Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two applications of 'ought implies can'?

First application:
1. God ought to exist.
2. So, God can exist. (Ought implies can)
3. So, God exists. (By Ontological Argument)

Second:
4. It's an evil for a person to die.
5. If naturalism is true, people can't live forever.
6. Evils ought not be there.
7. So, people ought not die.
8. So, people can live forever. (Ought implies can)
9. So, naturalism is not true.

In the second argument, for 5 to be true, the "can" must be stronger than metaphysical possibility. Thus that argument requires a stronger ought implies can principle.

All that said, I am sceptical of 1 and 7. An impersonal "ought" not addressed to any person is weird.

The core of the second argument, however, can perhaps be rescued:
10. It's an evil for a person to die.
11. What is normal for a kind of being is not an evil.
12. If naturalism is true, it's normal for people to die.
13. So, if naturalism is true, it's not an evil for a person to die.
14. So, naturalism is not true.

1 comment:

Steven Dillon said...

Interesting arguments. Do you think could is weaker than can? If so, then you might be able to argue that ought implies could, etc