Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):349-365 (1998)

Stephen Maitzen
Acadia University
In a dense and fascinating article of some ten years ago, Toomas Karmo adds his voice to the chorus of philosophers who deny the possibility of soundly deriving ‘ought’ from ‘is.’ According to Karmo, no derivation containing an ethical conclusion and only non-ethical premises can possibly be sound, where ‘sound’ describes a deductively valid derivation all of whose premises are true. He also suggests that the only valid derivations of ‘ought’ from ‘is’ will be trivial ones. His argument has, to my knowledge, gone unrebutted; on the contrary, it has won recent endorsements, some philosophers evidently believing that he has finally put to rest the issue of the logical autonomy of ethics. Against that trend, I intend to rebut his argument, both by falsifying the taxonomy on which his argument relies and by offering a nontrivial and potentially sound ‘is’-‘ought’ derivation of my own.
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI cjphil199828317
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References found in this work BETA

Logic and the Autonomy of Ethics.Charles R. Pigden - 1989 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (2):127 – 151.
First Steps in a Philosophical Taxonomy.I. L. Humberstone - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):476-478.
The No Reason Thesis.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1989 - Social Philosophy and Policy 7 (1):1.
On Deriving an Ought From an Is: A Retrospective Look.Kai Nielsen - 1979 - Review of Metaphysics 32 (3):487 - 514.
Moral Autonomy Fights Back.E. J. Borowski - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (211):95 - 100.

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