R. M. Hare

in The Language of Morals

Published in print March 1963 | ISBN: 9780198810773
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597619 | DOI:

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Hare argues that one exception to the rule that no imperative conclusion can validly be drawn from premises that do not contain at least one imperative are ‘hypothetical imperatives’ because their content, though of an imperative, is that of a statement implicit in the premises. He then argues that no ethical theory can be a ‘Cartesian’ moral system, i.e. consist of particular duties derived from self‐evident principles alone. Finally, three arguments are given why description can never be prescription, and thus that no imperative can be inferred from indicative alone.

Keywords: description; hypothetical imperative; imperatives; indicatives; inference; prescription

Chapter.  8480 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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