Oscar presented parts of three entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about the is/ought gap and G.E. Moore’s Open Question Argument.
James said he thought the Open Question Argument appears to be too strong as it seems to apply to valid scientific claims like “H2O is water” just as well as it does to ethical ones, like “whatever produces pleasure is good.”
We had a variety of suggestions about how the Open Question Argument might go. I think at this point, we have to leave the encyclopedia and look both at Moore’s own text as well as those of the naturalists he was criticizing. For example, I don’t read Bentham as saying that “is pleasurable” means the same thing as “is good.” I read him as saying, roughly, that all of the things that people call good are ones that produce pleasure. That is evidence that pleasure is what is ultimately good. I think there was a tendency in analytic ethics to assimilate everyone else’s projects to their own, highly linguistic way of thinking about things.
We read parts of three entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy