From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In meta-ethics, the is-ought problem was articulated by David Hume (Scottish philosopher and historian, 1711–1776), who noted that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. However, Hume found that there seems to be a significant difference between descriptive statements (about what is) and prescriptive or normative statements (about what ought to be), and it is not obvious how we can get from making descriptive statements to prescriptive.
A similar (though distinct) view is defended by G. E. Moore's open question argument, intended to refute any identification of moral properties with natural properties. This so-called naturalistic fallacy is contrasted by the views of ethical naturalists.
- Fact-value distinction
- Naturalistic fallacy
- Best of all possible worlds
- Situational ethics
- Normative economics / Positive economics