Tag Archives: naturalistic fallacy

Matt Ridley

[N]o moral conclusions of any kind can be drawn from evolution. The asymmetry in prenatal sexual investment between the genders is a fact of life, not a moral outrage. It is “natural.” It is terribly tempting, as human beings, to embrace such an evolutionary scenario because it “justifies” a prejudice in favor of male philandering, or to reject it because it “undermines” the pressure for sexual equality. But it does neither. It says absolutely nothing about what is right and wrong. I am trying to describe the nature of humans, not prescribe their morality. That something is natural does not make it right. […] Evolution does not lead to Utopia. It leads to a land in which what is best for one man may be the worst for another man, or what is the best for a woman may be the worst for a man. One or the other will be condemned to an “unnatural” fate.

Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, New York, 1993, pp. 180-181

David Schmitt

If men do possess psychological design features that reliably lead to higher levels of sociosexuality, this would in no way justify their unrestricted sexual behaviour in a moral sense. Such a conclusion would be the result of faulty reasoning known as the “naturalistic fallacy” or “because something is (natural), it ought to be.” There are myriad examples of unpleasant behaviors that are to some degree natural, in that they probably occurred with some frequency over our evolutionary history (e.g., high child mortality, intergroup conflict, perhaps even warfare). Just because something is natural does not justify it. Instead, understanding the way that a behavior is natural—especially the underlying psychological adaptations that give rise to the behaviour—may help to control the behaviour if that is what a culture decides is preferable. Indeed, increasing our scientific knowledge about the theoretical links between culture and sexuality may prove crucial to alleviating the public health problems of overpopulation, reproductive dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, and—seemingly at the heart of most health concerns—gender inequity.

David Schmitt, ‘Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation Study of Sex, Culture, and Strategies of Human Mating’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 28, no. 2 (2005), p. 271

Rodolfo Mondolfo

De la palabra naturaleza puede observarse lo que Hegel señalaba para la expresión derecho de naturaleza, a saber: que se presenta en la historia de la filosofía como un vocablo equívoco que confunde los dos significados muy diversos de realidad inmediata y de término de aspiración ideal. Los cínicos han sido los primeros en fundar sobre la mal definida noción de lo natural las dos nociones de lo primitivo y de lo ejemplar, de lo originario y de lo ideal, de lo inicial y de lo final.

Rodolfo Mondolfo, Rousseau y la conciencia moderna, Buenos Aires, 1962, pp. 19-20