Talk:Appeal to nature/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Removed paragraph

I removed this section, because I can't really see how this fits into an article on logic, but only serves to spread a controversy to this page. Hoever, maybe someone could rework it so that it fits here.

Some{{Who|date=March 2009}} have argued that biological findings regarding evolution and [[human nature]] have helped propel the [[political right]] into power. Biologist [[John Maynard Smith]] replied to such criticism with the question "What should we have done, fiddled the equations?"<!-- This is discussed in Dawkins (2006) as well, though I'm unable to find the letter in New Scientist to which he refers --> In reality, writers in this field often consider the selfish behavior seen in nature important in understanding why we act the way we do, and as a warning of how we should ''not'' behave. One of the main themes [[Richard Dawkins]] pursues in ''[[The Selfish Gene]]'' is that "we should not derive our values from Darwinism, unless it is with a negative sign". He points out that a society that uses nature as a moral compass would be "a very nasty society in which to live". He makes the point, however, that there are [[Moral development|many people who simply cannot discriminate]] between a statement of [[Is-ought problem|what is and what ought to be]].<ref>Dawkins, R. 2006. ''The Selfish Gene'', 30th Anniversary edition. pp. xiv, 3.</ref>,

Paranormal Skeptic (talk) 13:08, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Not a fallacy

The propsition "If natural, then good" is not a fallacy if it is preceded by an axiom of "What we define as natural is inherently good", which taken in isolation is a very possible position in philosophy. It is therefore only a fallacy if "natural = good" is taken for granted when not agreed upon beforehand. I recommend a strong rewording of this article to account for that position. --Nerd42 (talk) 20:47, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

You're going to have to explain that for those of us who've not done philosophy. As a physicist what you've just said is X = Y therefore X = Y since the statement 'what we define as natural is inherently good' is clearly a long winded way of claiming 'natural = good'. Must a fallacy always objectively be one? Surely any fallacy can be negated if you first establish ground rules that negate it?193.195.181.230 (talk) 12:38, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. Saying that something is fallacious does not mean that the argument "P, therefore P" fails. Fallacy can refer to an appeal to emotion, which this most certainly is.Xodarap00 (talk) 03:59, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

The natural order is a fallacy ? I guess existence itself is a "fallacy" then

I do not see how referring to the natural "order" of the world can be a logical fallacy. The creation and existence of the universe is not in the control of artificial means (i.e. those of a sentient being like a human). The existence of life on Earth is determined by whatever it is that is responsible for the universe itself so if someone disagrees with an action or opinion which is an artificial manipulation of this existence (i.e. by humans), then it is indeed quite logical.

For example, if one argues we should not have a nuclear war because it is a non-natural act that will wipe out all (or nearly all) life on the planet, its a valid argument. This is based on empirical observation that only one species on our planet, humans, are capable of performing such an act and therefore it is not in accordance with that of nature. The only other possibility for mass extinction events to occur is by an event determined by whatever "force" holds the universe together/is responsible for "time" or the sequence of events which occur (e.g. a Volcanic eruption or the impact of an asteroid). It is therefore logical, based on empirical reasoning, not to perform an act which is contrary to the existence of life itself and not replicated by any other known species (i.e. non-natural).

Another example of the validity of the natural argument is the practice of a voluntary suicide. This is another human behaviour not replicated by any other species. Perhaps the term artificial is the main issue since artificial is essentially anything created or done by humans. The term artificial itself precludes the idea that humans posess various qualities or traits distinct from anything else in the natural world (e.g. our level of intelligence, language, etc.). Since no other species on this planet commits acts which can result in the destruction of all life itself, it is recognized that humans are distinct in this manner. With this in mind, such an act is an example of our potential to do things which break any connection we have to the natural world and are non-natural.

72.39.250.213 (talk) 14:30, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I believe you're misunderstanding the point of the articles. Appeal to Nature does not say that "natural is not good", it says "the statement 'natural is good' is not necessarily true." That which is natural certainly can be good, that's not in question, but just because it is natural does not make it good.

Addressing your argument regarding nuclear war, surely almost everyone with agree with you that nuclear war is bad. However, nuclear war is not bad because it's "unnatural" (a hopelessly vague word), nuclear war is bad because it would cause enormous destruction, possibly ending macroscopic life for millions of years. Mass extinctions can be naturally occurring for many reasons, but they're still "bad," unless perhaps you're a member of one of the species that thrives afterward!

99.20.91.212 (talk) 21:50, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Using fallacy to argue fallacy

Regarding the following quote:

"Lastly, the argument can quickly be invalidated by a counter-argument that demonstrates something that is natural that has undesirable properties (for example aging, illness, and death are natural), or something that is unnatural that has desirable properties (for example, many modern medicines are not found in nature, yet have saved countless lives)."

As a counter-counter-argument to this statement, valid philosophies include the acceptance of aging, illness, and death as normal parts of the human existence, along with the rejection of modern medicines due to their role in over-population, for example.

In other words, the quoted argument performs a fallacy in itself by assuming that aging, illness, and death are undesirable, and that saving countless lives (although trickier to dispute) is desirable.

Tenstairs (talk) 23:13, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I reworded this to say "can be seen as desirable" rather than saying "is desirable." Xodarap00 (talk) 04:01, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Naturalism faces a problem of Induction

There is an epistemological question a naturalist has to answer: "How do you know the naturalistic criteria to which objects must strive towards?" I think that as human beings, we look at the world around us and abstract out generalizations from the various things we sense. Right now, I’m looking outside my window at a Red Cedar. It shares many traits with other objects outside my window, most of which are plants. Because the Cedar shares a lot of exact similarities with other plants, it is a member of the plant family. Comparing the Cedar tree to grass and bushes shows that there are a lot of strong distinctions between the various types of plant, so we create sub-classes to represent these property-based distinctions (grasses, shrubs, trees, etc). There are lots of trees outside. In order to identify a particular tree as a Cedar and another as a Douglas Fir, we’d need to note the distinctions between Cedars and Douglas Firs (Bark texture, leaves, shape, branch structure, etc). The particular cedar I’m looking at appears to be a good example of a cedar tree. The way I form that judgment is by comparing this particular cedar tree to my mental prototype of a cedar tree, which is formed by my various life experiences with cedar trees. Now, here’s the problem: Imagine that you’re hiking out in the woods, and for the first time you encounter a new, exceptionally rare, scraggly looking tree. Nobody has ever seen it before so it’s a new species. Since there isn’t a mental prototype to compare this new tree against, it’s impossible to say anything normative about this particular tree within its class – only a comparison to other trees is reasonable. Is the scraggly appearance natural to this new type of tree, or is this particular tree unhealthy? Because there are no established normative criteria for this new tree, the naturalist can’t say whether or not the tree is flourishing. Let’s suppose that as you continue in your walk, you encounter several more of these rare trees. They all appear to be scraggly, so you make a normative generalization about the scraggliness of the trees. Unfortunately, this region of the forest has been infested by a particular type of tree fungus which causes the newly discovered tree species to be scraggly and unhealthy. The trees are certainly not flourishing, but now that the naturalist has been able to make a normative generalization about the typical nature of these trees, they would have to evaluate the level of flourishing based on how these trees exemplify their scraggly nature. Because of this problem with induction, I hesitate to associate naturalistic excellence with flourishing. --Eric Nevala —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.113.40.177 (talk) 02:08, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Changes 8/3

  • this is listed in appeals to emotion in the philosophy template, so putting it there in the lede
  • split it up a bit, more because it was too long than because of any semantic breaks
  • Tried to clean it up a little, but I'm not very good with the words :)

Xodarap00 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 03:36, 4 August 2010 (UTC).

Disputed/POV

Could anyone give some info as to why this is pov/disputed? It looks like it was tagged there by an anon user. If no one has objections in the next few days I think I'll just remove the tags. Xodarap00 (talk) 03:53, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Proposed Deletion

Of this article's two external sources, the most qualified (yet still unreviewed) writes:[1]

"Nonetheless, one may still feel that there is something right about some appeals to nature. For instance, a diet rich in natural foods-such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains-is probably better than one based on more artificial foods-such as candy, pastries, and sausages. Also, it seems likely that a natural lifestyle-that is, one based on a natural diet and exercise-is in general a healthier one than a sedentary life spent watching television and eating doughnuts.
These forms of argument could be treated as rules of thumb which admit some exceptions, but are still reliable enough to be useful.

Ideological Battle

This quote exemplifies the very casual language and non-philosophical reasoning which this whole article is based on. I nominate for it to be deleted and redirected or replaced with the adequately checked section in: naturalistic fallacy. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Deletion / Expert Review

I believe the subject of this page is commonly misunderstood, and the page itself carrys the misunderstanding under the credentials of wp:philosophy. The page is only sourced to 2 private blogs, and a non-philosophical article from cancer.org. It contains mostly erroneous and politicised statements and links.

I put it up for deletion, and it was redirected by another experienced editor to a properly written section for 'appeal to nature' in naturalistic fallacy

Due to the complexety of philosophical work, and misapplication of this concept here and in other non-philosophical discussions. I do not believe as an amature, i could resolve the conflict with the editor attempting to restore this page now. But i have read well on this in the course of my edits, and can provide stubstantial links to refute the page here, if required. (Although i did expect the problems to be obvious) Lisnabreeny (talk) 18:52, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

These books have been added to the references,
  • Baggini, Julian (2004). Making sense: philosophy behind the headlines. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0192805065.
  • Flew, Antony (1998). How to Think Straight: An Introduction to Critical Reasoning. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781573922395.
Along with candid display of the POV arguments which are contested here.
The main question is, is this an established philosophical term or a populist term? What proper philosophical texts do we have to define the meaning and context of this terms use in philosophy? Sensibly, has modern philosophy established that all non-philosophical appeals to nature are invalid? Does this article not seem to indicate that, incredible claim?
Even if this opening statement where to be confirmed >"Appeal to nature is a fallacy of relevance consisting of a claim that something is good or right because it is natural, or that something is bad or wrong because it is unnatural or artificial."< Would it not be wp:philosophy's duty to enquiring minds to explain its context and limits of applicability to non-metaphysical cases? Lisnabreeny (talk) 22:34, 7 February 2011 (UTC)


Philosophical usage of the term

A search for the term returns many informal/private definitions but formal/academic defintions are impossible to come by. Considering the potential ramifications of the argument being true, that all appeals to nature are fallacious, we need at least one formal philosophical substantiation of that. I have found that the term is mostly used neutraly, like this example in the intro to: "What is Nature: Culture, Politics and the non-Human" by Kate Soper[[2]] Lisnabreeny (talk) 01:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Ideological Battle

This article is clearly distorted to use in ideological battles with 'green' types. The notion that philosophers have concluded that any preference for nature in any context is fallacious, is absurd. The page is in need of attention from a mature, experienced philosophy editor. Lisnabreeny (talk) 05:02, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I pov tagged the article and put this up to discuss/attract attention not knowing better process. On 29th Jan I put up the del subst tag. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:51, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
If you can provide reliable sources which dispute its status as fallacious then you're welcome to include them. However you seem to misunderstand the fallacy, it is not 'any preference for nature' (whatever that means) which is fallacious but rather the claim, or more commonly the implication, that purely because something is "natural" it is good or benign and because something is "unnatural" it must be bad or harmful; its use is common among snake oil pedlers who imply that the naturalness of their products is proof enough of their efficacy and safety rather than any empirical evidence. Regardless, the claim that this page is somehow just an ideological dig at environmentalists is ridiculous.
By the way Wikipedia convention is for new discussions to go at the bottom of the page. (moved) 94.194.86.160 (talk) 20:53, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
This is first objection after the page was put up for deletion 1 week and redirected to naturalistic fallacy#appeal_to_nature from editor who reverted it and other small edits to naturalistic fallacy.Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:51, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
"However you seem to misunderstand the fallacy, it is not 'any preference for nature' (whatever that means) which is fallacious but rather.. "
- That was my summary of the misunderstanding which this page is built on, not my explaination of naturalistic fallacy (clearly).
I do not need to cite reliable sources to draw attention to the problems in this page, firstly because this page cites no reliable sources, secondly, because basic experience of philosophy would inform that this typical statement is wrong: "This fallacy is exemplified, for instance, on some labels and advertisements for alternative herbal remedies."
FYI Advertisements, are not philosophical statements. If they were then "fresh food is good for you" would be as much of an example as an appeal to nature as that one i just quoted and the many other 'greenwash' political statements which this article contains.
To clarify; 'fresh' is philosophically speaking -a natural property, the naturalistic fallacy states that it is not 'freshness' which can confer goodness, yet as we can see in many contexts, freshness can very often be said to be a good thing ) The mistake you have made is confusing metaphysics with physics, and the natures of things, with natural things.
I believe this page is so bad, that no self respecting wp:philosophy editor will attempt to defend it, even if they were politicaly inclined to. I had it up for deletion for over a week, and no one defended. It was an experienced editor, who redirected it to the properly written naturalistic fallacy article, which can be seen to explicity refute this articles position.
It is odd that you are aware of wp convention, yet editing from an unregistered ip. Lisnabreeny (talk) 01:19, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

After Page Was Resurrected'

Full Deletion Discussion/ Expert Review

WP:REFACTOR: The above unsigned text was added by Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:51, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality

This article is presuming, instead of explaining, what an "appeal" is (i.e. that it is always to the Truth) and what "nature" is supposed to be (that it is always Good). This is so reductive as to make the rest of the discussion incoherent. The article needs to be wiped clear, and replaced with something more helpful that says what place "appeals" have in "arguments".

So:

An appeal to nature is a form of argument that depends on an understanding of nature as a source of intelligibility for its claims, and which relies on the normative or ethical content of that concept for its cogency and/or validity.

You don't need anything more, the rest should be moved to an article on fallacies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Walkinxyz (talkcontribs) 21:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I think the clarification needs work... but some sort of clarification is needed. Have you closed the AfD, it doesn't say it's closed? I strongly disagree that the rest should be moved to an article on fallacies.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 22:44, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it should be moved now, either. Don't know how to close the AfD, but if you read it, it's clear. The person who made the proposal is trying to rewrite the article in the text of the discussion there. Walkinxyz (talk) 22:58, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree, that's actually what the user wants, but Lisnabreeny should probably make that call... an admin, just restored the tag. I don't think it will end up being deleted, but I'm not inclined to do a lot of work on it with an AfD hanging over it either. I think we're pretty much in agreement about everything then; the adjustments I made to your changes were just to dampen the inevitable pendulum effect, if you know what I mean. ^_^
I have to run this afternoon, but I'll take a closer look this evening. Please feel free to adjust back if there's anything I should have taken into consideration.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:20, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Just to say that the new lead and the rewording of the newly titled section on fallacies were introduced to make clear that, even if occasionally (or too often) fallacious, the "appeal to nature" in argument cannot be coherently understood as primarily a fallacy, nor can any given appeal to nature be so considered. The wording "sometimes considered" is intended to restore neutral POV on this topic, since it seemed prejudicial to a number of reviewers that the article should take so much of its time discussing this aspect as if it were the only relevant aspect. There are surely other aspects that are just as relevant, and they await inclusion in the article. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:02, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
When i put the article up for deletion, i wanted it deleted because I had asked for more experienced help with it for some weeks. And a reasonable, though small section exists in naturalistic fallacy to redirect to. It was actualy deleted and redirected but then resurrected, so i began the more substantial campaign, during which i mentioned that experienced improvement might be an alternative. I never tried to rewrite this article, i wouldnt presume to without guidance from a philosopher with some experience. I wrote to Walkinxyz in the reviewtalk, this is how i would start this article on appeals to nature:

The 'appeal to nature is' an argument of exceptional merit or an informal 'given'. Appeals to nature most often tend in someway to be perfectly true because of the existential, evolved, omnipresent properties of nature (one of the most important and scrutinised concepts in philosophy and the history of science) - - - - Of course that would be ridiculous! But i think not harder to establish with pop sources than the previous intros.

But in my example article in the deletion review, i tried to be quite straight down the middle, along with a couple of 'corrective' sections for what has been. The thing is there are two sides here, of the light understanding of nature and its appeal in philosophy. And this article has been one sided, and quite confused by that. Machine Elf, i think we both have everything to learn with this concept, but lets not pretend the outcome is failed or given without need for investigation, like many popular sources do. Lisnabreeny (talk) 02:16, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Lisnabreeny, I could care less what you think I have to learn and I'll thank you to focus on content and keep your comments about other editors to yourself from now on. Is that understood?—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 06:12, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a horrible response in what was a genuine appeal to your nature. I do not understand you. What comments about editors are you refering to that i must keep to myself? Lisnabreeny (talk) 07:13, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I am looking into how to close the deletion review, and will try tomorrow. Please do not do this before, if the text of the review page will be lost. Lisnabreeny (talk) 02:30, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Just announce you'd like to withdraw the AfD that was made on your behalf and someone will eventually close it for you.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 06:20, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Appeals to nature in popular culture and discourse

Popular examples in the page could be discussed here. There will be to and fro and consensus may be impossible. I for one am willing to look for examples of truely fallacious appeals to nature to include in the article. I will put cases here and request comment on them. Hopefuly we can find fallacious and meritous examples which we can agree on:


Proposed meritous appeals

  • The case of BSE: For some years there was an argument that the inclusion of processed beef in cow feeds was dangerously unnatural, because cows do not naturally eat other cows, or even other carrion (as pigs can). Without any known evidence of danger from doing this, the practice went ahead, despite those concerned with it. This resulted in the dangerous new disease called 'BSE' in cows, and nvCJD in humans, directly caused by argueably very unnatural practice of cows digesting their own protiens. A Similar prion disease exist in sheep Scrapie. Also when people practice cannibalism, particularly eating nervous tissue, this kind of disease can result - Kuru. Are there merits to an appeal to nature in this case? Lisnabreeny (talk) 03:32, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, if you have a WP:RS that says it's a "meritous appeal to nature"... I have no idea—I know from my friends in England the mad cow thing is a more widely recognizable issue there than it is where I live.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 06:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes there are at least many newspaper reports about this situation which i believe could be more substantialy presented as a valid popular appeal to nature than the previous advertisements and claims, which were included as popular fallacious appeals to nature (most of which i regarded as failing on other grounds, but am willing to revise). Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:14, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Appeals to nature claimed to be fallacious

  • the Sophists were the first to challenge “the appeal to nature [which] tended to mean an appeal to the nature of man treated as a source for norms of conduct. To Greeks this appeal was not very novel. It represented a conscious probing and exploration into an area wherein, according to their whole tradition of thought, lay the true source for norms of conduct.”
This quote related to a specific appeal to nature (or number of) described in the text. I would like to discuss its meaning, whether or not they are fallacious, what makes them so. It could be informative. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
(when i first listed this, Machine Elf struck it out, declared it "in the article" and that it should not need discussed. (it is the only notable ref in from the old article)Lisnabreeny (talk) 00:46, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
As you're aware, I struck it out because it makes no sense, it's neither "proposed" nor a "fallacious appeal". It is not "related to a specific appeal to nature (or number of) described in the text." As it's completely unclear what "they" you are referring to, (surely not the sophists themselves), I've asked you to start a new section, and explain what you mean clearly and specifically. I see that was too much to expect from you.
Lisnabreeny, I did not "[declare] that it should not need discussed" [sic]. Stop posting false and misleading statements about me and about the content I've added to the article.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 09:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
As I've said, none of these are "proposed", they are in the article. The history of the term going back to the sophists is not a "fallacious appeal". If you feel it "related to a specific appeal to nature (or number of) described in the text" I would suggest you specifically explain what you mean and say which ones.
Please start a new section if you want to discuss its meaning and please explain:
"whether or not they are fallacious"
I have no idea what question you mean to discuss. Thank you.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 12:02, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a considerable difficulty with working with you on this subject, you seem incapable of following quite clear simple discussion on it.
I put this citation up, to see if you wanted to maintain it. It seems you do wish to maintain it, so here are my thoughts about it:
Fuller citation
In all cases the laws of nature were regarded not as generalized descriptions of what actually happens in the natural world (and so not like the laws of physics to which no exceptions are possible) but rather as norms that people ought to follow but are free to ignore. Thus the appeal to nature tended to mean an appeal to the nature of man treated as a source for norms of conduct.
To Greeks this appeal was not very novel. It represented a conscious probing and exploration into an area wherein, according to their whole tradition of thought, lay the true source for norms of conduct...
Article Paragraph
Several problems exist with this type of argument. First, the word "natural" can be a loaded term — it can be unconsciously equated with normality. In ancient Greece, the Sophists were the first to challenge “the appeal to nature [which] tended to mean an appeal to the nature of man treated as a source for norms of conduct. To Greeks this appeal was not very novel. It represented a conscious probing and exploration into an area wherein, according to their whole tradition of thought, lay the true source for norms of conduct.”
The paragraph begins with cautioning a most informal natural language use of the term nature, and leads straight into this citation of formal language, which isolated from its text says very little about the Sophists and their appeals to nature and nothing about the problems which the opening declares. In the accompanying text of the article, i did not find any support the for statement which which introduces the citation: "the Sophists were the first to challenge the appeal to nature" Where they the first? and is not everything challenged? and what resulted from their challenge? The claim needs supported, but is an irrelevant distraction to the problems really.
The nearest suggestion of a problem in the cite is "To Greeks this appeal was not very novel." and although at a glance that reads like it might be a failing of sorts, it is not.
If the potential pitfalls of natural language are going to be cautioned here. It is only reasonable, that they are separated from formal argument, rather than mixed as they were. Ambiguity and unconcious associations on the word 'natural' can play out in any direction, towards associating nature with wildness, jungle, mosquitoes, or paradise, picnics and flowers. This is a nature of human thought and language, which formal attention gaurds against. Lisnabreeny (talk) 16:45, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a considerable difficulty with working with you on this subject, you seem incapable of following quite clear simple discussion on it.
No Lisnabreeny, you did not present a "clear simple discussion", nor have you done so here. As you've rejected every attempt I've made to work with you, I really have no sympathy left for your "considerable difficulty".
I put this citation up, to see if you wanted to maintain it. It seems you do wish to maintain it, so here are my thoughts about it:
By "citation" do you quotation? I've stated I intend to expand on the quotation and make it into it's own section, so yes, I "wish to maintain it". You've copied part of that expanded quotation in the two paragraphs following "Fuller citation" and you've copied the current article text in the paragraph following "Article Paragraph". Your discussion begins thereafter:
The paragraph begins with cautioning a most informal natural language use of the term nature, and leads straight into this citation of formal language, which isolated from its text says very little about the Sophists and their appeals to nature and nothing about the problems which the opening declares. In the accompanying text of the article, i did not find any support the for statement which which introduces the citation: "the Sophists were the first to challenge the appeal to nature" Where they the first? and is not everything challenged? and what resulted from their challenge? The claim needs supported, but is an irrelevant distraction to the problems really.
I wouldn't call it "most informal"... and I wouldn't say the quote is particularly formal either. You don't explain how the shorter quote is supposedly misleading; obviously it's less informative than the extended quote. Yes, the first. Read it again? You ask "and is not everything challenged?", is that a sophistry joke? Read it again if you want to hear "what happened" Lisnabreeny. See WP:V for the "claim needs supported" [sic]. If I understand you correctly, you consider the history of the term to be "an irrelevant distraction"... I don't. What "problems" are you referring to exactly, and how, or from what, is it a distraction?
The nearest suggestion of a problem in the cite is "To Greeks this appeal was not very novel." and although at a glance that reads like it might be a failing of sorts, it is not.
It's not a "problem" or a "failing", it's a philosophical position.
If the potential pitfalls of natural language are going to be cautioned here. It is only reasonable, that they are separated from formal argument, rather than mixed as they were. Ambiguity and unconcious associations on the word 'natural' can play out in any direction, towards associating nature with wildness, jungle, mosquitoes, or paradise, picnics and flowers. This is a nature of human thought and language, which formal attention gaurds against.
What does "the potential pitfalls of natural language" have to do with the sophist quote? What do you mean by a natural language? As opposed to "formal argument"... (in what kind of language)? Where is this mix? As I recall, the article says the same thing you seem to be saying, that "nature" is ambiguous... What's your point?
If you had said "This is the nature..." the sentence would be intelligible but you've said "This is a nature..." and I won't hazard a guess at what you mean by "formal attention".
You complain, a lot, and offer no alternatives. I trust you'll understand if I'm brief with your demands on my time in the future.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 09:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I trust this response was a passing retort.
Moving forward, i took the time to read the whole article and should have earlier because it is not very long. It ends with this sentence:
"Both Plato and Aristotle, in basing so much of their ethics on the nature of man, are only following up the approach begun by the Sophists."
Yet the article now references this statement:
"The Sophists were the first in Ancient Greece to challenge this understanding of nature."
I think some sort of correction in wording -at least- is necessary, and still am not aware of how the article contends the sophists were the first to identifiy, use or debate the term. Lisnabreeny (talk) 22:13, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The paragraph begins with cautioning a most informal natural ordinary language use of the term nature, and leads straight into this citation of formal language, which isolated from its text says very little about the Sophists and their appeals to nature and nothing about the problems which the opening declares. In the accompanying text of the article, i did not find any support the for statement which which introduces the citation: "the Sophists were the first to challenge the appeal to nature" Where they the first? and is not everything challenged? and what resulted from their challenge? The claim needs supported, but is an irrelevant distraction to the problems really.
The paragraph in the article is confounding normality (what is typical or usual) with normativity (a source of norms of conduct). They are not the same, and therefore the paragraph is incoherent. Walkinxyz (talk) 21:46, 13 February 2011 (UTC)


Food Advertisement

  • the claim of foods, such as "all-natural" wheat, which is usually a hybridised plant that was bred by artificial selection.[citation needed]
This is just a madeup example of a somewhat inaccurate advertising term. This criticism is about trade descriptions, not any kind of appeal to nature. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:43, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree, OR. Good point about trade descriptions.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 10:54, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Old age, sickness, death

  • some natural things have undesirable properties, for example: old age, sickness, and death.
Yet it is supposed, in the "appeal to nature fallacy" argumentation -
(This fallacy occurs) simply when a desirable or undesirable property is implied: "X is natural." , "X is unnatural."
This statement commits the 'fallacy' which it aims to establish! Sophistry? Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:50, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
At the very least, read the entire sentence:
"Third, counterexamples to this line of reasoning demonstrate that some natural things have undesirable properties, for example: old age, sickness, and death."
It neither commits the fallacy nor does it aim to establish it.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 10:38, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Modern Medicine

  • Conversely, modern medicines might be considered unnatural, (because they are manufactured rather than found in nature), nonetheless, they cause very desirable effects and their dosage can be controlled with precision.
Fallacy of Accident or Sweeping Generalization Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:53, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Really? It's meaningless to analyse at each sentence in isolation.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 10:23, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Alternative Herbal Remedies

  • some labels and advertisements for alternative herbal remedies.[3] The labels often have the phrase "all-natural" to assert that the product is safe. The idea that natural herbs and plants are always safe ignores the many toxic plants found in nature (hemlock, nightshade, belladonna, poisonous mushrooms, to name a few) and any possible side effects the herbs might have.
Sweeping generalization again. Related: Inductive_reasoning Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:57, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
There are sweeping generalizations... Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 11:00, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Cocaine

  • Cocaine, for instance, is an "all-natural" medicine derived from the coca plant, and which was prescribed for many years for everything from chest colds to depression, yet it is highly addictive and can wreak havoc on the body's organs.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Lisnabreeny (talk | contribs)
And—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 11:01, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Natural is irrelevant to safety and effectiveness

  • Whether a product is "all-natural" or not is irrelevant in determining its safety or effectiveness.[3][4]
Legally, different health and safety testing standards are often required for natural products and new synthetic ones (not irrelevant legally).
Equipment in isolated ecosystem and solar system exploration must be sterilised because of the disruption which material from isolated natural systems routinely causes to unfamiliar systems.
The case of BSE disease transmission, described in the valid appeals section exemplifies that natural properties are not irrelevant to safety.

Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:35, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

#1 is good, find a cite for it not being legally irrelevant. Not sure what you mean about #3.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 11:06, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid this is something that will run up against a NPOV objection. This should read that "it has been argued/asserted that whether a product is all-natural or not" etc. because the citations already provided in the article are from handbooks on everyday philosophy and critical thinking, not empirical studies. If there are empirical studies within those sources, they need to be cited specifically. This should apply to all similar claims in this article. Walkinxyz (talk) 21:28, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Evolutions morality

  • The presence of this fallacy is manifest in the logic behind certain objections to evolution, specifically objections to evolution's morality. Those who object for this reason assume that if behaviors such as polygamy, infanticide and violence are shown to be natural, that would make them acceptable.
This might be interesting if properly explained and cited. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:01, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Manner in which Sociobiology was Criticised

  • This misunderstanding has fueled some animosity towards evolutionary biologists, for example sociobiology was criticized from this angle in the latter half of the twentieth century. (See also sociobiological theories of rape.) Others, while not believing 'natural' to be 'right' themselves, assume that those advancing evolutionary theories do. This objection should not be confused with the closely related criticism that biologists in these fields are suggesting genetic determinism.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Lisnabreeny (talk | contribs)

Legalization of marijuana

  • This fallacy is often present in arguments for the legalization of marijuana or other drugs such as peyote. This excludes, of course, legalization arguments that use the methods of biochemistry and medical science to weigh the effects of marijuana and peyote.[citation needed]
Statement is refering to "this fallacy" which is nowhere coherently defined. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:02, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
It's referring to an appeal to nature, such as Marijuana should be legal because it's natural.Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 09:37, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

General Comments

The article includes many possible examples of fallacious appeals. I have listed them out here to discuss each over time. unsigned content by Lisnabreeny

Except for the Sophists, which is not a "fallacious appeal" they're not "proposed", they're in the article, and while I think most could be removed, I don't see the point of listing everything completely out of context here. I suggest focusing on one thing at a time—at any rate, you'll find people are more willing to participate if you do.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 06:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Respectfuly, I would like to remove all the examples from the article now which editors do not wish to discuss. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I find that far too drastic. As I've said, I think these should be dealt with individually. I think editing should proceed in a normal manner, unless there's something specific you'd like to discuss.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 12:06, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Post Review Discussion

The speedy keep feels a bit... speedy, as my own position was one of knock it down and rebuild, due to the critical problem which prompted the delete request.

I posted above a list of the cases made in the old article, for the purpose of isolating which ones editors want to bring over and scrutinising them, and the purpose of balancing POV with what i believe are valid appeals, which not doubt will need scrutinising too.

I am still asorbing the clinical clarity of the new intro written by Walkinxyz, and am interested to read further. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:54, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Lisnabreeny, "knock it down and rebuild" was what you mistakenly thought could result from the AfD but that's not how it works.
There's a lot of changes that can be made... rather than focusing on "knock it down", I would suggest you focus on "rebuild" and imagine the article undergoing a transformation from where it's at now, to where you want to see it go.
There is no "old article"; there is no "bring it over"; there is only this article. As I said, I think filling this page with a long, out-of-context list wasn't very helpful. I know you mean well, but if there are specific things you'd like to discuss, you'll get a better response by presenting them in small bite-size proportions; so folks can nibble. Make sense?—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 12:27, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
I am upset to find that you are continuing to make presumptious statements about what i think. Simply I think (and have stated repeatedly) there is too much change required to proceed slowly with rebuilding the article, i am not the only editor to have stated this now. Lisnabreeny (talk) 16:20, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
The concept of 'old article' is valid. Your argument to me now is only redirection. There are plenty of other editors here to advise me on WP practice - while we have conflicting understanding of the article's material to resolve. You would be better employed, responding to my constructive request - which parts of the article do you wish to defend? (and are willing to discuss) and which parts we can unburden ourselves of? Lisnabreeny (talk) 16:20, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Do not post in the middle of other posts. Post afterward.
"presumptuous statements about you think"? Settle down. Editing will proceed in the usual way Wikipedia pages are edited.
I'm not arguing with you. You are arguing with me. I have no idea what you mean by "redirection". Fine, I won't waste time trying to help you but I will insist that follow WP policy and guidelines. Why do you say we have "conflicting understanding of the article's material to resolve"? I've repeatedly asked you to be specific and you post more generalities and polemics...
Better employed? You're not my boss. No, I will not be playing your game of which parts of the article do I want to defend. Speedy keep. Be bold.
I don't find your messages here to be constructive in any way.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 02:06, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Copy edit and revision

Some citations still need to be reviewed and/or added to support the claims in this article, but overall I think it is greatly improved. It is important to discuss appeals to nature as a potential informal fallacy, but certainly not to frame them all as either fallacies or not fallacies. That would be an invidious distinction.

Good discussion, everyone. If we can agree on the structure and wording of this article the way it is, I suggest we archive this discussion.

Best, Walkinxyz (talk) 23:53, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes i agree you and Machine Elf have managed to greatly improve the article. Thankyou.
I have further information on the sophist quote to discuss and possible balancing arguments to those put in the advertising/rational section. At least some response to the appearance of Baginnis statement.
I ended up reading a fair bit on appeals to nature and perhaps a general timeline will be possible. From presocratic, the sophists uses, through aristotle and the stoics considerable naturalistic leanings, modern philosophy i have yet to get to, Kant's critique of reason seemed to include some.. Moores.. There exists a whole published comment on Julia Anas "endiamonism and the appea to nature" to reference. Also how the concept of nature has changed with changing concepts of the universe with/without divine influence. So I may in time be able to fill out a brief 'tour'.
I agree with the suggestion to archive the discussion, and will not write as fast and loose in the forthcoming. Best regards, Lisnabreeny (talk) 17:51, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Bingo! Julia Annas. I'll post some of what I've cobbled together so far here on the talk page.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 18:23, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Objections to theories of evolution

Some argue against evolution by making an appeal to nature: If polygamy, infanticide and violence are shown to be natural behaviors, they would be morally acceptable. By the principle of charity, a missing premise for the reductio is assumed: they are not morally acceptable. However, it's uncontroversial that some facts of nature are not good or moral, and it's trivial to disingenuously suggest a non-conforming appeal to nature. Science, however, is not relevant, see sociobiological theories of rape.

I'm afraid that this paragraph as worded is absolutely impenetrable. I know the author was trying to improve it, but really, he misunderstood what I was saying. The idea that people may confuse a theory that explains a "natural" process of causation (evolution) with a normative theory about our behaviour should be obvious – in that when something is said to be "natural", that often entails a normative claim along the lines of "well, we see that as OK now."

The point about the missing premise is well taken. It should read "If, e.g. polygamy, infanticide and violence are shown to be natural behaviors, they would be morally acceptable."

Still, my original wording is correct:

These objections to evolution's morality are examples of a category error, in that they ascribe a normative dimension to a theory that is intended to explain phenomena which are the result of a process of causation

To clarify, it is a category error because they confuse one kind of explanation for another.

But to say that something is "uncontroversial" or "trivial to disingenuously suggest" is respectively OR and definitely not NPOV. The idea that there could simply be a case of misunderstanding here is much more "charitable" than what the author has set down. Walkinxyz (talk) 09:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

'Absolutely impenetrable' is a bit strong.
'The idea that people may confuse a theory that explains a "natural" process of causation (evolution) with a normative theory about our behaviour should be obvious – in that when something is said to be "natural", that often entails a normative claim along the lines of "well, we see that as OK now."' It assumes a naturalistic position in meta-ethics. Why a process of causation is (scare quotes) natural and how that does or does not relate to our normal behavior (or a normative theory of such) is non-trivial. That the conclusion "we see that as OK now" is common or appropriate is very questionable. I'm not convinced I "misunderstood" anything.
The point about the missing premise is well taken. It should read "If, e.g. polygamy, infanticide and violence are shown to be natural behaviors, they would be morally acceptable." Again, the naturalistic ethical predisposition remains entirely unexamined and I'm sorry, but that's not the point of the missing premise. I said the missing premise was x,y,z are immoral but if your statement had been missing, (it was not, more or less, missing), we wouldn't be talking about it here in this article, right?
"To clarify, it is a category error because they confuse one kind of explanation for another." No. Ethics are not about explanations. There is a category error appropriate to discuss in the context of the "naturalistic fallacy" and, really more generally, the "is-ought problem", that of equating value with fact. "Reductive naturalism" tries to accomplish that in various ways, but as you previously said, that's normative, not explanatory. The naturalistic fallacy is, however, prior to that: value statements can't be normative. It's all a bit beyond the appeal to nature proper, but because it's so often confused with the naturalistic fallacy, we need to be sensitive to all that.
'But to say that something is "uncontroversial" or "trivial to disingenuously suggest" is respectively OR and definitely not NPOV.' No, it's not OR, and you're way off base to call it NPOV. If you want to maintain, (and I don't believe that you do), that it is controversial then that's a positive claim that you need to support. I call it "trivial" to name off any number natural things that we wouldn't call "good" or "right" because it seems undeniable. And Walkinxyz, don't you think that's why it's not controversial to say that some natural things aren't good? I don't claim that is "why" in the article however... and please bear in mind we're talking about asserting "is good" without qualification.
'The idea that there could simply be a case of misunderstanding here is much more "charitable" than what the author has set down.' It's confusing to call me "the author", in fact, I take it you are the original contributor, (which I didn't realize, BTW). At any rate, please forgive my saying it, but this was a so-called "pathetic fallacy", a rhetorical appeal to pathos, that you're being more sympathetic than the so-called author. But enough with the fallacies already, right? The point is, I never claimed I was being charitable, that's just what supplying the missing argument is called in philosophy. That was perfectly clear by the linked reference to "principle of charity".
You haven't supported your claim that it's 'Absolutely impenetrable', and you haven't made a case that the section is about evolution... In good faith, I tried to generalize the section name to arguments against science. I'm open to suggestions and constructive criticism, but I hope you'll be less adversarial about my edits in the future. Thank you.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 18:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, but I found it so. I don't know what you mean by a "nonconforming appeal to nature", for starters.
The theory of "natural selection" is where the word natural ultimately comes from in this instance (I wasn't using them as scare quotes), in relation to evolution. And yes, the theory purports to explain a process of causation in nature, in the physical world. You should know by now that often appeals to nature do sometimes (or often) entail a "meta-ethical" position that includes normative claims along the lines of "well, we see that as OK, because it's natural" (it doesn't make them correct, but they are claims) and so you can see that someone who believes in that position (even if it's incoherent) might mistake a scientist for believing the same thing. Obviously, that's what the debunking here is in reaction to. However, this is all hypothetical, and doesn't cite any text, and I think it should, e.g. cite the context of the American Scopes trial in 1925, or something else where this position is made explicit.
You're ascribing formal or explicit premises to an argument that doesn't often seem to be framed in such a way (but again, we need text to be sure). The specifically immoral behaviours that someone would presumably cite (polygamy, infanticide and violence) are often considered immoral in Western culture, and so it's unclear that, as examples of what someone might claim is immoral, any particular premise is "missing". It may be unstated but that's often the case with premises.
From the article on category mistakes: A category mistake, or category error, is a semantic or ontological error in which "things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another" – this is a dictionary definition. So to present the theory of natural selection as having normative (ought) dimensions is, in fact, a category error, is it not? Because it isn't a moral theory, it's a theory in the natural sciences. Hence something of one kind (a theory in the natural sciences) is mistakenly presented, by people who object to the theory of evolution, as having moral implications, as attempting to explain what a moral theory, or perhaps a theology, would explain.
I don't think it's informative, and I think it's a little condescending, to present it in the way it is currently. To have to say things are "uncontroversial" or "trivial" or "disingenuous" implies there is someone who needs to be told what everyone knows already. But actually, we need text on the part of someone making the original claim against evolution, to properly make these distinctions.
No, I am not the original contributor, and I'm sorry for calling you the 'author', but you were the 'author' of your own contributions. Your ascription of pathetic fallacy is out of place. I think that we should be charitable here, and I think the article is being uncharitable (in exactly the same way as is described in the principle of charity article) to people making claims against evolution. The wording supposes they are being 'disingenuous', i.e. insincere, (something you can't possibly know, and certainly not without any text).
With respect, I think we're talking past one another here. I too am open to "suggestions and constructive criticism", but you deleted what I wrote rather than discussing it. Walkinxyz (talk) 19:22, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
By non-conforming appeal to nature, I mean an appeal to nature that doesn't conform to the rule of thumb, i.e., one that's not true and furthermore, one that's specifically chosen because it's not true.
The word natural, in this article, goes back long before the theory of natural selection. I know what evolution is, and I never denied 'the theory purports to explain a process of causation in nature, in the physical world'. You say "I should know by now"... and then you go on to speculate about what people sometimes say when they make an appeal to nature. In fact, I don't disagree with that speculation, (the sometimes version, not the often). You then you go on in defense of '"well, we see that as OK, because it's natural"' (leaving out the "now") which wasn't even something you said in the article... meta-ethical theories would have more than one issue with that, but then you seem to be saying that's what a reader will obviously assume a scientist believes? And this is now a response to my question "why would [anti-evolutionists] think the [evolutionists] believed X?". You seem to be confusing the two but I didn't ask something about why someone 'might mistake a scientist for believing...' You did not give any reason at all why anti-evolutionists thought the scientists believed X, and you did not claim they were mistaken in ascribing that belief, (that the scientists held an ethically shallow belief, which is to say, loose morals). No, I can't see any such thing, because, as you admit, you're not supplying any "claims" that people have made, you're telling a story without citing a single source and instead of backing-up your story with sources, and filling in the parts you left out, you're just arguing about it. And I have no idea how the "American Scopes trial in 1925" is supposed to be relevant, because you've left that part out.
This article is not the place for you to "debunk" anything.
'You're ascribing formal or explicit premises to an argument that doesn't often seem to be framed in such a way (but again, we need text to be sure).' Correct on both counts, people make bad arguments based on misleading advice about "fallacies" and the section should be deleted for lack of sourcing. So look, I'm not going argue with you about what western culture "thinks" is immoral. It was a missing premise in you're argument, not the anti-evolution activists and the section should clearly be deleted as OR.
You seem to be under the impression this is the evolution article. As I've said, there's a proper category error to be mentioned in this article with regard to the naturalistic fallacy and it has nothing to do with evolution or with so-called normative ethics. Your throw away comment in that short paragraph explained nothing... it didn't even suggest links. But it's just not relevant here and I'm perfectly fine with dropping the entire section. Your further comments make me wonder why you thought to "debunk" it in the first place if you thought it was so obvious and I disagree that I've been condescending to the reader but if you're calling me an anti-anti-evolutionist, guilty as charged.
Well, with respect, obviously, I discussed it, and this is a wiki, so it's not exactly deleted is it? And you say you didn't write it...* so please make a mental adjustment and save me the trouble of having to go back and rewrite this entire response to accommodate that correction. Now that we've waisted all this time on something we both think could be deleted... are you fine with my other changes or no?—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:00, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
* “Still, my original wording is correct...” or whatever.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:39, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Machine Elf, whatever you think you're responding to, it isn't the stuff that I said. It wasn't my argument in the article, or my missing premise, and I'm not trying to debunk anyone or anything. I'm also not trying to defend anyone or anything, I was just following the principle of trying to preserve work that other editors have already done, by writing some text about a category error, which you deleted (albeit not permanently… as you say, it's a wiki). But I wasn't the original contributor of the evolution stuff, and I personally don't give a damn about it, I just want the article to be the best it can be.
An "appeal to nature that doesn't conform to the rule of thumb" is one that isn't true? The "rule of thumb" view of the appeal to nature is just that, a view, and appeals to nature are not just "true or false" (if you appeal to my sense of decency, you don't just want me to believe what you're saying is true, you want me to treat you differently. And likewise, if you appeal to an understanding of nature, you may be making much more than a validity claim). So you're notion of a nonconforming appeal seems to me sort of a non sequitir.
Furthermore, I don't care whether or not you're an anti-anti-evolutionist, I just don't think you should call people disingenuous when you're trying to explain something to them or about them. And you do it again here: "one that's specifically chosen because it's not true". It isn't charitable, a standard which I appealed to because it was one with which it appeared you were familiar, whether you absorbed it or not. (You made other revisions that also indicated you weren't willing to be charitable – specifically, about the notion of providing different definitions of "nature" in order to refute somebody who makes a fallacious appeal to nature.)
The principle of charitable interpretation is not just something technical about arguments, it is a central principle of argument. And as to an earlier comment of yours, good faith does not apply when there is evidence to support the opposite. I said specifically that we need text from people who are criticizing scientists, in order to make any sense of them here, and that's what the reference to the Scopes trial was about. I'm glad that you've deleted the section, but I must say that I find your writing, and your reasoning here, a little careless.
The other changes I'm not that worried about, although I think modern should follow classical, since it continues the discussion of normativity (I don't know who changed that, but I changed it back). That's all I have to say about it for the time being. Sorry to be so grumpy, but we need to be more careful, or we'll end up wasting a lot more time here than we have already. Walkinxyz (talk) 07:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Machine Elf, whatever you think you're responding to, it isn't the stuff that I said. It wasn't my argument in the article, or my missing premise, and I'm not trying to debunk anyone or anything. I'm also not trying to defend anyone or anything, I was just following the principle of trying to preserve work that other editors have already done, by writing some text about a category error, which you deleted (albeit not permanently… as you say, it's a wiki). But I wasn't the original contributor of the evolution stuff, and I personally don't give a damn about it, I just want the article to be the best it can be.

Right, I think we covered the whole author thing. I didn't fault you for trying to preserve existing work and I explained why you might want to contribute your text about that category error to a different article.

An "appeal to nature that doesn't conform to the rule of thumb" is one that isn't true? The "rule of thumb" view of the appeal to nature is just that, a view, and appeals to nature are not just "true or false" (if you appeal to my sense of decency, you don't just want me to believe what you're saying is true, you want me to treat you differently. And likewise, if you appeal to an understanding of nature, you may be making much more than a validity claim). So you're notion of a nonconforming appeal seems to me sort of a non sequitir.

Walkinxyz, of the two arguments that we're able to source, it's obvious someone who is making an appeal does not believe it's a fallacy of relevance. That's absurd: "I'm asserting natural-X is good, but I'm wrong."

Just find a source saying they all wore matching I ♥ Derrida teeshirts or something and you can tell me all about them having a view of an appeal to an understanding of nature k,thx.

Unless you can back up what you're saying with a source, the argument is either true or false. Informal logic and formal logic aren't enough, you want fuzzy logic too? This is not the appeal to decency article and unless you have a source that says an appeal to nature is a request, all of this is idle musing.

The appeal to nature is described and cited in this article as a source of normativity going back to the Greeks. If that isn't enough for you, then you don't understand what a norm is. However, I'm not interested in continuing this conversation, so I'm going to drop it, and give you credit for the joke about Derrida t-shirts. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I've already deleted the entire unsourced section... I suppose "non-sequitur" is less obnoxious than "Absolutely impenetrable" but then again, you're still not done telling me how bad my edit was... not that you "give a damn"...

Furthermore, I don't care whether or not you're an anti-anti-evolutionist, I just don't think you should call people disingenuous when you're trying to explain something to them or about them. And you do it again here: "one that's specifically chosen because it's not true". It isn't charitable, a standard which I appealed to because it was one with which it appeared you were familiar, whether you absorbed it or not. (You made other revisions that also indicated you weren't willing to be charitable – specifically, about the notion of providing different definitions of "nature" in order to refute somebody who makes a fallacious appeal to nature.)

Well, I'll tell you, because it only made a point of saying the anti-evolutionists don't believe it, there was an implication that the scientists really do approve of killing babies naturally... But, to be perfectly honest, I just couldn't believe the anti-evolutionists were that stupid. Why would they believe that?

The fact is, there are a lot of social Darwinists out there who think that the theory of evolution justifies all kinds of psychopathic or sociopathic behaviour. It isn't just anti-evolutionists who think these things. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Right, no one ever makes an insincere polemic argument... I guess I'm just a horrible cynic :(

See WP:V – this is a standard you cannot meet in this situation. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

All I can say is, I didn't realize I was "trying to explain something to them or about them". I was under the impression I was explaining an argument and no one told me wikipedia is written for anti-evolutionists.

"Appeal to charity"... hey, that's almost like the subject of this page, only not. I know you don't believe that's a pathetic fallacy, but it is wrong, and it is pathetic, and it's cheep too: Equivocation fallacy#Semantic shift. That last vague remark wasn't even about my edits to the article, it was about rejecting one of your customized notions here in this thread. Are you sure you "don't give a damn"? It sounds like nothing could be further from the truth (see WP:FUCK).

The principle of charitable interpretation is not just something technical about arguments, it is a central principle of argument. And as to an earlier comment of yours, good faith does not apply when there is evidence to support the opposite. I said specifically that we need text from people who are criticizing scientists, in order to make any sense of them here, and that's what the reference to the Scopes trial was about. I'm glad that you've deleted the section, but I must say that I find your writing, and your reasoning here, a little careless.

No, don't accuse me of failing to WP:AGF without a diff to back it up. I just think you're way off topic because you're not familiar with what's relevant in philosophy. I don't think you have a political agenda, do you? It's ok if you do... attributed POV edits are permissible if they're sourced and they're not given undue weight. You think we need text "criticizing scientists"... Go to town! I'm not here to stop you.

Well, I've said as much about your writing and reasoning, so fair enough.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 12:54, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

See WP:V – this is a standard you cannot meet in this situation. Walkinxyz (talk) 11:59, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I'll just note that you're using a misguided appeal to policy as a polemic tactic. It is in no way verifiable, WP:V, that I am a cynic or that I was being cynical, and the unsourced stories being discussed obviously aren't WP:V either.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 16:44, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

The informal logic fallacy ref

The intro begins "An appeal to nature is a type of argument" and then refs 'argument' to Informal logic > fallacy at Stanford encyclopedia. The ref does not mention appeals to nature, yet is placed where one would think it should be particularly relevant. It is my understanding at this stage, that "appeal to nature" is used to refer to arguments of any kind which involve.. an appeal to nature. Have we established that doing so, makes an argument informal? eg. are the appeals to nature discussed by Julia Annas and Cooper formal or informal? I think either the article should state "An appeal to nature is a type of informal fallacious argument" or this ref is misplaced. Any objections to it being removed? Perhaps the argument link, could be linked to argument (disambiguation) to avoid undue association with formal argument which is the current target. Lisnabreeny (talk) 18:23, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

They're end notes explaining what sort of argument it is. I added it after it was changed to back to fallacy of relevance (and reverted by W). I don't see why that would lack relevance...
It refers to two different views on the one form of argument... that we're aware of, and it's also a concept in philosophy. Perhaps it's more to the point that the views on the informal argument are sourced but no formal arguments have been sourced. Annas is discussing a fairly broad concept in philosophy, not an argument.
Do you mean informal fallacy? What changed your mind? The rule of thumb view doesn't consider it to be a fallacy.
Yes, I disagree. I'm not finding your reasoning persuasive.
One generally doesn't link to a disambiguation page except in dab hats... perhaps there's a section in some article that discusses informal arguments?—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:11, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to me to explain what sort of argument it is. It seems like a commentary on the relationship of formal logic to informal logic, and the discussion generally of the latter through the analysis of fallacies. How does this tell us anything about the kind of argument the one under discussion might be? Is the reference there in order to defend the notion that a "formal" argument isn't necessarily the only kind? But obviously it isn't the only kind, or there wouldn't be any need for the modifier "formal". Are all arguments either one or the other? Don't all arguments have a "form"? Why must it be framed in terms of this binary? There are many, many kinds of arguments that are distinguishable by their "form" but would not necessarily be defined as a "formal" argument. It seems to me this note would better be placed with something that refers to fallacies, and not an argument in general. Walkinxyz (talk) 23:48, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I've added "informal". In fact, it's disputed that There are many, many kinds of arguments that are distinguishable by their "form" but would not necessarily be defined as a "formal" argument. This is the line that was changed to read "fallacy of relevance", and if it's to be changed back, which you did without explanation, some note of the ambiguity of the notion of fallacy per informal argument should be given. Moreover, it's not always considered to be a fallacy by "informal logicians" ("critical thinkers" or however one might refer to those in this very new field) but that discussion is in a section rather far down on the page, even though it seems to be what the term is most notable for these days.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 17:37, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Well there has been consensus here that it isn't just simply a fallacy, however "notable" are fallacious employments of it. I reverted the article when somebody changed "argument" to "fallacy of relevance." An early version of this article defined the appeal to nature itself as a fallacy, and the consensus was that it should not be defined so.
I have no real problem including "informal" in the definition, especially with the note attached to it. The note is a little long-winded though, and I think the part on fallacy theory should be cited at some more relevant part of the article, a part which is specifically about fallacies.
Walkinxyz (talk) 00:01, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree, we had consensus on that and I wanted to supply a note that conveys some of the complexity surrounding fallacies. I also agree I clipped too much text, so go right ahead if if you'd like to trim it down... or I could do. I think it should mention it's a new field, distinct from philosophy, and that there's no definitive taxonomy of fallacies—but rather, various listings to be found in textbooks and on websites.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 04:54, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Appeals to nature are only described as "informal" by the very simplistic, rough and ready, self published 'fallacy' refs. (there are reviewed, encyclopedic fallacy refs available too, and none of them mention "appeal to nature" as a fallacy)
I don't think the philosophy article should state that appeals to nature must be informal, unless that can be cited, or at least somehow deduced. Here is another ref about appeals to nature in philosophy:
[3]"For all its ranting sound, Callicles has a straightforward and logically valid argument here: (1) observation of nature can disclose the content of ‘natural justice’; (2) nature is to be observed in the realms where moral conventions have no hold, viz among states and among animals; (3) such observation discloses the domination and exploitation of the weak by the strong; (4) therefore, it is natural justice for the strong to rule over and have more than the weak. From a modern point of view, premise (1) is likely to appear the most dubious, for it violates the plausible principle, most famously advanced by David Hume, that no normative claims may be inferred from purely empirical premises (‘no ought from an is’). But then, legitimate or not, this kind of appeal to nature runs through almost all of ancient ethics: it can be traced in the moral theories of Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, and the Stoics, among others. So Plato's objection is instead to some combination of (2) and (3): Callicles gets nature wrong. In truth, Socrates insists once he has refuted Callicles, “partnership and friendship, orderliness, self-control, and justice hold together heaven and earth, and gods and men, and that is why they call this universe a world order, my friend, and not an undisciplined world-disorder” (507e-508a). Callicles advocates pleonexia only because he ‘neglects geometry’ (508a): instead of predatory animals, we should observe and emulate the orderly structure of the cosmos as a whole."
Lisnabreeny (talk) 03:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
It's not the appeal to nature that's described as informal, it's the entire field of research into fallacies that's described as informal (as opposed to traditional [formal] logic in philosophy). I've yet to see any "reviewed encyclopedic fallacy refs". SEP says they're scattered references that are available in textbooks and websites—nothing so authoritative.
No one is saying an appeal to nature can't be logically valid. Rather, quite the opposite, that they're not invalid as a matter of course; that even those who consider them a fallacy of relevance are not doing so on the basis of logical invalidity. They're doing so informally. With the possible exception of Annas, however, I've yet to see a modern analytic argument that's explicitly based on an appeal to nature.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 04:54, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
"It's not the appeal to nature that's described as informal" - Currently in the article it is. - "An appeal to nature is a type of informal argument that depends..."
"I've yet to see any 'reviewed encyclopedic fallacy refs'."
- Here is one, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy >[4] ,205 fallacies including naturalistic fallacy. No "appeal to nature fallacy".
Here are some other fallacy collections, which do not include any mention of appeal to nature: 150 fallacies > [5] , 42 fallacies > [6] , 67 fallacies > [7], ~50 fallacies > [8]
The only references for appeal to nature fallacy i can find (not including all of the mirrors of the old wikipedia article), are the fallacyfiles page (which incorrectly aliases a.t.n. with naturalistic fallacy), and a six sentence entry in infidels.org, for "natural law fallacy" which despite its brevity manages to squeeze in a link to the 'unabomber' manifesto. This couple of references are simply mistaken. Lisnabreeny (talk) 14:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

The fallacyfile.org ref

This reference seems to me like it should be beneath wikipedias standards.

  • The webpage states "appeal to nature" is an alias of "naturalistic fallacy", something we know not be true by this stage.
  • The webpage claims that any statement of natural as a good thing is wrong.
  • In its own choosen example, it makes a clear factual error: "However, the carcinogens in cigarettes that cause cancer are natural components of tobacco." - This is not true. Some natural components of tobacco are carcinogenic, and some additives are too. That is a very simple fact to check.[9],[10]...
  • Some smokers prefer the taste or the feel of 100% natural tobacco blends, why does the author assume peoples ignorance? For his example to be valid, natural tobacco blends could not differ in any detectable form, taste, feel or health from blends with additives.
  • The reference is self published, and of a very poor standard of reasoning.

Lisnabreeny (talk) 04:12, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

It does not claim that any statement of natural as a good thing is wrong. And it's talking about American Spirit "all natural" cigarettes so presumably there are no additives, carcinogenic or otherwise. It's just meant to highlight the irony... Self-published sources are acceptable in some cases, take it up on the reliable sources notice board if you want, but that website is the only source that says a modern appeal to nature is not a fallacy, i.e. that a virtue claimed solely on the basis of being natural is not automatically wrong.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 05:12, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
"It does not claim that..."
- It does claim that, (beyond any doubt - It even sets the claim out in generalised form : "N is natural. Therefore, N is good or right. U is unnatural. Therefore, U is bad or wrong." (is fallacy/wrong), elsewhere in the article and in the comments it effectively retracts the claim. The quoted section of Bagginis text, does not mention "appeal to nature" at all, the author is just choosing to associate it, as it is already incorrectly aliasing appeal to nature with naturalistic fallacy.
"that website is the only source that says a modern appeal to nature is not a fallacy, "i.e. that a virtue claimed solely on the basis of being natural is not automatically wrong."
Which other sources say that it is a fallacy? I find one other insubstanital, also self published, non academic source, which very breifly makes the claim, and a list of other references on fallacies which do not. Perhaps there is an argument to put, that naturalness is too often presented as having benefits, that are not properly defined, or even can not be properly defined due to difficulty with defining the word natural... I do not mind seeing such arguments put, and discussed, but the relevant fallacy is the (much debated/diversely understood) naturalistic fallacy. This aliasing with "appeal to nature" and the idea that all "appeals to nature" commit/ might commit the naturalistic fallacy, is simply a confusion carried by.. so far we have identified two, most casual references, and multiple more substantial references which do not make that claim. And this referencing issue, is even in addition to the multiple academic employments of the term we have found, none of which state a.t.n. is an invalid/fallacious/settled argument type, not even Hume does. Lisnabreeny (talk) 15:56, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

And/or validity?

Yes, because the content of a concept must inform the validity of any particular truth-claim associated with it. There is no such thing as purely formal validity, or validity without substance, except in theory. There is always some content in any particular validity claim. Walkinxyz (talk) 08:05, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Says who? You? As I explained, you're muddling informally cogent with formally valid and you're doing so unnecessarily and unilaterally.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 08:28, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Please do not revert the dispute text again based on your WP:OR. See Argument#Validity for why you're mistaken, and see the SEP article for a discussion of validity vis-à-vis informal logic.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 14:47, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
There are no sources cited in that section of the argument article. It is in fact the original research in this case. Even still, broadly interpreted, "Arguments may be either valid or invalid" does not mean that they are necessarily one or the other that is all they are. For a critique of Habermas' error in this regard, see the chapter "World Disclosing Arguments?" in Nikolas Kompridis, Critique and Disclosure, MIT Press (2006), pp.116-125.
From Argument#Validity: "The validity of an argument depends, however, not on the actual truth or falsity of its premises and conclusions, but solely on whether or not the argument has a valid logical form. The validity of an argument is not a guarantee of the truth of its conclusion. A valid argument may have false premises and a false conclusion."
Validity is something that nonetheless still depends on there being premises, and those premises are contained in the "content" of an implicit understanding, i.e. one or another operative concept of "nature". They are not found in any logical procedure that determines validity. While it's true that an understanding of nature (premises) are not in themselves sufficient to establish validity, I never claimed they were. You simply misunderstood the sentence I wrote. Walkinxyz (talk) 12:34, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
"There are no sources cited in that section of the argument article. It is in fact the original research in this case. Even still, broadly interpreted, "Arguments may be either valid or invalid" does not mean that they are necessarily one or the other that is all they are."
You could look at the SEP article... and needless to say, you're welcome to research the matter as you please. I'm not citing WP as a WP:RS, I've only provided you a quick link, for your convenience, because I did skim through it and it looked good enough to me. If you're concerned about WP:OR in the argument article, you could raise the issue at Talk:Argument but I'd advise some degree of caution: validity always refers to the concept in formal logic. See Informal argument#Criticism for an extended discussion of "formal" and note that if formalism is rejected, so must validity be rejected: "[Massey] maintains that there is no method of establishing the invalidity of an argument aside from the formal method..."
I'm sure you don't mean to say that an entirely novel formal language must be understood, sui generis, just to determine if an argument is valid in it's own right. What you mean by validity, I imagine, is something like "reasonableness", "persuasiveness", "acceptability", "applicability", or perhaps "self-consistency"... If you're interested, you might want to look at: Interpretation, Propositional logic#Basic concepts and First-order logic#Semantics, as well as the Validity article itself. I believe you'll find that nowhere, in any article concerned with logic and philosophy, is the term "validity" taken as ambiguous in this regard.
I suggest you find a way to arrive at consensus without insisting on the words "and/or validity", because the WP:BURDEN is yours, and it's disruptive edit warring to just keep reverting it back, regardless of changes elsewhere (most recently, so that "content" is no longer explicit). And saying that I misunderstand, is also not a reason to revert. Walkinxyz, I do think the issue of validity completely misses the point, and so it shouldn't be in the lead. Perhaps, you'll understand that's why I want to fix it by removing "and/or validity"? Any missing premises granted under the principle of charity must be made explicit, and it cannot be used to invalidate an argument. But I take it you're not suggesting that something be said about the principle of charity, "implicit" premises, etc.Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
The article on validity explicitly contradicts your claim that "validity always refers to the concept in formal logic":
The term validity in logic (also logical validity) is largely synonymous with logical truth. However, the term is used in different contexts.
And also, the article on Logical truth says the following:
Logical truths (including tautologies) are truths which are considered to be necessarily true… However, it is not universally agreed that there are any statements which are necessarily true.
I don't know whether you can make sense of that. It doesn't seem logical to me, in fact, it is rather puzzling. I am inclined to believe that there is such a thing as logical truth.
To clarify, I am referring to validity understood as truth claims (or truth-candidacy), and I am saying that the intelligibility of such claims, and therefore also their formal validity, is contingent on our understanding of the particular premises entailed by those claims (although not their particular truth values).
Let's say that a given understanding of nature includes the premises that (1) all things in nature ought to be respected, and (2) that it is disrespectful to spill large amounts of oil into the oceans. And I argue that we should not spill large amounts of oil into the oceans, because they are a part of nature and it would be disrespectful to do so.
First of all, is this argument formally valid? And if so, does no part of the understanding of nature bear on the validity of the argument?
We can put it another way. A given understanding of nature includes the premise that (1) all things in nature ought to be respected, and (2) it would be disrespectful to spill large amounts of oil into the oceans, which are a part of nature. But instead of the above, I argue that we should therefore spill whatever we want to into the oceans. Is this argument formally valid, and if so, does that validity have anything to do with the premises?
To make sense of the logical form or structure of the argument, you need to know what is entailed by "respecting" something, and that respecting something is different from doing whatever you want. Therefore, an understanding of what we're talking about is a necessary part of establishing validity. Am I wrong? Please tell me, instead of referring me to a theory. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:50, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
The article on validity explicitly contradicts your claim that "validity always refers to the concept in formal logic": The term validity in logic (also logical validity) is largely synonymous with logical truth. However, the term is used in different contexts.
Different contexts in logic as opposed to... whatever casual English language scenario I'd offered that you might be talking about? That does not contract me.
To clarify, I am referring to validity understood as truth claims (or truth-candidacy), and I am saying that the intelligibility of such claims, and therefore also their formal validity, is contingent on our understanding of the particular premises entailed by those claims (although not their particular truth values).
So let me get this straight, per you, "intelligibility", [meaning... "meaning"?] means... claiming... what?
Instead of just finding an WP:RS, (because that would be too easy?)... you're just claiming that claiming is called "validity"?
...“To make sense of the logical form or structure of the argument, you need to know what is entailed by "respecting" something, and that respecting something is different from doing whatever you want. Therefore, an understanding of what we're talking about is a necessary part of establishing validity. Am I wrong? Please tell me, instead of referring me to a theory.
Based on your example, I can say, without a doubt, that what you're saying just ain't right. I think "cogency" is all you need and it might even be what you're looking for? A little farther afield, there's validating, as in: "No disrespect, I can validate what you're feeling but I can't verify it's accuracy per WP:V; know what I'm saying?"... Consider the reason why logicians can just write all that stuff with the meaningless letters and funny symbols... for example, if we could depend on some wikipedian, say... FormalJimbo, who diligently transcribes everything we're talking about into a formal language, then "an understanding of what we're talking about" would not be "a necessary part of establishing validity"; nor would it even help to establish validity. On the other hand, without FormalJimbo and without theory... "an understanding..." wouldn't be sufficient to "establish validity", because we've just declared it's undefined (¬see interpretation).—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 08:20, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

I see your objection to this statement as "unnecessary and unilateral" and probably owing to your previously expressed POV, that all "appeals to nature" are somehow inherently or 'as a rule of thumb' invalid. Lisnabreeny (talk) 18:17, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

That is ridiculous and disruptive. See WP:V, WP:OR, and WP:BURDEN, WP:AGF, and WP:NPA.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 18:30, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not agree. Lisnabreeny (talk) 19:06, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I am reading on dispute resolution. I am the 'third opinion' in this particular case, and since Machine Elf could not respect it, and since i find this particular case typical of Machine Elf's response to disputes, i will seek to have my own, and Machine Elfs conduct reviewed soon. It looks like their needs to be a second editor willing to sign up to a review process (on both of us i assume) So, if either Walkinxyz, or Machine Elf, or another editor is willing to sign or advise on how to resolve the conflict/s, i believe that would be helpful at this stage. Best wishes. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:06, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
We've never been in an edit dispute Lisnabreeny. Read up. The WP:BURDEN is on you to source the words "and/or validation". You can't just gang up on me and override material challenged as WP:OR, especially when the source says it's dead wrong WP:V. It's well known that validity depends on the form of an argument, not on the content. I suggest you have a care not to embarrass yourself or Walkinxyz. Argument#ValidityMachine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:42, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I am not trying to gang up on you. I need another signature to request formal arbitration on OUR disputes, which this particular dispute exemplifies (and which is an(other) edit dispute between us. If you agree to that perhaps you can provide the other signature. I find you latest comments explicity abusive, and presumably you do mine. So let us sign up to arbitration. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:17, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not interested in mediating a dispute between the two of you, but if you feel that you need a mediator, by all means, pursue it. Most of the debate that Machine Elf and myself have had is around text that we both agreed should be deleted anyway, and it seems we've just been clearing the dead brush away with our back-and-forth meanderings.

As for the validity stuff, if Machine Elf thinks he's justified in making the distinction as hard as he is, so be it. He doesn't understand that meaning is inherently prior to, and enables, validity in discourse, and that's his problem. At least one important philosopher has made the same error, so he's in good company. The error can't be proven or "verified", it just requires something to be "shown", and I don't have time to show him at the moment. That doesn't make him right, but it could be worded more clearly in the lead to remove any ambiguity, so I went ahead and removed the reference to the "content" of the understanding of nature, and put the "and/or validity" back in. Walkinxyz (talk) 12:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree Walkinxyz, most of our discussion has been focused rather narrowly on an issue unrelated to the definition in the lead. (It was more than a bit off-topic at times but I too enjoy a good argument so a user or project talk page would be a better forum in the future). Please see my above response about reverting again and, if you would please, do try to be less attached and more flexible about your contributions. Thanks. Robert Quillen said: “Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.” —Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough. I do not have a good idea how to find a mediator or signator for dispute review, so if a concerned wikipedian 'moderator' or such happens to notice, please advise in my talk page (where i have been accused of errors i did not make, and repeatedly of lying there, and of "transparent, easily provable, and incessant" lying here. Lisnabreeny (talk) 16:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Would someone please advise Lisnabreeny.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:20, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Ive calmed down - from being repeatedly called a liar, and being blamed for refactoring mishaps i did not make. Whatever, if this kind of thing is de rigueur on WP so be it - on with the content... Lisnabreeny (talk) 18:32, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Am I not giving you enough attention Lisnabreeny? We've been through this you know... you've never been called a liar, not even once, so quit lying about it. Don't you get tired of this? You've been repeatedly told that you weren't blamed for anything... but you keep reacting like some sort of trauma victim.
Hey, I found what you posted about the rule of thumb, LOL... I must have skimmed over that thing at least a dozen times. You'd have done better to have taken the opportunity to raise awareness, instead of vomiting bile all week because I wouldn't let you move it to a different section.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 19:37, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

After an edifying discussion at WikiProject Philosophy, I have identified the particular understanding of nature that is used in an appeal to nature, as a determining factor ("among others") in determining an argument's validity in the lead section of this article. Please note, that this is not an "edit war" or a "reversion", but a reflection of the consensus I think has been reached on this issue, and a consequent addition of relevant information. Walkinxyz (talk) 23:56, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Once again, Machine Elf reverted the change, accusing me of not even pointing out my edit here (!) and I have reverted it back, with an excellent source that explains the issue of validity in a situation like this, and why it applies to an everyday understanding in an ordinary language argument. It does not refer to a formalized validity proof, but to the "justification" of a validity claim in the common space of everyday reasons.

And Pfhorrest, who gave the only complete answer to my question on WIkiProject Philosophy, also agreed with me in terms of the logical priority of meaning to validity, a conversation which Machine Elf did not bother to comment on:

Formally, you can never validly infer directly from some P directly to some Q... without first showing that P breaks down into some other combination of propositions which together entail the propositions which likewise compose Q […] In that sense, yes, the meaning of the propositions matters to the argument's validity, inasmuch as the meaning tacitly functions as a premise in the argument.

Logicalgregory indeed "advised" me not to go there, but I wasn't seeking advice, I was seeking an opinion. And even he agreed with me:

You could argue that p has to be a truth bearer, and if it is a truth bearer it must be a statement, and if it is a statement it must be meaningful (intelligible?). That is, that unintelligible sentences have no truth value and, therefore, no place in logic.

My dictionary (Oxford) says that a fallacy is "a mistaken belief, esp. one based on unsound argument". But in that case, how can there be an informal fallacy if validity and soundness are properties of formal arguments alone? The answer is, they aren't.

The "stubbornness" here isn't mine, sorry. – Walkinxyz (talk) 10:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)


After an edifying discussion at... Once again, Machine Elf reverted the change, accusing me of not even pointing out my edit here (!)
After? It ain't over and you should have posted a notice here at the start smart-alec.
So, do you want to come clean about your alleged consensus to do what all?!?
Who would have guessed I would have reverted? Just because it's absurd to tell the reader they need to understand what someone's saying...
It's understood that "cogency and/or validity" is nonsense, and your alleged mandate by consensus from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Philosophy#The logical priority of meaning to validity is "misguided and/or delusional".
and I have reverted it back, with an excellent source that explains the issue of validity in a situation like this, and why it applies to an everyday understanding in an ordinary language argument.
Excellent source? You mean an irrelevant excuse for OR from your teacher's teacher that explicitly uses the German word? Gültigkeit ja?
a conversation which Machine Elf did not bother to comment on
Oh? Shall I?
“The correctness of this seems frightfully obvious to me, and if people think I'm wrong, then I've stepped into a very Kafka-esque parallel universe where down is the new up. Walkinxyz (talk) 04:51, 22 February 2011 (UTC)”
und es weinte ungültige kakerlaken...(,-_-)
And Pfhorrest, who gave the only complete answer to my question on WIkiProject Philosophy, also agreed with me
Also, as in besides yourself? No, Pfhorrest was speaking generally and had no clue that humoring you means you get permission to redefine validity, original research, edit war, reversion, consensus...
Logicalgregory indeed "advised" me not to go there, but I wasn't seeking advice, I was seeking an opinion. And even he agreed with me
What I said was: "They very clearly advised against it." So, when people disagree with you, it's unwanted advice, and when you refuse to drop it until they humor you, then you're right about everything?
Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, what did Logicalgregory say?
“intelligibility of such claims, and therefore also their formal validity”. I am not sure that formal validity is dependent on intelligibility. It would seem at first sight that “not (p and (not p))” is formally valid even if p is unintelligible. Of course, if p is unintelligible the argument is useless, but some would still want to call it valid. You could argue that p has to be a truth bearer, and if it is a truth bearer it must be a statement, and if it is a statement it must be meaningful (intelligible?). That is, that unintelligible sentences have no truth value and, therefore, no place in logic. This may be correct but its a much longer argument. It would go deep into the theory of meaning. Personally, I would not go there, instead I would limit my universe of discourse to meaningful statements viz. any argument that is valid and meaningful... blah, blah, blah.--Logicalgregory (talk) 07:14, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, let's agree the reader is not an imbecile.
My dictionary (Oxford) says that a fallacy is "a mistaken belief, esp. one based on unsound argument". But in that case, how can there be an informal fallacy if validity and soundness are properties of formal arguments alone? The answer is, they aren't.
Whoa! Did you just write that you've determined validity and soundness are not properties of formal arguments alone?
And it's the consensus of the two users you named that that you're right, and this is one of those, and anyone who says different is wrong? And based on this revelation, despite the fact there's only one source, a very borderline website, (arguably sub-borderline, but not bat-shit-crazy like this)...
Screw sources, hail OR! It's an informal fallacy that (Shazam!) is a formal fallacy, never true? or (Shazam! Shazam!) never false?? or (Gültigkeit!) sometimes can be true and/or false? Only Kompridis knows...
The "stubbornness" here isn't mine, sorry.
Sure sport, only 4 reverts, you're a real team player. Oh, I forgot, you claim the consensus per Pfhorrest & Logicalgregory et al. specifically determined they're not a “"reversion"” (when you make 'em). Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:51, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

"Informal argument" creates an invidious distinction?

The source cited in this note acknowledges that the distinction between formal and informal argument is becoming less informative important/persuasive in philosophy. If we are implying a distinction between a "formalized" proof in logic, and an "informal argument," the distinction is even invidious. An appeal to nature could very well be stated in "formal" logical terms, or in a "formal" (i.e. professional, distinctly logical) setting. Therefore, since I don't think this distinction is informative, and is likely to cause resentment or misunderstanding, it should be removed. Walkinxyz (talk) 00:01, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree as discussed. I removed the unessential attribute 'informal' and moved the ref down to the discussion on fallacy. I think the intro is clear and clinical and uncontentious like this, except with the view that appeal to nature is inherently problematic. Some evidence and discussion for that view is present in the article and could probably do with improvement, but spiking the intro is not the way to make up for the views lack of representation in the article. I think if the view can be successfuly referenced and/or reasoned in the article, then there might be a case for including it in the intro. Some people might read that since the intro does not include the view of informality/problematicness/fallacy, it is at odds with it, but it could only be at odds by its neutrality. The current intro does not state any presumed outcome of the cogency/validity etc, it should not do so until such a presumption is established. Lisnabreeny (talk) 22:11, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Very good. Walkinxyz (talk) 04:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Good idea splitting the ref between inform and fallacy. The lead needs sourcing for anything not sourced in the article.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 06:28, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Julia Annas - the "ancient" appeal to nature

My disjointed notes so far
they're messy, so the quoting (typos) and page numbers might not be exact (also, some page numbers are missing here and there). All that stuff needs double checking before any of it goes in the article... not that we should use all of it! I've tried to go through it here and put quotes around the material I haven't paraphrased yet. I'm just posting it so we can work on it together and be on the same page... yada yada... —Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 19:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Annas observes that modern naturalism became an unfortunate slogan attached to reductionist theses, and thus includes forms of metaphysicalism, for example. Still, a naturalist theory that appeals from ethical facts to ethical facts about nature would strike most ethical theorists today as strange, even though the slogan is superficially applicable to the ancient theories and it's plausible that the more broadly generous reductionist notion would be comparable. "It is perhaps because the narrow notion has been the more prominent one in modern discussion that the ancient appeal to nature has been so widely misconstrued, and indeed that any appeal to nature in ethical contexts has received critically rather short shrift."[1] By excluding self-justifications, appeal to nature can support ethical claims in the modern sense.
“The ancient appeal to nature is an appeal to what human nature is.[2] And, “the appeal to nature is also an appeal to an ideal, an ethical ideal, articulated by an ethical thoery, in terms of which I can locate, criticize and modify those elements in my ethical beliefs which rely merely on convention. For beliefs which I have acquired in an uncritical way from my social environment cannot be relied on to be taking me in the right direction; … they can be taken to be faulty and misleading. Appealing to nature gives not an ethical ideal in terms of which to reject those beliefs which turn out to conflict with it, and better to understand those beliefs which are in fact in conformity with it. For what is natural about me is objectively so, whereas many of my beliefs may rest on nothing better than convention. But we plainly do not, just from a conception of human nature … conclude that we should all do the same specific things in life.”
p.136 ?
“Stoicism presents some complications because it introduces "cosmic or universal nature," We should make virtue the most important thing in our lives, according to the Stoics, because that is what accords with human nature. We should cultivate the virtues only because they enable us to achieve true pleasure, according to the Epicureans, because that is in accordance with human nature. Though they disagree about waht it is that human nature requires for its fulfilment, they agree that it is human nature that we should look to, if we are to determine the proper place of virtue in our lives.”
p.137
“'Nature' is for the Greeks just 'what there is', the world that hte sciences study, [ and (apart from Plato in some other-worldly moods) no philosopher doubted that we humans are part of that world and are subject to scientific study just like other parts of it.”
“Hence nature is commonly contrasted with artefacts, the products of techne.
“However, the Greeks did not regard human nature, as it functions in ethical argument, as uncontroversially as this might suggest. Human nature enters into ethical argument in different ways, as we shall see, but never in the role of uncontroversial 'scientific' fact.”
nature in ancient ethics
“What is the role of nature in ancient ethics? Sometimes it serves as the inescapable aspects of ourselves, our nature being those features of our lives which we have to plan around and cannot plan away. … the goal or end of human development; the natural life is the life led … in a natural way, … without interference from other, external factors.”
presupposes two assumptions distinguish between
  1. the person's nature … what the person naturally does and what is done to him by way of interference.
  2. forms an expression of a person's nature and what forms a corruption of it—“between a natural and an unnatural development the notion of nature … is not a neutral, 'brute' fact; it is storngly normative
“In defending virtue by showing it to be natural we are not pointing from value to fact, or from evaluative to non-evaluative facts. Thus ancient theories are not open to the objection that they over-simplify or trivialize ethics by treating ethical issue as soluble by a quick examination of 'the facts'. For anicent eithics, the facts in question are neither simple nor obtainable by a quick glance; they are facts which take some finding and the discovery of which involves making evaluative distinctions.”
p.140
A modern ethical analysis typically considers nature as constraining particular activities for an agent in consideration of some goal. (Nagel)
Aristotle says how we conceive of our telos, (final good, goal, end) depends on
  1. “whether we express this by saying that the end does not appear a certain way to us by nature, or”
  2. “whether we concede that it is natural, but insist that it is still up to us how we develop.”
“Plainly Aristotle takes it to be essential that nature does not depend on ethical development;”
‘that which depends on us, is distinguished from our nature.’
“In Aristotle's account of virtue in II 1 The virtues do not come about by nature:”
‘...a stone which moves dowards by nature could not be habituated to move upwards, not even if you habituated it by throwing it upwards ten thousand times, nor fire to move downwards; nothing which is naturally one way can be habituated to be antoher way. So the virtues come about in us netiher by nature nor contrary to nature; we are by nature fit to acquire them, but we are made complete though habituations.’
In contrast to "claims about actions that are required or permitted or about ways to bring about certain consequences", one contemplates the form of one's final end, or final good, (telos) vis-à-vis its virtues.
Despite the general singularity of the ideal telos, this appeal to nature does not homogenize or establish a particular way of life. It is free of prescriptive guidance. And thus the argument that the ancient appeal to nature must be unacceptably constricting fails.
p.141
“...no ancient theory allows that it could be in accordance with nature to give non-ethical aims primacy over ethical; whatever the precise role given to virtue, it does not allow non-virtuous aims to override it. Bernard Williams has claimed this as a fault in ancient ethics, stressing what he calls 'the Gauguin problem'. Human nature is capable of many kinds of development—moral, artistic, cultural, scientific, spiritual. And a given individual may feel that he has to give a cultural or spiritual aim precedence over a major ethical aim (Gauguin providing a striking example). Ancient ethical theory is in this respect, Williams claims, naive. Our aims are many and complex, and we have no reason to believe that in any one individual life all (or even many) worthwhile human aims can be fulfilled harmoniously. Nor do we have any reason to believe that the excellent development of human nature will always give primacy to the ethical.”
“The complexity that Williams points to is undeniable; does it show that there is something wrong in principle with the appeal to nature? Clearly not. The ancients recognize the diversity and richness of human nautre and its capacities as much as we can; they are not denying anything about the way we are (or about the possiblity of a Gauguin). They do make the claim that the ideally virtuous agent would have a life which was internally harmonious and unified by her possession of the virtues; but this is a claim about an ideal, not a denial of the way people actually live. Is it, however, objectionable, and perhaps naive, even as an ideal? Whether this is so cannot be determined before we have seen more about the kind of ideal which anicent theories have, and its relation to happiness. The ancient appeal to nature does not, then presuppose teleology, and does not impose a single specific set of activeites on any human life. Nor is it an appeal to allegedly simple and uncontroversial facts. Rather, as with happiess, the thought is that we all have some glimmerings of what is natural, but that many of us may be very wrong about its direction and implications, and need the help of philosophy, in the form of ethical theory, to improve and ocrrect our views.”
“The differnet schools come to very different conclusions as to what is natural. They also differ in their success in uniting the two major roles of nature nature as the given facts about ourselves which ethical theory has to respect, and nature as an ethical ideal.”
“while the appeal to nature takes different forms in different theories it [is] a common element in ancient eudaimonistic ethical theories.”[3] The theories of Aristotle, the Stoics, Antiochus, the Epicureans and the Sceptics isolate distinct points of interest about the appeal to nature, and taken severally, provide good coverage its merits and shortcomings as a factual basis for ethics.
Natural justice
two parts of Aristotle's Ethics
discussion of natural and conventional justice in Book V, chapter 7. Aristotle contrasts two kinds of political (or social) justice, natural and conventional.
Natural justice is what has the same force everywhere, regardless of what people think, whereas conventional justice lays down as just what was previously indifferent. The force of nature here must clearly be greater than that of mere nature. Aristotle is not contrasting what is conventional with what is just for people before they start on proper ethical development; what is naturally just is just for people who have properly developed. objection that no justice can be natural, on the gournds that what is natural is not changeable but the same everywhere it turns up...”
“Aristotle agrees that actual just arrangements are subject to change, but adds that this is consistent with there being a natural justice which is the best everywhere.”


I think these notes are very relevant in our search to establish the usage of the term in philosophical texts. Your notes include a number of possibly isolatable definitions. There is also published comment on her work here:
Eudaimonism and the Appeal to Nature in the Morality of Happiness: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1995, Johm M Cooper Princeston university
Here it is accessible [[11]]- I cant find a publicly accessible ref, but a friend at Uni happened to send me a copy to read, which i did when trying to understand how the phrase is used in philosophy, here are a couple of short quotes from it:
"This first appeal to nature is, therefore, an appeal to nature as benevolent, and therefore to the instincts it provides animals with as being ones that it is for their own good to act upon. It is nature as normative, not nature as a source of inescapabilities and unalterabilities, that the Stoics first appeal to. There is a second appeal to nature, too, and this one goes a great deal farther outside the 'ethical' as conceived by Annas in an effort to reach normative conclusions."
"Annas distinguishes between two sorts of appeal to nature that she thinks the Greek theorists in general make, and it is important for her restricted view of what eudaimonismin ethics permits that neither of these involves going outside the ethical, as she has defined that, so as to derive ethical ("normative") conclusions from facts about nature (p. 137). The first, which she thinks is in play here, is to nature as what is in-escapable, what we cannot do anything about and so must accept in one way or another in structuring our lives, whether we like it or not. However, it is quite striking that neither Cicero nor Diogenes Laertius in referring to these initial instinctive goal-directed desires says anything at all about necessity or inescapability (nor, to my knowledge, does any other ancient source). On the contrary, as we can see most clearly from Cicero, the Stoics immediately in-fer normative conclusions from this description of our initial natural endow-ment-by this time they are speaking specifically of human beings - and it is clearly for that purpose that the appeal to nature has been introduced in the first place, and not at all because it locates something or other as an element of inescapability in our lives. The point is that, according to the Stoics, what new-born animals do automatically from their original instincts are things"
In this debate between Annas and Cooper there is no appearance of the idea that 'ATN' is.. the f word. The debate seems to establish the terms meaningfulness as a valid frame in at least the ancient philosophy which they discuss. A question is, can this philosophical use also be directed to 'arguments from nature' in other subjects? Elsewhere in a short description their debate has been described as being about "the appeal to natural providence in Stoicism" [[12]]
Both authors distinguish between different examples/instances of appeals to nature. Their use of the term seems completely compatible with the standard description of an 'appeal' as Walkinxyz worded it in the intro. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:29, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
LOL, "no appearance of the idea that 'ATN' is... the f word" — would that be "fate" or "fallacy"? If fate, the issue's probably one of explaining teleology, but that's probably not too much of a concern for this article. I think we just need to establish the ancients used it as a philosophical concept, say a bit about how they used it, (definitely using what you've found so as not to rely on Annas a primary source, very well done!) then move on to Hume, Moore, the other "moderns" Walkinxyz mentioned... (although that section needs to be moved down).
As for the lead, it should say that it's a concept in ancient philosophy and an argument... the rest is fine except "and/or validity" because "cogency" is good enough and in formal logic, the content has nothing whatsoever to do with validity. Formal logic is the logic of philosophy, as opposed to "informal logic", the very new field of popular rational argument which brought us the so-called "appeal to nature fallacy". Thanks! Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 21:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Random courtesy break

I do find this latest position of yours remarkably different from the one you began editing with during the deletion review. Lisnabreeny (talk) 21:41, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Which, about the fallacy? Well, that's because I didn't the read main source very carefully because it does look a little blogish, and it is self-published at any rate... but it's all we have to work with at this point... Anyway, the guy actually recommends it as a rule of thumb, not a fallacy! That's neither here nor there because it's a philosophical concept... but I just haven't had time to get the material together yet. Hopefully, you'll have better luck.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 23:13, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I quoted that exact section of the main source, at the start of the deletion review. It is up the page under the 'ideological battle' section.
To reference it as a philosophical concept, in the deletion review i referenced and quoted Cooper's comments on Annas' work, which gave example of two different types of appeal to nature (philsophically) [[13]]
I also quoted the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [[14]] to the anon editor who altered this text in naturalistic fallacy (after he reverted the redirect set from here to the relevant section in that article - without any discussion)
"Some people use the phrase "naturalistic fallacy" or "appeal to nature" to characterize inferences of the form "This behaviour is natural; therefore, this behaviour is morally acceptable" or "This property is unnatural; therefore, this property is undesireable." Such inferences are common in discussions of homosexuality and environmentalism. While such inferences may or may not be fallacious, Moore is not concerned with them. He is instead concerned with the semantic and metaphysical underpinnings of ethics.
The anon editor changed "may or may not" (possibility) - to the puzzling "may" (permission). I reverted it. The anon editor left, you arrived and reverted to may again claiming, the stanford source had nothing to do with homosexuality or enviromentalism. The claim about homosexuality or enviromentalism, is not sourced. Your wording still remains in that article.(?)
The Article about the sophists which you added during the review along with the claim that they were the first to challenge appeals to nature was not well used. The sophists were known to challenge everything, being not technically philosophers [[15]] giving rise to the term sophistry The article actually treats appeals to nature as an important philosophical concept which the sophists helped develope and the Stoics continued - and explicity says so at the end. The article should have raised alarm bells that this term is not philosophically speaking, a 'fallacy' -just as i was proclaiming and seeking attention for (with refs) at the time in talk here and in the deletion review. Lisnabreeny (talk) 00:19, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
A couple more notes: If you skipped it during review, you should take a moment to examine Kate Sophers use of the term appeal to reason which i cited early in the review discussion on this talk page.
Also checking out wikipedia's page on sophism i see you reversed the meaning of a section of text by removing a sentence and rewording a phrase - without any explaination in edit summary or the talk page. Strange [[16]]. Lisnabreeny (talk) 01:21, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm sorry to see you're having trouble moving on. “I quoted that exact section of the main source, at the start of the deletion review. It is up the page under the 'ideological battle' section.” I don't see it Lisnabreeny, and I don't remember you posting that the "blog" recommends it as rule of thumb rather than a fallacy. However, if you did, somewhere, dismissing it as a blog wouldn't help, would it? At any rate, I complimented you on your research, if you recall, as I did again today, and I was going to let your remark slide, but... "my latest position" is no different than it's ever been, still NPOV. Whether you believe it or not, this isn't a polarizing subject for me, and I'm having a little trouble figuring out what the "sides" even are, much less which you're on — I'm just a little fed up with all the drama, seeing whereas the source calls the horrible fallacy a rule of thumb. (The skeptic calls it a fallacy, but he cripples naturalistic ethics in the same breath... typical).

Like I said, it's a philosophical concept, (from "ancient" through today), and that's what I've been saying all along. The naturalistic fallacy, is also a philosophical concept too, but not the one I'm referring to. Last I heard, the one I'm referring to was an "irrelevant distraction" in your opinion...

Regarding the changes to the WP naturalistic fallacy article, (which we should discuss there if this is going to be an issue)... the SEP article you mention, Moral Non-Naturalism (§1. The Naturalistic Fallacy), wasn't relevant, so I reverted [17] your revert [18], of the anon user [19], who only removed the words "or may be" from your earlier alterations to that paragraph [20] (not exactly a "couple of small edits in intro" was it?). Please note that:

  1. the SEP article says nothing about appeal to reason;
  2. the SEP said the naturalistic fallacy is poorly named but not because it should be named "appeal to nature"; and
  3. the SEP article said nothing about homosexuality etc., i.e., the so-called "inferences".
Everyone should say "appeal to nature" but... “Some people use the phrase "naturalistic fallacy" or "appeal to nature" to characterize inferences of the form "This behaviour is natural; therefore, this behaviour is morally acceptable" or "This property is unnatural; therefore, this property is undesireable." Such inferences are common in discussions of homosexuality and environmentalism. While such inferences may or may not be fallacious, Moore is not concerned with them. He is instead concerned with the semantic and metaphysical underpinnings of ethics.”
  1. Homosexuality does not rest on the appeal to nature — it is not immoral — it has never been immoral. Full stop. Arguments for either side are both wrong, there are no two ways about it;
  2. "may be" goes not mean "all are" and it does not imply "all are" (nor does "can be", btw);
  3. "or may not" goes without saying;
  4. IMO, unnecessarily over-specifying "or may not" implies "we can't say for sure, it could go either way".
Thus...
  • You're "possibility"/"permission" characterization makes no sense.
  • Those are not my words. Between the two of us, you are the only one who's words "remain in that article", (drama) or rather, in that paragraph of it.
  • My revert didn't alter the two unsourced claims, and there's no obligation or expectation that I should have removed them.
  • You, on the other hand, are directly responsible for "environment", (it used to say "cloning"). That's no big deal, except for the sheer audacity of blaming me for it.
  • I've asked you to stop saying false things about me and my edits, Lisnabreeny. What I'm asking is for you not to lie about me and my edits. Can you make a commitment not to do that again in the future or is there something that makes it difficult? (age, medication, compulsions, etc).

I agree 100% the sophists Britannica article wasn't well used, I have W to thank for at least sorting out into it's own section. I stuck it in at that time because you had the article in an AfD, and it had gotten by all this time without even citing the fallacy files (as a source) but it did need more sources... Anyway, I've said several times I want to expand on it... be bold, if you'd like to expand on it, (but you've given me, very much the opposite impression).

Socrates, a philosopher, was a sophist... There are reasons a distinction between sophistry and philosophy was invented and why it's stuck. The author of the Britannica article suggests that using the appeal to nature to argue both sides of an issue was the main reason for their excommunication, as it were. Many many philosophers question everything... the sceptics, for example.

Lisnabreeny, if you're saying I should have raised alarm bells, that's for me to decide, and besides, someone was ringing all of them. Now, I did remove the word "(philosophy)" that you added to the section header, and, I'm sorry, but you're still a little confused. "Fallacy" is a word in English, not a rigorously defined term in philosophy. The word is used by the people involved in the new field of informal logic, (just over a quarter century old, the SEP says). It's different from philosophy which uses formal logic, especially in analytic philosophy. Informal logic isn't standardized, (thus the name), so verifying something is among the most popular fallacies of informal logic isn't a black and white issue; there is no taxonomy of fallacies. Be that as it may, the naturalistic fallacy is a fallacy because that's what Moore named it. Philosophically speaking, that, bottom line, is why something gets called a fallacy. But as I've said, I don't believe the article is solely under the purview of philosophy.

Regarding my edits to the Sophism article, we can discuss them there on it's talk page if you like. The link you provide covers all six of my edits and, obviously, it only shows the edit summary of the final one. As no uninvolved edit has questioned the summaries or edits, I suggest you WP:AGF and simply specify which edit you're referring to when you say “reversed the meaning of a section of text by removing a sentence and rewording a phrase - without any explaination” and I'll further clarify it for you.

I'm becoming more than a little concerned about this Lisnabreeny, I request that you read WP:STICK.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 10:27, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

"'I quoted that exact section' ... I don't see it Lisnabreeny," - actually it is directly above 'ideological battle' (Ideological Battle is the first comment i made to this talk, which is why i moved it to the top in my (single) refactoring edit, you have moved it down again twice now (i have no idea why). The quote that you "do not remember" is the first thing i posted for the original deletion discussion, which you have moved to the top (it may have been the section you duplicated, struck out, extended content and attributed mess to me(!) , )
"the SEP article says nothing about appeal to reason;" - "appeal to nature" i made this typo too. The statement in the naturalistic fallacy article, was directed at both a.t.n. and n.f. - equally. As i pointed out, homosexualy and environmentalism, are unsourced examples in the statement there. -'May' makes no sense in the statement.
"Between the two of us, you are the only one who's words remain in that article, (drama) or rather, in that paragraph of it."

Yet the NPOV sense of my words do not remain. eg. "may or may not"=NPOV, "may" = POV. Your, unreferenced POV sense.

Neither of us like this drama then yet I am forced to make it, in response to your involvement, which i only breifly outlined above. I dont think your edits to naturalistic fallacy or sophism are justified, and i think they exemplify your POV. And i do not think you have been reading my extensive input here, numerous refs and arguments, as well as you should, or that your frequent instructions and reprimands, as a more experienced editor, to me have been proficient. I took the wikibreak, to give both us a break and returned to see little change in your contentions. This may go on, the same may improve or get worse. You are as free as me, and more experienced to know how best to seek moderation on our conflict, whenever you wish. Lisnabreeny (talk) 19:04, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I've asked you to not to lie about the inappropriate edits you've made to this talk page (Time Ordering and Consolidation of my previous deletion sections).
As I've only made the one edit to Naturalistic fallacy, I think every aspect of my involvement has been covered in vivid detail. Thank you, for assuming good faith regarding "appeal to reason", it was unintentional.
Please seek advice from an administrator Lisnabreeny. You haven't been editing the article disruptively until today. (WP:DISRUPT) And feel free to ask for moderation.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 20:19, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
The only mistake i made there, was the possible mixing up of the section heading 'ideological review' with 'propsed deletion', by moving a block of text down, under a new heading of "after the page was resurrected" (which it was, and which that block of text directly followed) Your response was to seriously scramble the corrected timeline, duplicating and striking out text, i corrected and you did the same again, without duplication this time.

Now you have explicitly charged me with lying at least three times over this. I am seeking arbitration on our conflicts, i do not wish to trouble a lone administrator with this mess, though you are welcome to Machine Elf. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:43, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Lisnabreeny, I had already asked you not to make inappropriate edits and to read WP:REFACTOR. You knew you were supposed to use strikeouts as you've done many times. You can't move your history around to suit how you'd like it presented. I tried to salvage your changes instead of just reverting. I won't make that mistake again. WP:LETGO. Yes, you seem to make a special point of lying about me or my edits; and you won't stop. I've asked you, or told you, far more than three times; and make no mistake, I've either asked you to stop lying, or else to stop making false and misleading statements. A lie is lie Lisnabreeny, they've been transparent, easily provable, and incessant. Arbitration you say... Meanwhile, please seek out the advice of an administrator or perhaps a WP:MENTOR.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 21:29, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I do not know what the heck Machine Elf is talking about there. To make that kind of accusation a diff revealing it must be neccessary and should have been easy to include at the time. Lisnabreeny (talk) 01:02, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Undue weight to Kompridis?

I'll open it up, since Machine Elf suggested over at Wikiproject Philosophy that there is undue weight to Kompridis. He noticed that I've worked on Kompridis' biography (a lonely task), and other articles that are relevant to his ideas.

Disclosure: I was a student of Kompridis, who was a student of Jürgen Habermas, and probably know his ideas as intimately as anyone besides himself.

The discussion in the "Modern developments" section cites 3 different sources: Rousseau, Rodney Brooks, and Kompridis. One was written 250 years ago, another is by a prominent roboticist, and the final source is Kompridis' paper, which also discusses the other two sources. This is a short section of the article – 4 short paragraphs with 3 different references.

In addition, it links to two philosophers who are well-documented critics of different understandings of "nature" (which is discussed in the lead): Bruno Latour and Jacques Derrida.

However, neither of these two people have commented on the normativity of nature, to my knowledge, which is appealed to by the Greeks and by many other arguments in this article. Kompridis does comment on this.

Machine Elf claims that Kompridis' article does not use the words "appeal to nature". But it does explicitly deal with an appeal to nature in the portion cited:

"When we regard ourselves as 'machines whose components are biochemicals,' we not only presume to know what our nature permits us to be, but also that this knowledge permits us to answer the question of what is to become of us

Is this not referring to an appeal to nature? I see two premises (1,2) and a conclusion (3) that Kompridis explicitly names, (1) that we see (and refer to) ourselves (human beings) as "machines whose components are biochemicals"; (2) that we therefore presume we know something about the nature of human beings; and therefore (3) that knowledge allows us access to norms of conduct (what we are permitted to say we will become) contained in that understanding of nature.

Two premises (about our nature) and a conclusion based on those premises. A description (and a refutation) of an appeal to nature.

What do others think? Undue weight? – Walkinxyz (talk) 11:46, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Not a direct answer to this question, but commonly a better practical solution to this common type of disagreement is to find more sources, rather than considering removing one. This is especially appropriate if the debate about the source is not that it is a bad one as such, but just that it seems undue. Perhaps interesting background reading: meta:Inclusionism.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:50, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I will breifly confirm that i am happy with the relevance of the section and very appreciative of your work xyz, the article is really levelling out and filling out.
I am working on a more complete representation and tidying of the case for the position of fallacy. I am attempting npov yet some proponent of the position could make its case better. It seems messy at the moment and quite eclipsed by the rebuttals i already earlier. Also i have a number of references and see alsos to add, more on classical origin and modern developements, perhaps inclusion of "natural kind"s to come...
ps, editor @ 94.194.86.160 , you reminded me that you did not have to "log in" some weeks ago, but if you do have a log in and also edit here under it, could you make clear your logged in name please. Lisnabreeny (talk) 20:44, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Image

A non-logged in user deleted the image that I put in, which was not uploaded just because it was public domain, but because it is an aesthetic appeal to nature that met the following criteria:

Intangible concepts can be illustrated; for example, a cat with its claws out portrays aggression, while a roadside beggar juxtaposed with a Mercedes-Benz shows social inequality.

See Wikipedia:Images#Image_choice_and_placement

and

Images must be relevant to the article that they appear in and be significantly and directly related to the article's topic.

See Wikipedia:Images#Pertinence_and_encyclopedic_nature

Just because it is an aesthetic appeal to nature, that illustrates the (potentially) intangible nature of such an appeal, does not mean it is simply "decorative".

Walkinxyz (talk) 09:20, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

This image gives no information on the arguments and controversies discussed within the article and doesn't directly explain what it's about. The subject matter of the article isn't all that intangible; an image of say some 'all-natural' alternative medicine may be relevant or something else which the article discusses but this image is too vague. RationalSazh (talk) 20:17, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
The image does not need to directly explain what the article is about. And it certainly is not primarily about advertising language. In advertising "all-natural" is simply a product description, which usually means by trade description standards, that the product contains no artifical ingredients. "Artificial" is also a defined trade description term. Were this not the case, any product could use the description without fear of failing foul trade description legislation.
RationalSazh - to my questioning the advice you gave me on wikipedia standards some weeks ago, whilst not logged in, you said there was no requirement for editors to log in -implying that you had a log in. This signature 'RationalSazh' has not been registered. Do you or did you have a registered account here? Perhaps you have forgotten your password? This is important to establish, because if you have or had a registered account you need to declare it to avoid suspicion of sockpuppetry. Please just clear this up. Regards. Lisnabreeny (talk) 19:33, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I apologise for the suspicion but it has been difficult to work on the article and there is much room for developement. I have no intention to repress criticism of appeals to nature or present them in glowing terms. We need to be able to discuss on equal terms here and use reason, references and consensus to resolve disputes. I believe Walkinxyz has reasoned and referenced the suitability of this picture of leaves adequately. The subject is an uncomplicated and unsuggestive image of natural objects, nothing to find objectionable or persuasive: The leaves are neither diseased or glorified, they are not under the treads of a tractor or a tank or held to the breast of an attractive model. The scenes charm or lack is in the eye of the beholder. I ask of you to work with it, or find a better one. And sign in please, i look forward to discussing what we have been reading and thinking on the subject. Regards. Lisnabreeny (talk) 22:00, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
No problem. Anyway, this article, at least as I see it, is not about the broader philosophical debate of what G.E Moore talks about; natural properties (or rather physical properties in general) and their relation to morality, even if one one were to oppose Moore's view (and personally being a utilitarian, which he claims falls victim to the naturalistic fallacy, I don't 100% agree) it doesn't necessarily follow that the informal use of 'this is natural so it must be safe/good/morally right' or the inverse 'this is unnatural so it's bad/dangerous/wrong' is not indeed fallacious. Although examples of the fallacy may be found in chats on moral/political issues, e.g "homosexuality is unnatural", "vegetarianism is stupid, in the natural world animals kill and eat other animals" it's not so much about the philosophical question of whether morality should be derived from nature so much as the gut presumption that because something is natural it follows that it is good.
This is not the same as saying that every time the term 'natural' is used in advertising or elsewhere it's fallacious. An advertisement for say all-natural tobacco which used the fact that it is 'only natural' to imply that it must therefore be harmless would be an example of the type of stuff Flew or Baggini called fallacious. However a product using 'natural' to mean 'environmentally friendly' would not be an appeal to nature because environmentalism is an ethical positions which relates to many issues like human and animal welfare and doesn't require a benign 'all that is natural is good' view for support. Nor is pointing out the informal fallacy somehow claiming that artificial things are generally 'better' than natural things; no-one would deny that there are poisonous synthetic things which are just as harmful as some of the toxic or poisionious things found in nature, rather it's that some thing's harmfulness is not defined by its naturalness.
The black-and-white leaf picture (which I do kind of feel is 'pro-nature') isn't really explanatory of the main topic at hand, which isn't so much about nature in general but the fallacious use of it in human discourse. RationalSazh (talk) 03:03, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, thats good food for thought. Now the article is getting more filled out i am more at ease with working with attachments of fallacy. Hopefuly i will be able to do more on it, if a certain ongoing administrative review works out...
I was happy to see the picture myself because it is aesthetic, "an aesthetic appeal" as Walkinxyz put it. Purely on a straight natural subject. Because a random b&w picture of leaves can have an instinctive charm, and can make an aesthetic appeal on their own, does that mean it will unfairly skew the reading of the article? I'm not sure, i hope not or every article kind of has to have completely dull pictures and illustration.
I do want the article to be careful with charges of fallacy, or i want to respond like i have presently with counter cases. For instance i consider the case "homosexuality is unnatural" untrue/fallacious not because nature has nothing to add to the argument, but because it is not unnatural. I would even say that a persons sexuality is in their nature, not under much concious control, therefore it is to be tolerated if not celebrated as diversity of life. I read philosophers, and now policy makers in the ref to the new section below discussing what understandings of nature do or do not have to offer arguments, and the discussions are always so complex that, the fallacy cases usually so breifly put, make little sense to me.
"that some thing's harmfulness is not defined by its naturalness." its not defined by it, but i think disruptiveness to natural systems is inductively linked to un/naturalness to those systems. I have put this point in the article, with a reference in the advertising section.
I think the Rational argument / fallacy and Advertising sections are unideally split at the moment and wanting improvement. The criticism is not well put yet, and eg. the novel foods point takes up too much space, but it is a relevant reply to the baginni quote. I have not access to Baginnis work to find a more robust statement, i think that one is too sweeping a statement to survive criticism. I did not put it there but it seems to me an example of a sweeping statement which is easy to refute.
Regards, Lisnabreeny (talk) 04:13, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
    • ^ Annas (1995; 136)
    • ^ Annas (1995; 136)
    • ^ Annas (1995; 142)