dedicated to Aristotle & science/faith blogging:
This post – in less overtly philosophical language…
We can talk about what something factually is and we can also talk about what it is worth. Science can tell us factually what a foetus is, but not what it is worth.
We can talk about the way things ‘do’ behave, and we can also talk about the way things should behave. Science can tell us the way a rapist behaves, but not that rapists should not rape.
Whilst a quantitative ontology is perfectly useful for scientific study, only a qualitative ontology can make the necessary (qualitative) value judgments that form the foundation of ethics. Even the ‘obvious’ idea that suffering is ‘bad’ is a qualitative (‘bad’) ontological (‘is’) statement.
And whilst a descriptive teleology is wonderful for observing how things ‘do’ tend to behave, only a prescriptive teleology can provide goals against which actions can be said to be ethical or not. The observation that rapists ‘do’ tend to have forceful sex is a descriptive (‘do’) teleological (‘tend to’) statement. But only a prescriptive teleology can establish goals with which rape can be said to be inconsistent.