Journal of Religion, Culture & Democracy
The moral innovators whom C. S. Lewis criticized in The Abolition of Man supposed that they could draw imperatives out of their superior understanding of sentiment and instinct. They assumed that to know what human beings want to do is to know what human beings should do. But people want to do all sorts of things that are irrational, pointless, harmful, and even downright evil. And people want inconsistent things. So the innovators are incoherent. As Lewis correctly affirmed, no amount of knowledge about nature or the world is sufficient by itself to direct us to do what is good and right. “From propositions about fact alone no practical conclusion can ever be drawn,” Lewis stated. To reason well, expertise is not enough. We must also know what is good, and we must be capable of exercising right judgment.
Adam J. MacLeod, Is, Ought, and the Limited Competence of Experts, Journal of Religion, Culture & Democracy (online) 1 (December 6, 2023).