The is/ought problem

1 minutes

Ought we accept Hume’s severing of any connection between ‘is’ and ‘ought’?

How do you decide whether you ought to do something? Chances are you’ve employed statements about how things are or have been as the basis for making a judgment call. The 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume forcefully argued against this approach. According to ‘Hume’s law’, also known as the ‘is/ought problem’, determining what you ought to do based on what is represents a logical mistake because there’s a gap that reason cannot bridge between the facts of the world and the values you might espouse.

Video by BBC Radio 4 and The Open University

Script: Nigel Warburton

Animator: Andrew Park

Video/Earth Science

How an Earth science outsider finally put the Pangea puzzle together

8 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Astronomy

Finding alien life raises huge ethical questions. Finding we’re alone does, too

6 minutes

Video/Knowledge

Models are always imperfect, and the ones we choose greatly shape our experience

3 minutes

Essay/Political Philosophy

Join the party of love

Love is not just a feeling given or received, it is an action too. It could be a radical force in politics

Max Harris

Idea/History of Ideas

When philosophy needed Muslims, Jews and Christians alike

Peter Adamson

Video/Beauty & Aesthetics

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest rectangle of them all?

2 minutes

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Idea/Ethics

Are human rights anything more than legal conventions?

John Tasioulas

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/History of Ideas

What is good rhetoric?

Plato said we ought to be suspicious of persuasive speakers and the appeal to emotions. But rhetoric can be a civic good

Tushar Irani

Video/Values & Beliefs

How a millionaire traded his wealth for happiness – and a shoeshine box

4 minutes