Here's how from "is" statements we can get a "moral ought"

Can we from “is” statements get a Moral Ought?

Dr. Robert S. Hartman showed how it can be done, and a clear explanation of the steps in the process was offered by Dr. Katz in his ETHICS; A College Course. See the link below.} As you know, there are ‘moral oughts’ and there are ‘non-moral oughts.’ If one says to a slobby little kid: “You ought to clean your room!” it might not be clear as to whether this is a moral proposition, or it is not. Say, for example, though, that the ought-proposition is clearly a moral one, such as: “Jim ought to be authentic and sincere.” Substitute that, if you wish a more-ethical context, for the non-moral propositions used as examples in the very-logical discussion on pages 41-45, HERE: … Course.pdf

The question has come up: How do we get from “is” statements to a moral imperative? Or conversely, can a moral imperative, containing an “ought”, be reduced to a series of “is” statements?

What follows is an an analysis, for which the polymath genius, R. S. Hartman, gets the credit. It will display the equivalence between a concept that is a moral imperative and a concept that is in the indicative mode:

"Jim, you ought to be considerate of others!”

The above moral imperative equals by definition: “Given who you are, Jim, and given what ‘being considerate to others’ is, it is better for you to be considerate of others than not to be, or to engage in some other behavior with regard to others.”

To phrase it another way [- and also to explain what the relation “better for” means - think of Venn Diagrams now -] it is the case that ‘being considerate to others’ overlaps more with the meaning of ‘Jim’ (viz., who he is, as he himself and as those who know him best would agree) than some other way of responding, such as, say, ‘to be mean to others’ or ‘to be indifferent to them’ would overlap.

So, you see, it can be done.

It may help to clear up any misunderstanding or confusion if I add a further explanation.
By the definition of “Ethics” in the new paradigm offered here, one is being ethical when one’s perspective on an individual (or group of individuals) is to see that individual as of uncountably-high value, as well as of continuous value.

The valuer, in this process, forms a continuum with the one who is being valued. [size=88][The mathematical power of the continuum has the cardinality aleph-one.}[/size] which in practice amounts to giving full attention, or getting involved with the person valued that highly. .Technically, it is called Intrinsic valuation. When you Intrinsically value a person, you are being ethical.

Earlier the phrase “given who Jim is” was stated; and this might lead to a question as to “Who is Jim?” In light of the very definition of Ethics offered above, Jim does not have a definable nor fixed set of characteristics !! :exclamation: Jim may behave idiosyncratically or spontaneously, as may you or I. Jim has infinite meaning and infinite possibilities …from this perspective, subject to the limits set by nature and the causal chains that led up to, and resulted in, Jim. Jim can choose what he is. He is not pre-defined by any system except that of the nature of the universe.

Note, though, that I may utter "Frank ought to think deeply,” when, as a matter of fact, he already does. The same goes for Jim, who is ordinarilly considerate of other. I could rationally assert that he ought to be what he already is.

It is also relevant to note that the value copula “ought” and also “should” denote a gap:

It is a gap between the actual and an ideal state of affairs. Let’s say, for example, that the claim is: “Jim ought to be considerate”

Those terms, ‘ought’ and ‘should’ suggest that Jim is now inconsiderate; and when the gap is closed Jim will indeed be considerate.

Philosophers and Philosophy students ought to accept and embrace the best Ethical Theory that is out there.

Could that theory be the one that teaches us to optimize the (amount of) value in our life? An then proceeds to tell us how to do it. And even elucidates how this theory will spread around the world and be universally adopted. Yes, it turns out that it can.

“”The measure of our lives is how much we were of service to others.”

It may be of interest to you familiar with the work of Husserl to note that in Husserl’s Phenominology what Hartman called Intrinsic Value, Husserl calls Intentionality.

It is no coincidence. R. S. Hartman was a student in some of Husserl’s classes in Germany. There Hartman picked up the concept of ‘Intentionality’ and when devising his own system, which he named Formal Axiology, he adapted the concept to fit into this new, unique paradigm.

Your thoughts? All comments and questions are welcomed.

One can say that about a slave.

Intrinsic valuation may not get you anywhere except to excuse and validate the negative behavior. If a person is a natural slob, and you accept him as he is and the given quality as an extension of himself, you will also have to accept slovenliness. Here, you’d have to consider all the consequences as well. A more extreme case would be of a drug addicted family member. Naturally, they’d want you to accept and respect them as they are and their choices in life, but if their choices have negative consequences for others, then such valuation may also become self-destructive.

This is also a Christian and Jungian approach but the problem with acceptance, or intrinsic valuation, as you call it, is its validation - and that would make you, the valuer, unethical. And the question that naturally follows: how low can you go with this? Where do you draw the line? Can you accept the consequences? I mean, this blurring of lines, do you not think that it would also affect and change the valuer? With this, I’m more for a stepping up, rather than stepping down approach.

Thank you, Pandora, for a very good question :exclamation:

To be good at Intrinsic Value (empathy, love) is not enough – as you remind us.
We would ideally also have some capacity to Extrinsically value and to Systemically value. Each of us - unless clinically-disturbed at the moment - has a strength in one or more of these value dimensions. {One value-scientiific finding, when Ethics is applied to Coaching, is that it is best when an individual makes the most of one’s strength(s), rather than trying to “fix” one’s weaknesses.}

You guessed right that Intrinsic-value {I-value} is a technical (an academic) word for love.
And a good mother can often give her child unconditional love, yet when the child does something questionable (whether morally or socially) she will likely, if wise, give conditional love at that point. She, or her partner, [or her common-law hubby, or a helpful friend, or even a passing-by stranger] will admonish the child or use the occasion as a teaching moment. When children or juveniles step out of line society has a way of shaping them up. Hopefully, the ‘negative reinforcement’ will be presented in a loving context …to a child who “has love in the bank”, so to speak. Freud vs. Skinner. [size=57]{I knew Fred Skinner personally but I was only eight years old when Freud died.][/size]

To learn more about the Dimensions of Value (which form a spectrum akin too the electromagnetic spectrum), see Basic Ethics - the third link down in the list of references below.

Your views?
Comments? Questions?

“Ought” is something about an “is”. Why would any “ought” be the case at all? Only because of an “is”. “Ought” would mean absolutely nothing at all without an “is” to which it refers, from which it has been derived and alongside which it always draws its meaning and reality and moral value.

An “is” without an “ought” is simply pre-human animal nature. An “ought” without an “is” isn’t even possible, but the ideal of it can be seen in every stupid religious and political pathology ever since the dawn of human civilization, continuing to today. Making your ought-statements without regard to what is is not only impossible but highly insane, anti-philosophical and anti-human.

In conclusion, Hume was an idiot. And if you accept the so-called is/ought divide then you’re an idiot too.

Indeed, one certainly could but then again in the eyes of authority and those that wield it we all are to varying degrees anyways. Note the propaganda undertone of that comment where obedience is paramount much like all of morality or ethics.

If it was up to them they would have us all crawling on our bellies like dogs.

Next Dr. Robert S. Hartman explains why it it is good for Jim to obey government at all times.

Jim ought to obey government at all times. The government is a constant “IS” and through the proper ethical valuations the implied “Ought” of Jim’s obedience to government becomes all the more clear.

In summary Dr. Robert S Hartman explains why taking it up the ass by those that control the world is a good thing.

Not all morality and ethics is based on obedience. Randian objectivism is not.Virtue ethics is based on reasoned self-interest rather than obedience.

But Thinkdr is selling a particular ethics.

Randian objectivism is a joke where everybody is suppose to worship their rich productive corporate overlords.

Virtue ethics is based upon self interests? Is it really? What happens when one’s own virtuous self interests conflicts and collides with another’s?

Yes, he is.

No, that’s not what she wrote.

Then there is a conflict which will be resolved in some way - discussion, compromise, disengagement, battle, death - depends on the situation.

I’m very familiar with the writings of Ayn Rand as I loathe and detest that woman. In your mind what did she talk about?

Somehow your definition of virtue seems very different from what I have read from other writers expounding on the subject.

That people do not treat others as slaves but instead the trade of goods and services is based on agreement.

What about this list :

Wall of text did not read.

Your so called moral code has no condolences for those who are born ugly, or have violent and sexual urges.
You are basically telling people to be nice at all times when they themselves are miserable. Like an ugly person who is a 40 year old virgin is supposed to be nice to women even though they rejected them…right…Lala land

A slave under market economics is a good, service, or resource. Ayn Rand said much more than all of that Phyllo and I think you know that also. Are you really trying to proposition some kind of social contract here?

Yes, nice list of practiced ideals but I think we both know how ideals work in what is otherwise a non ideal world.

WTF :open_mouth:

Who the fuck ever said anything about an ideal world?? :open_mouth:

Nice to see this convo devolve so quickly into Ayn Rand nonsense.

Care to respond to my points regarding the incorrect nature of the so-called is/ought divide? Or perhaps someone would like to share just exactly how you would come up with an ought, any ought at all, without a corresponding is-reference? Or on the flip side, what would “is” look like without any “oughts”?

Decisions are based on prior observations, that is true, but observations can only help you predict the consequences, they cannot help you determine their value.

Even if this fucking made any sense at all, which it doesn’t, it has no bearing at all on what I said.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Hi, phyllo

Are you implying by this that a slave, say, a chattel slave in the U.S.A. in 1840, cannot be a person of good character possessing such properties as courage, generosity, prudence, truthfulness, humility, etc. :question:

Can a slave not measure up = have a high Moral Quotient, so to speak? Of coursse s/he can !!!

BTW, did you notice that in both documents, Living Well and in Basic Ethics, Viirtue Ethics was ranked higher than any of the other standard academic schools?

The three schools were graded based on an axiological analysis of their content, applying the Dimensions of Value to them. An alternative interpretation is to note that when the basic Dimensions are applied to the concept “traditional schools of ethics” what results is the derivation of those perspectives by the new paradigm which generates them.
See first pp. 9-12 in the first link below; then see p. 9 here:

David Hume argues that people tend to drift from a descriptive into a prescriptive language and that they are not forthright about the way they do this.
They make it seem as if the ‘ought’ rationally derives from the ‘is’ while that is not the case.

Now, what the op is describing here is a reversal of that (they pretty much always do).

Hume critiques that people follow the ‘is’ with an ‘ought’ just like that without mentioning implicit values as to make it seem as if it would just be a rational conclusion by itself merely following from the ‘is’.
The op describes how the ‘ought’ follows from the ‘is’ without mentioning that the ‘is’ is contingent on certain values.

The basic idea is the same, it is to hide the value assumption, or to declare an ‘is’ which is simply not the case.

Like for example when you ask a simpleton why people ought to be equal - For him they are all equal anyway so then it’s just ‘rational’ that they ought to be equal too because they are so anyway. While in reality people are not equal.

Here we can also see how words like equality become confused, wilfully or haplessly so. Are people actually equal or are they supposed to be treated equally? - for the simpleton this doesn’t even matter, it is merely an appeal to their emotional connection to the word equality.

Then we have Wyld who likes to emphasise the ‘rationality’ of such a view and would like to emotionally manipulate with appeals to rising above such crude animalistic qualities as to see the world merely as ‘is’.
While what is actually the case is that it is more basic, reverting back to a baser life-form, to not distinguish between the ‘ought’ and the ‘is’. A more subjective, more basic view of reality.
In all sciences we have an ‘is’ and not an ‘ought’ approach, well, besides the science in name only, the social sciences of today.

Another example would be his way or arguing about rationality. He has learned that one ‘ought’ to be rational and so now he ‘is’ rational. Just like that. Doesn’t matter if he really is, he just is because one ought to be.

So where is the Biggster, telling Wyld that he is a moral objectivist?
Either he considers Wyld to not be worth it.
Or he shares his values and so it doesn’t matter.
Ought and is, it’s all the same for them.