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INFERENCE

3.4.2 Now this programme is from the start misconceived. A statement, however
loosely it is bound to the facts, cannot answer a question of the form 'What shall I do?';
only a command can do this. Therefore, if we insist that moral judgements are nothing
but loose statements of fact, we preclude them from fulfilling their main function; for
their main function is to regulate conduct, and they can do this only if they are
interpreted in such a way as to have imperative or prescriptive force. Since I am not
concerned here with moral judgements as such, I shall leave till later the question 'How
is the prescriptive force of moral judgements related to the descriptive function which
they also normally have?' I am concerned here with the more fundamental problem of
what sorts of reasoning can have as their end-product answers to questions of the form
'What shall I do?' It is clear that until we have clarified this more fundamental problem,
we shall not be able to say much about the prescriptive force of moral judgements. Here
it will suffice to show why, although prescription and description may be combined in
the same judgement, description is not and never can be prescription. In other words, I
am going to give reasons for holding that by no form of inference, however loose, can
we get an answer to the question 'What shall I do?' out of a set of premisses which do
not contain, at any rate implicitly, an imperative.