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Naturalistic Fallacy

 
 
Ray
 
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 11:28 pm
I'm confused about some aspect of this concept.

Naturalistic fallacy is the error in an argument when a value conclusion is derived with no value premises.

Logic requires that for a conclusion A, a premise A must be present, so that you can not get the conclusion A out of nothing. Therefore, when reaching a prescriptive statement, a factual premise alone does not logically give a value statement because a value premise must be present in the reasoning to that statement. My question is, what exactly is "value"? and do moral systems consist of some sort of fact(first principle...) to support it? Is there "facts" behind values?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,108 • Replies: 18
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 11:45 pm
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Ray wrote:
Naturalistic fallacy is the error in an argument when a value conclusion is derived with no value premises.


This isn't a good definition of the naturalistic fallacy, though it does describe some of them.

In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.

e.g.

"This herb is natural and is a better treatment for your cancer than those chemicals they give you".

The unsubstantiated premise is that "natural" = better than "unnatural".

More examples:

"Homosexual sex is wrong because it is not a part of natural procreation."

"Cloning is unnatural and should be banned."
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 08:04 am
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Ray wrote:
Naturalistic fallacy is the error in an argument when a value conclusion is derived with no value premises.

No, that's not what the naturalistic fallacy is.

Craven de Kere wrote:
In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.

No, that isn't it either (although it can be an example of it).

Admittedly, many people think that the naturalistic fallacy is an "is-ought" fallacy (it isn't). G.E. Moore was the first one to come up with something that he called the "naturalistic fallacy" in his Principia Ethicasource). So, for instance, if one were to say "pleasure is good," it would (according to Moore) be a fallacy to say "this thing that gives me pleasure is good." That's because Moore believed that, ultimately, "good" is indefinable, so equating "good" with anything would be to commit a fallacy of ascribing to the whole one of its attributes.
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Ray
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 03:58 pm
Wow thanks for the explanation.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 05:26 pm
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
joefromchicago wrote:

Craven de Kere wrote:
In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.

No, that isn't it either (although it can be an example of it).


Yes, it is.

Moore on the naturalistic fallacy wrote:
the supposition that good can be defined by reference to a natural object
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2005 08:20 am
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Craven de Kere wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:

Craven de Kere wrote:
In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.

No, that isn't it either (although it can be an example of it).


Yes, it is.

Moore on the naturalistic fallacy wrote:
the supposition that good can be defined by reference to a natural object

Ah, grasshopper, you have still failed to snatch the pebble. I've read Principia Ethica, I've given some serious thought to Moore's ethical theory, and I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp of it. Moore certainly thought that "good" could not be defined by reference to any natural object, but he also believed that it could not be defined by reference to any unnatural object either. As he explained in section 10 of the Principia:
    It may be true that all things which are good are [i]also[/i] something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light. And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were actually defining good; that these properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and entirely the same with goodness. This view I propose to call the "naturalistic fallacy" and of it I shall now endeavour to dispose.
So, in other words, Moore is not defining the naturalistic fallacy an "is-ought" problem (as you erroneously claimed above), but rather as a problem of defining what is, for Moore, something indefinable.
0 Replies
 
John Jones
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2005 01:16 pm
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
joefromchicago wrote:
Craven de Kere wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:

Craven de Kere wrote:
In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.

No, that isn't it either (although it can be an example of it).


Yes, it is.

Moore on the naturalistic fallacy wrote:
the supposition that good can be defined by reference to a natural object

Ah, grasshopper, you have still failed to snatch the pebble. I've read Principia Ethica, I've given some serious thought to Moore's ethical theory, and I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp of it. Moore certainly thought that "good" could not be defined by reference to any natural object, but he also believed that it could not be defined by reference to any unnatural object either. As he explained in section 10 of the Principia:
    It may be true that all things which are good are [i]also[/i] something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light. And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were actually defining good; that these properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and entirely the same with goodness. This view I propose to call the "naturalistic fallacy" and of it I shall now endeavour to dispose.
So, in other words, Moore is not defining the naturalistic fallacy an "is-ought" problem (as you erroneously claimed above), but rather as a problem of defining what is, for Moore, something indefinable.


If we remind ourselves that judgements of 'goodness', or what is 'the good' are made and not found, then problems arising from the consideration of properties should not arise.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 09:32 pm
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
joefromchicago wrote:

Ah, grasshopper, you have still failed to snatch the pebble. I've read Principia Ethica, I've given some serious thought to Moore's ethical theory, and I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp of it.


Same here, I have read it twice and the first text you linked to to support your position is text I myself contributed to (though minimally) through wikipedia.

In short, your appeal to authority isn't going to get much mileage with me grasshopper.

Quote:
So, in other words, Moore is not defining the naturalistic fallacy an "is-ought" problem (as you erroneously claimed above), but rather as a problem of defining what is, for Moore, something indefinable.


I did not define it as an is-ought problem.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 07:53 am
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Craven de Kere wrote:
Same here, I have read it twice and the first text you linked to to support your position is text I myself contributed to (though minimally) through wikipedia.

If you have read Principia Ethica twice, then I urge you to read it again. The first two times obviously didn't "take."

Craven de Kere wrote:
I did not define it as an is-ought problem.

Here, in part, is what you wrote:
    In naturalistic fallacies the premise is that what is "natural" is good, without having established that it is actually so.... The unsubstantiated premise is that "natural" = better than "unnatural". More examples: "Homosexual sex is wrong because it is not a part of natural procreation." "Cloning is unnatural and should be banned."
Res ipsa loquitur.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2005 11:37 pm
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
joefromchicago wrote:
Res ipsa loquitur


It may speak for itself, but it apparently says something different to you than me.

I give examples of the most common subset of the fallacy that can demonstrate is-ought, and you see it as having defined it as an is-ought. <shrugs>

At least I learned res ipsa loquitur.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Sep, 2005 07:43 am
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Craven de Kere wrote:
At least I learned res ipsa loquitur.

I suspect you learned something else as well.

No need to thank me.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Sep, 2005 07:48 am
Re: Naturalistic Fallacy
Craven de Kere wrote:
At least I learned res ipsa loquitur.

I suspect you learned something else as well.

No need to thank me.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 01:55 am
Now I'm curious. What?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 07:54 am
Craven de Kere wrote:
Now I'm curious. What?

I see that I may have been a bit too optimistic.
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John Jones
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 12:58 pm
Let me see if I have all this straight. If I call something good then I ascribe a part of something (good) to the whole (the something).
So if I call someone black then I make a mistake by asserting that that's just about everything he can be. So if I want to avoid commiting the naturalist fallcy, I will have to say: "He is black with some occasional lighter bits, and some steamy bits, surrounded by a vest, shoes, oddments, and a career".

I am not finished yet. You will continue to pay attention. Now then, it also seems that Nature is getting some stick here. Why do we not call it the "Scientific fallacy"? Because if I say 'science is good' I can hardly be committing a 'naturalistic fallacy'.

I am still not finished. You will drop whatever else you are doing and read the following. Are we to assume then that a "thing" is the name put to the summation or list of particular properties? or, is a "thing" an indescribable unknowable kernel surrounded by properties? or is a thing a useful description of what we commonly recognise as a particular object and not a collection of properties? Because I think how you describe a thing will also affect the definition of naturalistic fallacy.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 06:13 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Craven de Kere wrote:
Now I'm curious. What?

I see that I may have been a bit too optimistic.


Ahh gotcha, you are still barking up that tree. Rolling Eyes I don't wish to rehash.
0 Replies
 
Ray
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Apr, 2006 11:46 pm
Okay, in this site:

http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/6k.htm

It says that the Naturallistic Fallacy according to Moore, is the attempt to equate good with a natural property. So this view is a form of ethical intuitionism.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 12:01 am
....and there is a detailed analysis of Moores use of "naturalistic" here.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/m/moore.htm

This would tend to support Joe's views above. Craven gives a popularistic interpretation which may be valid within specific usage contexts. In essence, Joe homes in on Moore's philosophical methodology and Craven homes in on Moores de facto impact on ethics which resulted in part by a reinterpretation or indeed a misinterpretation of some of Moores ideas by others, such as the Bloomsbury Group.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 12:49 pm
This may be the first time that fresco has ever said that I was right. We should erect a monument or a plaque or something on this site to commemorate this historic event.
0 Replies
 
 

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