Entries

Animal Rights Encyclopedia entries
  1. Absolutism
  2. Altruism
  3. Animal Ethics
  4. Animal Rights - see 'Rights'
  5. Animal Rights History
  6. Animal Rights Motto
  7. Animal Rights vs Animal Ethics
  8. Animal Rights vs Animal Welfare
  9. Animal Rights vs Conservation
  10. Anthropocentrism
  11. Anthropocentrism, Enlightened
  12. Anthropomorphism
  13. Aquinas, Thomas
  14. Aristotle

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  1. Bearskin Hats
  2. Beef Cattle Statistics
  3. Bestiality - see 'Zoophilia'
  4. Behaviourism
  5. Bentham, Jeremy
  6. Brain, Milestones of Understanding
  7. Bushmeat

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  1. Cat Traffic Training
  2. Chickens - Broiler Hens
  3. Chickens - Egg-laying Hens
  4. Chickens Statistics
  5. Clever Hans the Counting Horse
  6. Consciousness
  7. Consequence Ethics (Consequentialism)
  8. Consideration, Equal
  9. Contractarianism
  10. Copernicus, Nicolaus
  11. Creature Harmony
  12. Cruelty

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  1. Darwin, Charles
  2. Deep Ecology
  3. Descartes
  4. Dogs - Communication & Control
  5. Duty Ethics (Deontology)

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  1. Emotivism
  2. Environmental Ethics / Environmentalism
  3. Ethical Egoism
  4. Ethical Theories & Animal Rights
  5. Euphemisms
  6. Expanding the Circle
  7. Experimental Animals - see 'Laboratory-Experimental Animals'

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  1. Factory Farming
  2. Fish Statistics
  3. Five Freedoms
  4. Foxhunting with Hounds
  5. Fur Animal Statistics
  6. Fur Brushes & Bows
  7. Fur Farming
  8. Fur Marketing
  9. Fur Morality
  10. Fur Species
  11. Fur Trapping

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  1. Golden Rule
  2. Goldfish Bowls
  3. Great Apes

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  1. Han means He or She
  2. Human Overpopulation
  3. Human Superiority

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  1. Interests
  2. Interests - see Consideration, Equal
  3. Intrinsic Value
  4. Is Ought Fallacy
  5. It - Stop Calling Animals It

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  1. Laboratory-Experimental Animals
  2. Legalism

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  1. Meat Statistics
  2. Mirror Test of Animal Consciousness
  3. Moral Agents & Patients
  4. Moral Autonomy
  5. Moral Status or Standing
  6. Moral Theory Choice
  7. Moral Values & Judgements
  8. Mutilation of Farm Animals

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  1. Naturalistic Fallacy
  2. Natural Selection
  3. New Welfarism - see 'Welfarism, New'
  4. Number Fallacy

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  1. Painism
  2. Passenger Pigeon
  3. Pigs / Hogs Statistics
  4. Predation

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  1. Reciprocal Morality
  2. Religious Tradition
  3. Rights

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  1. Sheep & Goats Statistics
  2. Soul
  3. Subjectivism
  4. Subject of a Life

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  1. Terrorism
  2. Therianthropy

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  1. Universal Declaration on Animals
  2. Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
  3. Utilitarianism

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  1. Vegetarianism
  2. Vermin
  3. Virtue Ethics

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  1. Welfarism, New
  2. Wolf Ethics

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  1. Zoophilia
  2. Zoos







 

Naturalistic Fallacy & Moralistic Fallacy

Fallacies for animal rightists  A version of the naturalistic fallacy is that if something occurs naturally it must be intrinsically good or right. For instance, if animals roam wild (or live in free range enclosures) it is all right to eat them. Conversely, if something does not occur naturally it is intrinsically bad or wrong. For instance, people may think that additives in food are bad because industry and commerce have put them there.

Naturalistic fallacy

A more technical version of the naturalistic fallacy goes back to the early 20th century British philosopher G E Moore. He was arguing about what 'good' means and claimed that good cannot be analysed. Good, like an atom, does not break down into other elements that can describe it. If you try to define or analyse good, and other such words, you commit a fallacy, what he called the naturalistic fallacy.

G E Moore
G E Moore. He flourished in 1930's Britain.

The moralistic fallacy turns the naturalistic fallacy on its head. Instead of 'if it is natural it must be morally good or right', you get 'if it is morally good or right it must be natural'. For example, the attitude that it is morally good and right that herbivores should be free to graze was prevalent in the United States for most of the 20th century. However, as a consequence people shot, trapped and poisoned as an evil almost the entire US wolf population. In the era of ecology and conservation it is difficult to understand this kind of attitude to animals. Not only was this purposeful extermination but without their predator the herbivore population shot up, ate everything in sight and nearly died off from starvation. The moralistic fallacy was a tragedy to both wolves and herbivores. A little consolation is that since the 1980's American attitudes have changed somewhat. Conservationists began reintroducing wolves, laws exist now to protect them and herbivore numbers have stabilised.

Related to the naturalistic fallacy and sometimes confused with it is the is-ought fallacy.








     
 

     

Page revised Nov 2010.
Web site established Nov 2009.