The Shapiro Is-Ought Problem

 
lancedolan
 
Avatar
 
 
lancedolan
Total Posts:  8
Joined  22-07-2017
 
 
 
11 January 2018 02:51
 

Since the podcast with Shapiro, I believe Sam must have gotten some flack for not agreeing on the is-ought problem.
Sam posted this on facebook, defending how “is” causes an “ought”:
https://www.facebook.com/Samharrisorg/posts/10156292614811015

It reminded me immediately of Sam’s belief that morality is objective. It has blown me away to see somebody so carefully intellectual make apparent ontological mistakes. I recognize it could be me making the mistakes. It’s caused me to question my own position quite a bit, and even to write an essay a couple years ago to help me criticize myself. I wasn’t able to find any reason to change my position.

So, I couldn’t help but produce this video in response to Sam’s facebook post today. Perhaps some of you might be interested as well smile
https://youtu.be/rO4aCtKbnf8

Feel free to share your own thoughts, provided you can do so with common courtesies, heh.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
Avatar
 
 
Nhoj Morley
Total Posts:  5622
Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
11 January 2018 04:57
 

There is no need to duplicate your thread.

 
rixross
 
Avatar
 
 
rixross
Total Posts:  1
Joined  10-01-2018
 
 
 
11 January 2018 05:51
 

Maybe you address this in your video (unfortunately don’t have 30 minutes to spare ATM), but how is Sam’s take on the Is/Ought problem and morality being objective contradictory?

The Is/Ought problem seems silly to me. First of all, “ought” only makes sense when you’re referring to a rational actor, which is why we don’t waste time discussing the morality of rocks and chairs. “Ought” also only makes sense in relation to some kind of goal. If you’re going to tell me I “ought” to accept some position based on the evidence, what you’re really saying is I ought to do so IF I WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH.

The issue has never been with what we “ought” to do to achieve some particular end, that’s relatively simple. If you understand reality and causation (i.e. what “is”), what you “ought” to do should be apparent. Medicine is a great example of looking at what “is” (biology) and from that determining the proper course of action to achieve a particular goal (staying alive in this instance). The is/ought problem isn’t about what we “ought” to do, it’s about what the end goal of our oughts should be.

The answer to that seems pretty straightforward to me. Sam’s Facebook post is on the right track, but I think he’s missing an important point. He’s correct that it’s self-evident that certain circumstances objectively suck, and therefore an objective morality would tell us to avoid those things. I completely agree, but if our end goal should simply be to avoid a sucky existence, well then the proper “ought” is pretty obvious, kill yourself. Sam isn’t advocating that so clearly he thinks that some situations are better than not existing at all, that’s what we “ought” to be seeking.