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Naturalistic Fallacy

The naturalistic fallacy was identified by G. E. Moore in Principia Ethica, where Moore employs it to ground his rejection of evolutionary and hedonistic ethics. The fallacy is important to consider in business ethics since evolutionary and hedonist positions are still endorsed by some contemporary ethicists in this area.

A fallacy, generally speaking, is an error of reasoning. The naturalistic fallacy is an error of conflation. Specifically, the fallacy occurs when one identifies a property or feature that good things have in common and proceeds to take this property or feature to constitute what makes those good things good. The mere identification of the property is considered constitutive of a general account of moral goodness. For example, good things may have common features such as being ...

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