is and ought

Hume famously noted the distinction between factual statements and normative statements. He argued that no matter how hard we try, we can never squeeze and “ought” of a pure “is.” It is a fact that I am 22 years old and we can never arrive a principle about how one is supposed to act towards me simply as a result of this purely factual information.

It doesn’t seem that further scientific research will be any more successful in bridging the is-ought gap. The problem is conceptual in nature. I wonder, however, if we do enough research could we make the is-ought gap obsolete? In other words, given enough understanding of the ‘is’ might we, at some ponit, come to abandon the ‘ought’?

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