A naturalistic fallacy is any case in which someone concludes that something is a moral necessity simply because it is more natural. In this fallacy something considered natural is usually considered good, and something considered unnatural is bad. The main thing is that what is natural is assumed to be moral.
This fallacy is often associated with moral arguments where the claim is supported with positive verbiage. Some of this positive wording might include things like “superior”, “honorable”, “noble”, “pleasant”, or “desired”.
This fallacy is often confused or criticized with the is-ought fallacy. One should be well versed and comfortable with the is-ought fallacy if they wish to have a really good grasp on the naturalistic fallacy. It is also the inverse of the moralistic fallacy, where what is good or right is believed to be inherent or natural.
Naturalistic Fallacy Example
Naturalistic Fallacy Example 1
Argument: “It is noble to sacrifice oneself for their country, therefore those that make this sacrifice are more moral than those that don’t”
Naturalistic Fallacy Example 2
Argument: “Homosexuality is not natural as it is not used for reproduction, therefore it is immoral and homosexuals are bad.”
Naturalistic Fallacy Structure
Because A is natural then B is moral
A is natural and B is unnatural so therefore B is immoral
Naturalistic Fallacy Helpful Links
- Naturalism and naturalistic fallacy in depth discussion from Stanford
- Naturalistic Fallacy Essay
- Naturalistic Fallacy
Naturalistic Fallacy Critique
Some argue that the naturalistic fallacy as described by Moore was not a fallacy at all. Many of the arguments against it boil down to naturalistic proponents against non-naturalistic proponents.
You can read some critiques of the fallacy here: