FAITH AND GOODNESS: A REPLY TO HOCUTT
Professor Hocutt and I agree that David Hume first pointed out that “ought”—what should be done—cannot be derived from “is”—what is the case. Hocutt goes on to claim that “ought,” in fact, derives from factual observation of “what we care about,” which amounts to saying “you should do what you want to do.” This seems to me unsatisfactory as moral philosophy.
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James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience
Until my retirement in 2007, my laboratory did experimental research on learning and adaptive behavior, mostly with animals: pigeons, rats, fish, parakeets. We were particularly interested in timing and memory, feeding regulation, habituation and the ways in which pigeons and rats adapt to reward schedules. The aim is to arrive at simple models for learning that can help to identify the underlying neural mechanisms. I continue to do theoretical and historical work on the power law in