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The moralistic fallacy is the opposite of the naturalistic fallacy. It says that because something is morally wrong, it could not be a part of human nature or that what ought to be, is. The naturalistic fallacy says that what is, is what ought to be. The fallacy was coined by Bernard Davis in response to calls for ethical guidelines to control the study of what could allegedly become "dangerous knowledge."

Sometimes a theory is rejected with a reference to the danger of misuse. In doing so, one fails to differentiate sufficiently clearly between its epistemological value and its practical value, or between the moral, value-free knowledge and – in consideration of moral valuations – the potentially negative consequences of the knowledge. From a perspective of scientific theory, the accuracy of a theory is of primal importance, not its practical value, its origin or history of use. No theory is protected against misuse, nor can a theory be falsified by misuse. Both misuse as well as renunciation of knowledge can have disadvantageous consequences.

Contents

Examples

Moralistic

  • Because warfare is wrong and tragic, it cannot be part of human nature.
  • Because eating meat is violent and harms the environment, humans have no biological need for it.
  • Since it is right to treat men and women as equals, the sexes must be biologically equal as well.

Naturalistic

  • Because people might be predisposed to want more sexual partners, it is acceptable for them to engage in adultery.

Seville Statement on Violence

The Seville Statement on Violence is a statement on violence that was adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain, on 16 May 1986. It was subsequently adopted by UNESCO at the twenty-fifth session of the General Conference on 16 November 1989. The statement, then known as a 'Statement on Violence', was designed to refute "the notion that organized human violence is biologically determined".[1]

The statement concludes: "Just as 'wars begin in the minds of men', peace also begins in our minds. The same species who invented war is capable of inventing peace. The responsibility lies with each of us."[2]

The Seville Statement has been criticized as being an example of the moralistic fallacy. [3] For example, some scientists believe both evolutionary psychology and neuropsychology suggest that human violence does indeed have biological roots. For example, see these online articles: Human behaviour: Killer instincts and Brain rewards aggression much like it does sex, food, drugs.

See also

References

  1. ^ Suter, Keith (2005). 50 things you want to know about world issues... but were too afraid to ask. Milson's Point, NSW, Australia: Transworld Publishers. ISBN 978-1-86325-503-5.  
  2. ^ "Seville Statement on Violence, Spain, 1986" (in English) (HTML). EDUCATION- Non-Violence Education. UNESCO. http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=3247&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html. Retrieved 2007-03-04.  
  3. ^ Davis, Bernard. The Moralistic Fallacy, Nature, 1978 Mar 30.[1]
  • "The Moralistic Fallacy," Bernard Davis, Nature, 1978 Mar 30.[2]
  • Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, Satoshi Kanazawa (2007)







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