On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology

Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-681 (2003)
Abstract
The naturalistic fallacy is mentioned frequently by evolutionary psychologists as an erroneous way of thinking about the ethical implications of evolved behaviors. However, evolutionary psychologists are themselves confused about the naturalistic fallacy and use it inappropriately to forestall legitimate ethical discussion. We briefly review what the naturalistic fallacy is and why it is misused by evolutionary psychologists. Then we attempt to show how the ethical implications of evolved behaviors can be discussed constructively without impeding evolutionary psychological research. A key is to show how ethical behaviors, in addition to unethical behaviors, can evolve by natural selection.
Keywords Altruism  Ethics  Evolution  Group selection  Morality  Multilevel selection  Naturalistic fallacy
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