On the inappropriate use of the naturalistic fallacy in evolutionary psychology

Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-681 (2003)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Robert Richards (1986). A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics. Biology and Philosophy 1 (3):265-293.
Julia Tanner (2006). The Naturalistic Fallacy. Richmond Journal of Philosophy 13.
Michael Byron, Evolutionary Ethics and Biologically Supportable Morality. Proceedings of Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, PAIDEIA: Philosophy Educating Humanity.
Dale Jamieson (2002). Sober and Wilson on Psychological Altruism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):702–710.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

8 ( #267,266 of 1,725,472 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #211,098 of 1,725,472 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.