Article ID: CBB001250831

Is the Naturalistic Fallacy Dead (and If So, Ought It Be?) (2012)


Much of modern moral philosophy argued that there are is's in this world, and there are oughts, but that the two are entirely independent of one another. What this meant was that morality had nothing to do with man's biological nature, and could not be derived from it. Any such attempt was considered to be a categorical mistake, and plain foolish. Most philosophers still believe this, but a growing group of neo-naturalist thinkers are now challenging their assumptions. Here I consider the latest work of one of them, Patricia Churchland, on what neurobiology teaches us about morality, and ask whether her challenge means that the naturalistic fallacy, as it is known, should be laid to rest. I argue that while there may be no such thing as a human trait divorced from human biology, this does not necessarily mean that our natures produce constraints that are relevant to specific moral dilemmas.


Description On neo-naturalist philosophers who are reviving the idea that morality is related to the biological nature of humans.

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Authors & Contributors
Sakura, Osamu
Liao, S. Matthew
Antonella Tramacere
Vidal, Fernando
Young, Allan
Wu, Kevin Chien-Chang
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Science in Context
Science and Education
History of the Human Sciences
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Oxford University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of California Press
Stanford University Press
Rutgers University Press
Philosophy of mind
Definition of human; human nature
Theophrastos of Eresos
Heidegger, Martin
Bunge, Mario
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
18th century
17th century
South Korea
East Asia

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