.  I think making clear the differences between the two will help further the dialogue in this area of philosophy.  If you want to see my past posts on Hume’s is-ought, scroll to the “Euthyphro, Hume, Plato, Gettier” section here: http://ichthus77.com/portfolio/book-discussions-and-reviews. I added a poll to this thread to get a general idea of how ILP weighs in on whether or not the is-ought is a genuine distinction or a false dichotomy. I'd love to hear supporting arguments for your vote in the comments.


You're asking people whether they believe in a false dichotomy? Ever heard the phrase "loaded question"? :) Seriously, it looks like you're taking a survey of how many people are wrong by their own admission. It also looks like you've already concluded the matter that you're working on before you've finished working on it. Each to their own, I suppose, but retrofitting an argument to the pre-desired conclusion is an... unorthodox way of arriving at truth.

Referring people to a page full of hyperlinked discussions and reviews on all sorts of topics isn't an effective way of making a point or starting a discussion. Could you perhaps give an example? Are you saying Hume says that moral values do exist but they are unknowable, whereas the "false" camp denies their existence?


Yes. Please clarify.

The way I read it, the choice is to go with Hume (can't deduce "ought" from "is") OR Hume's position is a "false dichotomy" (i.e. you CAN get an ought from an is).
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Only_Humean » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:30 pm

Ichthus wrote:Also, to clarify for Only Humean, voting "false dichotomy" doesn't mean you believe in one. It means you think the is-ought is not a genuine fallacy.


Ahh! I see. Much clearer, thank you :)

Edit: and my apologies for the misreading.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby fuse » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:04 pm

First OF ALL (my nose up in the air :) ), epistemology is not obviously the realm of the "ought." Epistemology is the study of knowledge, what it is, how we get it, etc. etc. The concept of "ought," of prescription, is instead central to morality/ethics. To claim oughts as just another form of knowledge is to assume already the dissolution of the is-ought distinction. The 'is' part of the "is-ought" distinction, the way Hume conceived of it, is actually the epistemic part of the deal, not the ontological.


Ierrellus wrote:What Hume said is that an ought cannot be deduced from an is. He went on to posit ethical statements. So, I voted false dichotomy. Oughts come from somewhere, after all.

Oughts come from somewhere, but do they come merely from knowledge of what is? Hume didn't see how this could be possible. That doesn't mean morality is nonsense or without force, but it does mean that ought statements might not fit in with other kinds of knowledge. For instance, what any particular person desires or values or what human beings desire and value generally does not figure into what makes facts, like gravity or photosynthesis, true. But human desires and values do seem to be an important part of imperatives, "oughts".


Conclusion: The Fact-Value (Is-Ought) Distinction shouldn't be blown off so easily.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Chester » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:48 pm

I think the "is-ought" dilemma is only a problem if you believe there is no God. Obviously if there IS a God then morals are objectified and I "OUGHT" do such and such.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby BUFFALO » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:54 pm

Chester wrote:I think the "is-ought" dilemma is only a problem if you believe there is no God. Obviously if there IS a God then morals are objectified and I "OUGHT" do such and such.


A particular sort of God; it can't be the Deist's God, it must be a personal God who intervenes in our universe.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:03 pm

It seems to me that in reacting to the behaviors of others out in the world it can for all practical purposes be both.

We say we ought to behave in particular ways because there is no alternative in a world where people interact in conflicting, heterogeneous ways.

Just imagine how useless such a distinction would be if you chose to live utterly apart from others. Then ought would revolve entirely around achieving a particular aim. Why? Because there would be no others around to contest it.

But with others we are driven [by evolution] to interact through complex mental, emotional and psychological wants, needs and desires. The aims ever collide. And in order that our own aim comes out on top we feel compelled to impose oughts on the behaviors of others.

Morality is just one of many words invented to describe this basic, fundamental human reality.

But: What ought we to do? Now, that is a poll, right?
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Chester » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:13 pm

BUFFALO wrote:
Chester wrote:I think the "is-ought" dilemma is only a problem if you believe there is no God. Obviously if there IS a God then morals are objectified and I "OUGHT" do such and such.


A particular sort of God; it can't be the Deist's God, it must be a personal God who intervenes in our universe.


Yeah, sure.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby fuse » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:22 pm

Chester wrote:I think the "is-ought" dilemma is only a problem if you believe there is no God. Obviously if there IS a God then morals are objectified and I "OUGHT" do such and such.

What are objectified morals?
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Chester » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:45 pm

fuse wrote:
Chester wrote:I think the "is-ought" dilemma is only a problem if you believe there is no God. Obviously if there IS a God then morals are objectified and I "OUGHT" do such and such.

What are objectified morals?


That would mean that they are not dependent on us, that they are part of the substance of the world.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby James S Saint » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:49 pm

Ichthus wrote:I am working on the difference between Hume’s is-ought distinction, which maintains a valid distinction between ontology and epistemology, and the false is-ought dichotomy, which keeps values outside the realm of truth.  One can rightly reject the false dichotomy without rejecting the is-ought distinction.  I think making clear the differences between the two will help further the dialogue in this area of philosophy.  If you want to see my past posts on Hume’s is-ought, scroll to the “Euthyphro, Hume, Plato, Gettier” section here: http://ichthus77.com/portfolio/book-discussions-and-reviews. I added a poll to this thread to get a general idea of how ILP weighs in on whether or not the is-ought is a genuine distinction or a false dichotomy. I'd love to hear supporting arguments for your vote in the comments.

I believe that your poll is a false dichotomy.

Value (or better, "relevance") is what determines what the mind is going to choose as "matter" or "substance" or "entity". That is an issue of epistemology, not really ontology. Ontology is formed from the predefined epistemological entities. Once it is decided that there is something that we are going to call an "electron" because of its relevance to our life (epistemological issue), an ontological construction is formed regarding exactly how the dubbed "electrons" behave.

But Hume's "is-ought" dichotomy involves such things as ethics and moral values; "is it a fact that people must behave this way, or is it something that people ought to do for some presumed purpose". That issue is only vaguely ontological and has nothing to do with epistemology.

Frankly, from my perspective, that entire era of philosophers; Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer,.., were no more than children rising from a dark age, but no where near being fully awake ("enlightened"). It is silly to be still discussing them in worship of their greatness. One might as well be worshiping Newton's Laws of Motion. Seriously, Newton had more going for him than the rest of that crew and he has been well passed over. For heaven's sake, grow up already.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
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From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:55 pm

James S Saint wrote:Frankly, from my perspective, that entire era of philosophers; Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer,.., were no more than children rising from a dark age, but no where near being fully awake ("enlightened"). It is silly to be still discussing them in worship of their greatness. One might as well be worshiping Newton's Laws of Motion. Seriously, Newton had more going for him than the rest of that crew and he has been well passed over. For heaven's sake, grow up already.


What in the world does Newton have to tell us about the manner in which we ought to live? If you are enlightened then by all means edify.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby James S Saint » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:13 pm

iambiguous wrote:
James S Saint wrote:Frankly, from my perspective, that entire era of philosophers; Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer,.., were no more than children rising from a dark age, but no where near being fully awake ("enlightened"). It is silly to be still discussing them in worship of their greatness. One might as well be worshiping Newton's Laws of Motion. Seriously, Newton had more going for him than the rest of that crew and he has been well passed over. For heaven's sake, grow up already.


What in the world does Newton have to tell us about the manner in which we ought to live? If you are enlightened then by all means edify.

Apparently you entirely missed the point.

Newton is merely an example of someone who woke up to the idea of thinking about how things are or aren't. My statement was that EVEN HE has been well surpassed by those wiling to think even more. So when it comes to Hume and Kant and the like, it is ridiculous to be arguing about their opinions still to this day. It is very much like arguing whether of the third graders, John and Sally, which had a more meaningful understanding of algebra. Who really cares? Does reality have no significance to you at all?
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby fuse » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:19 pm

Chester wrote:
fuse wrote:What are objectified morals?


That would mean that they are not dependent on us, that they are part of the substance of the world.

How would one know that morals are part of the substance of the world and what, in particular, the world commands?
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Pezerocles » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:20 pm

fuse wrote:
Chester wrote:
fuse wrote:What are objectified morals?


That would mean that they are not dependent on us, that they are part of the substance of the world.

How would one know that morals are part of the substance of the world?


The point Chester is making: because God told us.
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby James S Saint » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:20 pm

fuse wrote:How would one know that morals are part of the substance of the world?

A seriously good question to ask. =D>
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
James S Saint
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Posts: 25976
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby BUFFALO » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:23 pm

James S Saint wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
James S Saint wrote:Frankly, from my perspective, that entire era of philosophers; Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer,.., were no more than children rising from a dark age, but no where near being fully awake ("enlightened"). It is silly to be still discussing them in worship of their greatness. One might as well be worshiping Newton's Laws of Motion. Seriously, Newton had more going for him than the rest of that crew and he has been well passed over. For heaven's sake, grow up already.


What in the world does Newton have to tell us about the manner in which we ought to live? If you are enlightened then by all means edify.

Apparently you entirely missed the point.

Newton is merely an example of someone who woke up to the idea of thinking about how things are or aren't. My statement was that EVEN HE has been well surpassed by those wiling to think even more. So when it comes to Hume and Kant and the like, it is ridiculous to be arguing about their opinions still to this day. It is very much like arguing whether of the third graders, John and Sally, which had a more meaningful understanding of algebra. Who really cares? Does reality have no significance to you at all?


I'd make an exception for Hume. I think his extreme kind of scepticism (the problems of induction and causality) has never been adequately refuted by subsequent philosophers. All the others have been argued "through" by subsequent generations; Hume seems to have been argued "around".
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby eyesinthedark » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:24 pm

1st off, is, is nothing like ought.

Is, is descriptive, this is how the world is, I'm fat, you're ugly.

Ought, ought is prescriptive, this is how the ought to be, I ought to be skinny, you ought to be beautiful.

Ises, are mental reflections of how the world works.

Oughts, are mental projections of how the world ought to work.

Ises, are apparent/evident in the world and objective (input).

Oughts are nowhere apparent/evident in the world, they are expressions of our wants and needs, hopes and dreams and subjective (output).

Ises are an acknowledgement of the world.

Oughts seek to change the world, or keep the world from changing, they're expressions of our will and often our imagination.


more on this later...
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby Pezerocles » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:26 pm

Ought = an explicit order

The world ought to be less violent! = I command the world to be less violent!
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Re: Is-Ought: Valid distinction, or false dichotomy?

Postby James S Saint » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:27 pm

BUFFALO wrote:I'd make an exception for Hume.

The same would have been said (and very probably was) about Newton, 200 years ago.
If you can't think PAST those people, then you aren't thinking at all.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
James S Saint
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 25976
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:05 pm

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