‘Ought’ and ‘Can’

R. M. Hare

in Freedom and Reason

Published in print June 1965 | ISBN: 9780198810926
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597589 | DOI:
 ‘Ought’ and ‘Can’

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Discusses the thesis that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. A sense in which ‘ought’ implies ‘can’ is developed in kinship to remarks by Strawson on the existential presuppositions of definite descriptions. The question of what it is about the human situation that gives rise to the need for a prescriptively charged language leads to a discussion of the problem of freedom of will. It is argued that our requirement for a prescriptive vocabulary is explained by our having free will.

Keywords: ought implies can; freedom of will; prescriptivism

Chapter.  5690 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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