, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 571–580 | Cite as

Problems with Searle’s Derivation?



In his paper, “How to Derive ‘Ought’ From ‘Is,’” John R. Searle made a valiant attempt to derive an ought-statement from purely descriptive statements. In a recent issue of Philosophia, Scott Hill has offered criticisms of that proposed derivation. I argue that Hill has not established any errors in Searle's proposed derivation.


Descriptive statement Evaluative statement Hill, Scott Is/Ought distinction Searle’s derivation of “ought” from “is” 


  1. Hill, S. (2008). ’Is’-‘Ought’ derivations and ethical taxonomies. Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 36(4), 545–556.Google Scholar
  2. Maitzen, S. (2008). Anti-autonomism defended: a reply to Hill. Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 36(4), 569.Google Scholar
  3. Searle, J. R. (1964). How to derive ‘Ought’ from ‘Is’. The Philosophical Review, 73(1), 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Searle, J. R. (1969). Speech acts: an essay in the philosophy of language (p. 188). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Wilkins, B. T. (1970). The ‘Is’-‘Ought’ controversy. Ethics, 80(2), 162–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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