And where do objective oughts come from? Nature doesn't care about "oughts" and "shoulds". We assign shoulds to things. How can the should be objective? Why is, for instance, "you should not steal" moral and not "you should steal"? Aren't they two sides of the same coin? Mere opposites? Someone claiming "you should steal" feels that's what should be done as per their goal. Why should their goal not be valued? Why should the goal that concludes one should not steal be valued, and not its opposite?

  • Downvoting because the question misrepresents the is-ought gap as a philosophical problem. The question can be improved by just asking where morals come from. And is a duplicate of several questions on this site which are better phrased.
    – tkruse
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


About 56% (https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl) of academic philosophers are moral realists (i.e. they believe in some way or another that there are morals), which means that at the very least solutions to the is/ought challenge are respectable; it's definitely not a done deal.

There are, however, many different ways philosophers arrive at this conclusion. First off, some philosophers take the "oughts" for granted when arguing their normative frameworks. For example, there's an interpretation of Kant's deontology that sees Kant as taking one "ought" for granted: the value of autonomous human beings.

Another way philosophers can answer these kind of challenges is to do exactly what Hume asks of them, that is, to explain how they get from statements of fact to normative statements. An example of this can be found with the divine command theorists, who take what's moral to necessarily follow from the nature of the deity they believe in, quite handily providing a source for morals that exist in whatever ontological way they propose.

These are a couple I can highlight, but a really thorough explanation of different meta-ethical positions - the whole article addresses this, but the is/ought problem is specifically addressed here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaethics/#IsOOpeQueArg

There's also this: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-realism/

And this reddit post (knowing the source it probably only will link you to more sources like I've done, but it'll get you on the right track): https://www.reddit.com/r/AskPhilosophyFAQ/comments/hkyjkx/is_there_any_solution_to_humes_isought_problem/

Hope this helps!


The is-ought gap is not a philosophic problem, but a logical fallacy. It is "solved" by not making that fallacy. Same as for all other known logical fallacies.

Morals that are objectively accepted by consensus can be derived from written scripture. If you are inclined to believe such things, they can be decided by gods.

Relative morals can be derived by pure reason, using e.g. the golden rule.

Objective morals cannot be logically derived from anything, or at least no such approach is successful in philosophy so far.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .