Hemlock smoothie

"If I were to make a drink with hemlock in it and advertise that it "contains natural plant extracts", people would rush out and drink it like there was no tomorrow. Which, of course, there would be." – Squander Two sticks it to the ‘natural = good’ brigade

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4 thoughts on “Hemlock smoothie

  1. The naturalistic fallacy is one of the great myths of our time. But what are the chances of Squander Two being pro-market on the basis that market forces are natural?

  2. A philosophical gripe: the alleged naturalistic fallacy is not equivalent to the claim that ‘natural’ is the same as ‘good’, but the claim that it is possible to go from an ‘is’ to an ‘ought’. If the two were equivalent, then all ‘is’s would go to ‘ought’s, which is emphatically not what those Hume accused of it were doing. On the second point, yeah, probably.

  3. I’m pro-market on the grounds that market forces work better than any other resource-allocation-and-wealth-creation mechanism yet devised. If someone ever does work out a better mechanism, I’ll support it (once it’s proven itself in the real world). I couldn’t care less that market forces are natural. Their naturalness gives them an advantage over their competitors, admittedly, simply because they’ve had millenia to evolve, but it’s the fact that they work, not how they reached that state, that concerns me.

    "Mankind’s natural environment is an artificial one," someone once said, and I agree.


    The naturalistic fallacy is what you say it is, but my post was more concerned with the marketing-cosmetics-and-foods fallacy, which certainly is equivalent to the claim that natural is the same as good.

  4. Squander,

    I wasn’t having a go at you, but Stephen Newton (claim about use of alleged naturalistic fallacy in support of markets retracted as well, in absence of evidence apart from general animus against libertarians). I suppose we should try and come up with a name for the fallacy you’re talking about which doesn’t cause me (and possibly other philosophers) to get all hot under the collar because of its associations.

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