Skepticism about Ought Simpliciter

Derek Clayton BAKER

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32 Citations (Scopus)


There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, this chapter defends the view that the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter comes with preposterous first-order normative commitments. It is more reasonable to reject the ought simpliciter in favor of the form of normative pluralism advocated in Tiffany (2007).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford studies in metaethics
EditorsRuss Shafer-Landau
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages230 - 252
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780198823858
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • senses of ought
  • all-things-considered ught
  • deliberative ought
  • moral ought
  • normative pluralism
  • morality
  • prudence


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