Concept

Open-question argument

Summary
The open-question argument is a philosophical argument put forward by British philosopher G. E. Moore in §13 of Principia Ethica (1903), to refute the equating of the property of goodness with some non-moral property, X, whether natural (e.g. pleasure) or supernatural (e.g. God's command). That is, Moore's argument attempts to show that no moral property is identical to a natural property. The argument takes the form of a syllogism modus tollens: : Premise 1: If X is (analytically equivalent to) good, then the question "Is it true that X is good?" is meaningless. : Premise 2: The question "Is it true that X is good?" is not meaningless (i.e. it is an open question). : Conclusion: X is not (analytically equivalent to) good. The type of question Moore refers to in this argument is an identity question, "Is it true that X is Y?" Such a question is an open question if a conceptually competent speaker can question this;
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