Philosophers, and perhaps others, will be familiar with the naturalistic fallacy. It is committed when someone tries to say that something can be good or right in virtue of its being natural. In this post, I wish to suggest that if the naturalistic fallacy is indeed a fallacy, then philosophers might commit it when they appeal to the intuitiveness, conceivability, or the “seeming” truth (Huemer 2001) of a proposition.
To begin, I ask you to imagine that your brain and my brain are radically different from one another. If this were the case, then it would be unsurprising if our intuitions, (mental) conceptions, and judgments about what ‘seems’ true (or possible) would vary. Indeed, evidence suggests that even minor differences (or developments) between brains can have these effects (Adelstein et al, Amodio et al, Costa et al, De Drue et al, DeYoung et al, Harris et al, and Kanai et al).
This implies that our appeals to intuition (etc.) might be contingent upon brains being a certain way. In other words, our intuitions could be a ‘natural’ consequence of neural properties. If they are, then when philosophers appeal to them in order to convince their audience that a proposition is better or worse (more or less true, or more or less probable, etc.) they commit the naturalistic fallacy. After all, getting buy-in from these appeals could depend on an audiences’ intuitions (etc)—and certain natural properties—being a certain way.
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