Appeal to nature

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An appeal to nature is an argument that says a thing is good because it is 'natural', or bad because it is 'unnatural'.[1] It can be a bad argument for two reasons. First, not everyone agrees on what is "natural" or "unnatural". For example, eating meat is natural to some people and unnatural to others. Second, even if something is clearly natural or unnatural, that alone does not mean that the thing is good or bad. For example, many "natural" plants and animals are poisonous, but unnatural things like medicine and vaccines can be helpful against diseases.

Examples[change | change source]

Some popular examples of the appeal to nature can be found on labels and advertisements for food, clothing, and health products.[2] Labels may use the phrase "all-natural", to suggest that products are environmentally friendly and/or safe. However, a "natural" product may not be safe, environmentally friendly, or effective.

References[change | change source]

  1. Moore, George E.: Principia Ethica, Barnes and Noble Publishing, Inc (1903, 2005) p. 47
  2. Baggini, Julian (2004). Making sense: philosophy behind the headlines. Oxford University Press. pp. 181–182. ISBN 978-0-19-280506-5.