Getting an ought from an is

UseOfReason

0. Introduction

In the Treatise of Human Nature, Hume outlined the ‘is-ought’ problem, sometimes referred to as ‘Hume’s Guillotine’. The idea is that it is not possible to argue validly from ‘descriptive’ statements (about how things are) to ‘normative’ conclusions (about how things ought to be). 

Hume describes how he often notices a change that takes place when he is reading certain passages on moral philosophy:

“I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence” (Section 3.1.1)

Examples of this switch include the move from 1 to 2 in the following examples:

A)

  1. X makes people happy
  2. Therefore, people ought to do X

B)

  1. God commands people to do…

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Fight Club: Jordan Peterson vs. Cathy Newman

She constantly repeats the phrase “So you’re saying” and goes on to fully misrepresent what he just said.

https://youtu.be/7A9qsZx8JZc

Why Evolution Is True

The first rule of Fight Club is to prepare for Fight Club.

This video, in which journalist Cathy Newman interviews psychologist Jordan B. Peterson on Britain’s Channel 4, is an object lesson in how NOT to do an interview, even though I found the exchange entertaining. Newman didn’t do her homework, and her conversation is motivated not by curiosity or an attempt to draw out the subject, but to attack him—without ammunition. Newman fails because she’s angry and invested in her narrative, leading her to ignore what Peterson says (she makes some of her arguments over and over again) and to constantly mischaracterize his views.

As I’ve said before, I don’t have a well-formed opinion about Peterson, because I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to him. I know he’s religious and doesn’t like New Atheists, which turns me off; but on other issues, like the ones in this discussion…

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