Chapter

‘Ought’

H. A. Prichard

in Moral Writings

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250196
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598265 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199250197.003.0017

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 ‘Ought’

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Prichard's topic here is the nature of ‘ought’. If we were to take ‘I ought to will x’ to be equivalent to ‘my willing x ought to exist’, then it is true that ‘If I were to will a certain change x, my willing x would be something that ought to exist.’ For this to hold, either my willing x would itself be something good or my willing x would cause something good (and so be something that ought to exist). Prichard, however, rejects this view on the grounds that one cannot know, in willing x to exist, whether one's willing x is something that ought to exist. One can only know that if one were to will x, one would be willing something that one thought ought to exist.

Keywords: cause; good; ought; thought; will; willing

Chapter.  917 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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