P.D. Magnus (research)

What kind of is-ought gap is there and what kind ought there be?

This paper grew out of a summer reading group and was written in collaboration with Jon Mandle.

Journal of Moral Philosophy 2017, 14(4): 373-393.

Versions available


Some philosophers think that there is a gap between is and ought which necessarily makes normative enquiry a different kind of thing than empirical science. This position gains support from our ability to explicate our inferential practices in a way that makes it impermissible to move from descriptive premises to a normative conclusion. But we can also explicate them in a way that allows such moves. So there is no categorical answer as to whether there is or is not a gap. The question of an is-ought gap is a practical and strategic matter rather than a logical one, and it may properly be answered in different ways for different questions or at different times.


	AUTHOR = {P.D. Magnus and Jon Mandle},
	TITLE = {What kind of is-ought gap is there and what kind ought there be?},
	JOURNAL = {Journal of Moral Philosophy},
	YEAR = {2017},
	DOI = {10.1163/17455243-46810072},
	VOLUME = {14},
	NUMBER = {4},
	PAGES = {373--393}

The first on-line draft of this paper was posted 26aug2014.