Where Do Oughts Come From?


hey come from our core values. Values comprise the because that links is to ought:

The world is like X, and so we ought to do Y, because we value Z.

Core values are distinct from other kinds of values. Our core values are the bottom-line principles that guide our behavior. They represent those things we hold dear in-and-of-themselves. Because of Hume’s Law, core values cannot be derived through reason. Starting with core values, though, intermediary values can be derived through reason. For example, if you value ice cream cones (a core value) then you should also value ice cream trucks (an intermediary value) because ice cream trucks bring you ice cream cones.

Starting with just a couple of core values, we can use reason to derive a series of intermediary values and to construct an entire moral philosophy. But what about those core values?

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 Posted by on February 23, 2012
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