Texas State University Logo

Latest Philosophy Site Updates

Texas State Links

Join the Conversation

adjust type sizemake font smallermake font largerreset font size

Ought Is

The ought-is fallacy occurs when you assume that the way you want things to be is the way they are. This is also called wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is believing what you want to be true no matter the evidence or without evidence at all, or assuming something is not true, because you do not want it to be so.

Examples:

  1. Angels do exist. It makes me feel better to think they are with me, so I'm justified in saying they are.
  2. I don't care what all those studies say, I believe that capital punishment deters criminals.
  3. I just know that Al Gore won the 2000 election, so George W. Bush is not my president.
  4. I know Henry has been missing for two years, but the thought of him being dead is unbearable. So, I know he is alive and we will find him.
  5. I know there is God. Life would be meaningless otherwise.
  6. I know I got that job because nobody deserves it more than I do. I work hard and do the right things.
  7. Of course, the soul is immortal. If it were not, then we would all be mere specks of dust in cosmic time.
  8. Jason is alive. He must be. He is my son.
  9. Is evil an inherent quality of the world? How could it be? What a wretched place this earth would be if it were.