Moral Requiredness: Bridging the Gap between "Ought" and "Is": Part I

Journal of Religious Ethics 6 (2):293 - 318 (1978)
This is the first of two essays concerned to specify in what sense "ought" and "value" are genuine characteristics of reality serving as data that help us empirically verify the truth and falsity of our moral judgments. This, the first, essay discusses the significance of the ought/is question for moral philosophy and theological ethics, giving reasons for the inadequacy of current views on the relation between "ought" and "is." Building on the perceptual theories of Gestalt psychologists yields a phenomenological description of the nature of "ought" and "value" as unique experiences of gap-induced demands or requiredness. These moral experiences of requiredness are delineated in such a way that they are distinguishable from aesthetic, logical, and causal forms of requiredness.
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