Two dogmas of metaethics

Philosophical Studies 132 (3):439 - 466 (2007)
The two dogmas at issue are the Humean dogma that “‘is’ statements do not imply ‘ought’ statements” and the Kantian dogma that “‘ought’ statements imply ‘can’” statements. The extant literature concludes these logically contradict each other. On the contrary, it is argued here that while there is no derivable formal contradiction, the juxtaposition of the dogmas manifests a philosophical disagreement over how to understand the logic of prescriptions. This disagreement bears on how to understand current metaethical debate between realists and non-realists about morality in a way not heretofore investigated. The conclusion is that realists have the resources to account for both dogmas, while non-realists, if they strictly adhere to the “is”/“ought” gap, cannot give an adequate account of why “ought” implies “can”.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Religion   Philosophy of Mind   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy
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DOI 10.2307/25471868
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