In Paul Russell (ed.), Oxford Handbook on David Hume. Oxford University Press (2016)

Charles R. Pigden
University of Otago
Hume seems to contend that you can’t get an ought from an is. Searle professed to prove otherwise, deriving a conclusion about obligations from a premise about promises. Since (as Schurz and I have shown) you can’t derive a substantive ought from an is by logic alone, Searle is best construed as claiming that there are analytic bridge principles linking premises about promises to conclusions about obligations. But we can no more derive a moral obligation to pay up from the fact that a promise has been made than we can derive a duty to fight a duel from the fact that a challenge has been issued – just conclusions about what we ought to do according to the rules of the relevant games. Hume suggests bridge principles that would take us from the rules of the games to conclusions about duties, but these principles are false. My argument features an obstreperous earl, an anarchist philosopher and a dueling Prime Minister
Keywords Is/Ought  Naturalistic Fallacy  Hume  Searle  Promises  Duke of Wellington  William Godwin  R M Hare  Judith Jarvis Thomson
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References found in this work BETA

The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1978 - Oxford University Press.
The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 2010 - New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
The Autonomy of Ethics.A. N. Prior - 1960 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 38 (3):199 – 206.
Of the Original Contract".David Hume - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA

Model Theory, Hume's Dictum, and the Priority of Ethical Theory.Jack Woods & Barry Maguire - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:419-440.
Not Just Errors: A New Interpretation of Mackie’s Error Theory.Victor Moberger - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (3).
On the (in)Significance of Hume’s Law.Samuele Chilovi & Daniel Wodak - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):633-653.

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