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Moral Writings$
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H. A. Prichard and Jim MacAdam

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199250197.001.0001

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(p.282) 17. ‘Ought’
Moral Writings

H. A. Prichard

Oxford University Press

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

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