The Challenges of
the Naturalistic Fallacy

The biggest problem for the natural or evolutionary basis for ethics is the Naturalistic Fallacy, which is like the Is - Ought Fallacy. In his study of the term "good," the British philosopher G.E. Moore (1873-1958) found that it was a term that was incapable of definition; the term good" was too basic to define with simpler terms.

In attempting to connect ethics with evolution, evolutionary ethics commit a logical error when they attempt to define the term "good."

The fallacy is drawing a conclusion about how things ought to be based on information about how things are in fact. Thus, the Naturalistic Fallacy is committed when Charles Darwin identifies moral "goodness" with "pleasure" or Herbert Spencer identifies it with "highly evolved." "Goodness" is not defined as "pleasure" or "highly evolved," and "pleasure" and "highly evolved" cannot be concluded as "good."

Darwin, and Spencer’s theories fail because of the Naturalistic Fallacy. Sociobiology and Meme Theory avoid this fallacy, because no attempt is made to define the normative term "good" with empirical facts.

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