During a heated argument about social placement resulting from speech, a close friend of mine asked me "WHY should I speak correctly?" The question was an inclination that he wanted to be persuaded by my answer, more so that just asking for a fact on the matter. As I answered him, he started to dismiss my opinions, question everything I posed with a simple phrase: "But if I CHOOSE to speak improperly, and I know I can switch back to proper speach (he tried to make it seem to me he had prior knowledge of more enhanced words that he could use when I know he did not (he is pretty dull)), then shouldn't it not be held against me to do so?"
I disagree with him. If one knows how to speak properly, they should not need to be persuaded into doing so, they should just do so, knowing it is correct and proper to do so.
Can one of you please afford an opinion on this argument.
Yes, issues of speech, morality (and politics) can be rather agitating. Perhaps one way of getting at the issue here is to ask what you mean by "should" when you say "should just do so" and what your friend means by "shouldn't" (and "held against") when he asks with regard to speaking improperly, "shouldn't it not be held against me"? The reason I ask is that philosophers distinguish between what might be called (1) "instrumental" uses of the word "should" and (2) "moral" uses of the word. So, for example, one might say, "To support the load presented by the trucks and cars that drive over it, you should use materials of such and such strength when building the bridge." Or, similarly, "In order to secure your investments, you shouldn't invest in that firm." Or, "In order to cure that disease, you should prescribe this medicine." All these are instrumental uses of the word "should." They're instrumental because they talk about the means that ought to be employed to achieve a certain end. ...