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Is Ought

The is-ought fallacy occurs when the assumption is made that because things are a certain way, they should be that way. It can also consist of the assumption that because something is not now occurring, this means it should not occur. In effect, this fallacy asserts that the status quo should be maintained simply for its own sake. It seeks to make a value of a fact or to derive a moral imperative from the description of a state of affairs.

Examples:

  1. We do not currently regulate the amount of nicotine in an individual cigarette; therefore we need not do this.
  2. If nature does not make it, we shouldn't have it.
  3. We've always had Bonfire, so we always should.
  4. The Electoral College is specified in the Constitution, so we can't do away with it.
  5. Of course homosexuality is immoral. You don't see any animals doing that.
  6. It's totally natural to have many sexual partners. Go with it.
  7. Oh, Larry, why are you so upset about my cheating on the exam? I saw an article saying 70% of college students admit to cheating. I think it's to be expected that people will do whatever it takes to get what they want. So, people should do what they have to do.
  8. The simple fact is that war is good for mankind, since the tendency to conflict is a human instinct.
  9. Why do you argue about whether abortion is moral? It's legal isn't it?