One thing that phrasing the is/ought question as Hume did (see previous) *accomplishes*, is to put your thoughts upon the path that the modernists now habitually travel, which is the means for getting away with asserting causeless causes, as they've done since following down the pathway of thinking that Descartes first put them on, and the effect that's had has been in reducing the pre-modern understanding of causation, down & away from the four open ended causes of Aristotle's approach, towards the two dead-ended materialistic 'answers', which are what make it exceedingly easier to fake facts, than it is to fake & violate principles.
However counter-intuitive that may seem, you can check it for yourself by borrowing one from the playbook of our sophistical college professors:
See what I mean? No?
- Is it easier to imagine flaming grass and ice that sinks, or married bachelors and four sided triangles?
I'm betting that you had no problem imagining the fake facts of the first items - like ice sinking - than attempting to fake a concept and principle (or did you somehow visualize a four-sided triangle?). And if you continue on down that path, as college professors have been teaching their students to for well over a century, you quickly and easily begin not only incorporating the ability to fake facts as needed into your thinking, but the person who's (unwittingly) practiced at it, will find it the simplest of things to go along with the faking of observable facts (or perhaps you missed the whole 'Masks are useless/You must wear masks!/No one forced anyone to wear masks' episode of the Covid years'?).
Well, without getting epistemologically ahead of ourselves (that's for future posts), what that question acquires its 'legitimacy' through, is the Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy (be very wary of it), and it's been used as a key tool of professional Sophists (AKA: College Professors) for at least a century now, to get students to question, doubt, and abandon, what had been their deepest convictions, as well as their ability to understand and reasonably support their beliefs. The first thing to point out about it, is that the pose, that there is a 'Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy', is itself a lie. There's no such thing. What that is, is a single concept or fact or principle, juxtaposed with a composite of numerous other concepts, facts, and/or principles, with one or more falsehoods embedded into them, with which they then equivocate upon as if it were simply another individual fact/concept/principle.
To be 'fair', the name and cursory description of 'Analytic/Synthetic' hints at that being what it is, the forming together of multiple concepts, facts, and/or principles, but that is admitted to only on the surface (surprise), and having cursorily said so, they go on to use the reference as a means of not only invalidating the composite concepts (which is what makes our ability to think so powerful), but as a means of separating you and your mind, from reality, and from that ultimate composite: Truth.
Make no mistake, if you were to isolate the essentials of the false concept of ice sinking under normal contexts, that would be every bit as unimaginable as a four-sided triangle or an married bachelor (another favorite example of theirs), but by artfully phrasing it as they do, they get away with epstimecide ( to turn one of their own terms against them: the murder of sound thinking), as easy as pie.
What a proper understanding and application of Aristotle's four causes would provide (and quickly expose and banish the Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy ploy), even with the more material matters, Ice, for instance, is a means of closely securing your conceptual understanding of a physical variable, to its identity, and how and why they behave as they do within a given context, and that attention to the relation between immaterial concept and physical reality to reveal the principles by which they are properly understood, which makes it logically difficult to arbitrarily treat them as ludicrous as imagining ice that sinks or a four-sided triangle. And when viewed in that light, the suggestion to use an invalid images, to guide legitimate reasoning, begins to reveal something disturbing in the request.
By simply neglecting and ignoring that pre-modern approach to understanding what you know, your knowledge and thinking quickly becomes conceptually anorexic and incapable of facing up to the rigors of reality, and the conceptual muddle you are left with to take notice of, becomes painfully easy to populate your 'imagination' with appearances only, as if thinking were nothing more than a process for scribbling out mental cartoons, where one shape labeled 'ice', is able to 'sink' into other shapes labeled 'water', and in your absence of awareness of those facts, concepts, and principles that are and should be every bit as impossible to 'imagine' as a four-sided triangle, you and your mind becomes separated from what is real, and true, and beautiful, and right.
Notice that this is not at all the same thing as engaging the imagination by asking listeners to imagine sinking ice or impossible geometry in the service of a story - not at all. That's not the case or the intent of the Sophist who'd request you to 'imagine' unimaginable falsehoods as legitimate standards and landmarks of an 'educated' mode of thinking; they do so as a means of destabilizing your ability to think coherently, with the intent to separate your understanding, from reality, so that the sophist can 'have their way' with you. By that means of drilling such an absence of true thinking into the thoughts in our modern minds, it becomes exceedingly easy to imagine even your own actions, as being the thoughtless reactions of a purely material body pinballing through the environment. In that scenario, your thinking is easily deformed into a manner where 'you' and your 'thoughts', become meaningless side-effects of that process, and in accepting that, modern minds find themselves easily taking the final step of denying what actually is materially causeless: Free Will, unaware that even the thought of 'you', has been taken from you.
FWIW, that's not a process of 'enlightenment', but one of endarkenment. See The News, for further reference.
If you aren't seeing how this issue of IS's & Oughts matters to your life, then consider how the modern and pre-modern views of human beings might affect your ability to live your life in society. Prior to modernity, the prudent person understood causation and the nature of being human well enough to seek to mitigate the volatility of choice & chance in society, through sound education, morality, and placing a high value on sound reasoning. OTOH, for the ideological person of modernity - of both the Left and Right - having philosophically removed 'Free Will' from the identity of human beings, it has become possible and appropriate for them to treat peoples as volatile substances whose reactive behaviors must be managed by 'those who know best', for 'the greater good'.
By willfully blurring or ignoring those differences and limitations that are involved in asking 'what causes that?', we're led to assume more (and less) than what can actually be known about both material and immaterial matters, which swerves us all further away from the company of Sophia, and into a more disreputable association with the Turtle Lady, and worse, those who prefer to pretend that their thoughts and doubts about how they think that reality should be, are more real and certain than what is in reality true.
Once we begin to allow, or ignore, such sophistries being gotten away with, ever more choices become just as easily explained by, and blamed upon, the environment, and as nothing is or can be truly known in such a world as that, no one can be held responsible for anything, and anything goes. That is the substance and root of our modern state of Demoralization (see Yuri Bezmenov's interviews on this), and there is no better way for those who desire power over a people, to attain it, than by having that people believe in what gives those who seek to impose their power upon them, a clear pathway to doing just that, and no clearer pathway is imaginable, than having those people believe that there is no right, no wrong, and no credible cause for believing that there is or should be such 'beliefs'.
By having been armed with such metaphysical views, including this corruption of causality, statements such as these from the guru of 'white fragility', Robin Diangelo, 'make sense' to those thinking their thoughts with those habits and beliefs:
One lesson that we can and should learn from this, is that the more we know about what the identity of something is - is that an orange billiard ball, or an orange, or an egg that's been dyed orange - the more we are able to know about how such objects will interact in relation to, or collision with, each other. But just as importantly, the more you realize what you don't actually know, the more likely it is that you will be better able to understand what you do know, and so won't end up with egg on your face when everyone else finds out that you didn't actually know, what you only thought you knew. What a familiarity with metaphysics promotes, is the mindset that what is, is real, and that what you imagine reality might be, should not be mistaken for being what it actually is.
- All white people benefit from racism, regardless of intentions; intentions are irrelevant.
- No one here chose to be socialized into racism (so no one is “bad’). But no one is neutral – to not act against racism is to support racism.
- Racism must be continually identified, analyzed and challenged; no one is ever done
- The question is not ”did racism take place”? but rather “how did racism manifest in that situation?...”
Given how this has developed in modernity, it's important to add that the knowledge we have of the nature and causes of such matters, goes deeper than those sequential occurrences which might 'cause' us to associate one event, with another, because they occurred in sequence (ala David Hume's assertions about and the sun rising in the day following night or billiard balls rolling after being struck).
For now, I'll close with a reminder that Metaphysics is about paying attention to what it is you are thinking about, and with, and noting distinctions that bring clarity to your thought and understanding, and there are dire and deadly consequences that are caused by habitually ignoring the nature of causation and the variety of causes in our lives, I've already gone into here. You don't need to become a scientist or a philosopher to study metaphysics, but if you want to have a better and more complete understanding of what is going on around you, or of what is sweeping you away through your ignorance of it, you should develop a basic understanding of the subject.
The human mind which you are graced with, is far too powerful for you to remain safely ignorant of its identity, causes, and effects, and after all, with great power comes great responsibility, right?