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Naturalistic fallacy

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So this guy named Hume (1739) said you can't deduce an ought statement from a statement with no ought in the premises because valid deductive arguments can only contain in their conclusions components that are fully supported in their premises. That is 100% correct. 

People confuse this with all sorts of things. They will say you can't derive an is from an ought, you can't get an is from an ought, and so forth. And then they will confuse the "naturalistic fallacy" which was put forth by Moore (1903) with Hume. They're not the same thing. There's more sophisticated contemporary notions, however, in which the gap is reconstituted to be ontological or semantic, say, rather than logical.

Moore proceeds by looking at the way terms are commonly used in arguments as opposed to the actual definition of the terms. He claims that calling some thing X a good X is a fallacy because goodness does not refer to the properties of anything. He concludes that goodness is an undefinable and sui generis. He does this by way of the open question argument (OQA.)

As best as I can charitably interpret, the second one (naturalistic fallacy fallacy) is trying to get at is that is-ought gap and naturalistic fallacy aren't fallacies, so invoking them is itself a fallacy. I guess. But I would personally wouldn't employ the "fallacy fallacy" strategy. I would rather point out it's just hand wavey from people who have generally never actually read Hume and Moore and don't really know what the arguments are.

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So this guy named Hume (1739) said you can't deduce an ought statement from a statement with no ought in the premises because valid deductive arguments can only contain in their conclusions components that are fully supported in their premises. That is 100% correct.

P) A clock is a device used to measure, keep, and indicate time.

C) A clock ought to keep the time.

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The Utilitarian and Skeptics are the prevailing theme. The section on Ethical Objectivism managed to omit any reference to Ayn Rand.

How could they not? Their entire conception of objectivity is Kantian:

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If we reject the view that ethical values are objective non-natural facts existing in a transcendental realm, the alternative is to view them as subjective facts of our evolved psychology.

 

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40 minutes ago, ppw said:

How could they not? Their entire conception of objectivity is Kantian:

 

With the "anti-naturalistic fallacy" referenced in the OP, it too transcends ease of understanding.

Double fallacy (the fallacy fallacy), akin to two wrongs make a right. Another double negative: falsely declaring the inference invalid, inferring that the inference is valid.

Was being understood Kant's objective?

 

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1 hour ago, ppw said:

How could they not? Their entire conception of objectivity is Kantian:

 

Wasn't that quote not actually about objectivity, but instead about intrincism?

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14 hours ago, ppw said:

P) A clock is a device used to measure, keep, and indicate time.

C) A clock ought to keep the time.

This is not a moral ought. The most cited part of Hume's Treatise of Human Nature regarding is-ought is titled "Of Morals." The general form of a moral ought is 'Some human ought to do or not do X.'

Edited by merjet
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17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

The Utilitarian and Skeptics are the prevailing theme. The section on Ethical Objectivism managed to omit any reference to Ayn Rand.

I should have tagged this as tongue-in-cheek, ppw.

Ayn Rand's is/ought derivation was an induction, not a deduction.

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2 hours ago, ppw said:

Thanks, Greg. I don't think even Wikipedia knows what the is-ought problem is. "Statements about what is on the basis of statements about what ought to be." It's reversed!

Huh? "The is–ought problem, as articulated by the Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume, arises when a writer makes claims about what ought to be that are based solely on statements about what is" (link). 

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On 11/15/2020 at 7:15 AM, ppw said:

I mean, are you guys just going to keep switching contexts, or what?

What are you trying to understand? What about the previous responses is missing that you're trying to figure out? 

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14 hours ago, ppw said:

"Statements about what is on the basis of statements about what ought to be." 

Your quote matches 14 words of the following exactly minus a comma.

"Moralistic fallacy – inferring factual conclusions from evaluative premises, in violation of fact-value distinction; e.g. making statements about what is, on the basis of claims about what ought to be. This is the inverse of the naturalistic fallacy." (link).

 

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On 11/16/2020 at 9:13 PM, Eiuol said:

What are you trying to understand? What about the previous responses is missing that you're trying to figure out? 

I was trying to reach an objective definition of this batch of fallacies, and I'm finding it very difficult because of all the rationalism involved in the sources. I was hoping someone else already had it figured out.

The only way to make these fallacies 'work', in my conclusion, is to take nature as existence apart from man as the definition, and then observe the fact-value distinction with that in mind:

Moral statements cannot be derived from facts in nature. To do so is to commit the naturalistic fallacy.

Nature cannot be morally evaluated (based on Pinker's examples) and moral sentiment does not determine facts of nature (based on Wikipedia's examples). To do either is to commit the moralistic fallacy.

The anti-naturalistic fallacy, and even Frankena's 'definist fallacy' in this context evaporate, so I'm dismissing them.

As for is-ought: I'm not ready to deal with that yet. I file 'application of a moral principle' under 'deduction', maybe that's a problem.

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15 hours ago, ppw said:

I was trying to reach an objective definition of this batch of fallacies, and I'm finding it very difficult because of all the rationalism involved in the sources.

Are you asking about what specifically the error these fallacies commit? Or are you disputing that they are actually fallacies? 

15 hours ago, ppw said:

Moral statements cannot be derived from facts in nature. To do so is to commit the naturalistic fallacy.

This is an incorrect understanding of the naturalistic fallacy. 2046 explained why. William clarified.

 

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That's not an understanding of the naturalistic fallacy as put forth by Moore, who argues that the concept of the good is irreducible. What you quoted was my re-definition. (I had hoped to make that clear.)

Otherwise I have to throw them all out, because none of them are valid. They just represent a battle between two kinds of intrinsicism; "ethical intuitionism" and "ethical naturalism".

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Here's a haphazard way of approaching it.

Ethics Explainer: Naturalistic Fallacy

Main take-away: The naturalistic fallacy is an informal logical fallacy which argues that if something is ‘natural’ it must be good. It is closely related to the is/ought fallacy – when someone tries to infer what ‘ought’ to be done from what ‘is’.

Naturalistic fallacy: (Wikipedia entry. Doesn't hone in on O.P.)

Moral Non-Naturalism (Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The naturalistic fallacy is very poorly named indeed (a point also made by Bernard Williams; see Williams 1985: 121–122). For not only is it not especially a problem for naturalists, it is also not really a fallacy even if Moore is right that it embodies a mistake of some kind. For it is highly uncharitable to charge anyone who advances the sorts of arguments to which Moore alludes as having committed a logical fallacy. Rather, charity demands that we interpret such arguments as enthymematic, and usually this is easy enough.

New term (to me): enthymematic

enthymematic, (Wikipedia entry)

A syllogism consists of the following:

Major Premise
Minor Premise
Conclusion

entheymematic: a syllogism missing one of these three components.

Naturalistic fallacy|ethics|Britannica

Fallacy of treating the term “good” (or any equivalent term) as if it were the name of a natural property.

. . .

The gist, to me so far, is being "natural" is the good. There are problems introduced. Not cited, but contained in the links—from Ethics Explainer:

The naturalistic fallacy looks like this:

  1. Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed children.
  2. Therefore, mothers ought to breastfeed their children and ought not to use baby formula (because it is unnatural).

This is a fallacy. We act against nature all the time – with vaccinations, electricity, medicine – many of which are ethical. Lots of things that are natural are good, but not all unnatural things are unethical. This is what the naturalistic fallacy argues.

One of the problems with this latter (since the . . . ) is the treatment of man-made grasps and their implementations as "acts against nature".

 

 

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