Moralistic Fallacy

I. What is Moralistic Fallacy?

A moralistic fallacy could be any belief or argument that the world is as you think it should be, morally. An example of a moralistically fallacious belief is that because war is morally wrong, humans do not have any predispositions toward engaging in war. Looking to history for guidance, it can be seen that this is not true. Humans have been fighting for hundreds of years. Just because violence is seen as wrong, does not mean humans don’t have tendencies toward it.

Moralistic fallacy is regarded by some as the inverse of naturalistic fallacy. A naturalistic fallacy is a belief or argument that what is natural is morally right. An example would be that because animals engage in fighting in the wild, it is morally acceptable for humans do to the same. However, violence is generally seen as wrong, even though it can be observed in the animal kingdom.


II. Examples of Moralistic Fallacy

Example in Life

An example you may run into in your daily life is crossing a one way street without looking both ways. You probably assume that because the street is one way, a car won’t drive down it the wrong way. However, mistakes happen, and someone could accidentally turn down the one way in the wrong direction. Just because it shouldn’t happen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Example in Nature

Humans consider it wrong to kill one another. This can be seen when looking to laws society has put in place on the subject. A fallacious belief would be that because humans deem killing one’s own species to be wrong, this practice does not occur in the animal kingdom. However, it happens all the time. There are many species that kill one another in the wild. Humans’ belief that this is immoral has no bearing on whether or not this practice occurs in nature.

Example in Life

Another good example of this fallacy could have happened to you when you were a child. When children are very young, they are often naïve to other people’s negative intentions. For example, a child may see someone on a train take another passenger’s purse. While to you, it’s probably pretty obvious this is an example of theft. To a child, this might be an example of someone mistaking someone else’s possession for their own. While the child is aware of the concept of theft, he believes in the goodness of others. Because he thinks theft shouldn’t happen, he assumes that it did not, and there is another explanation for what he just witnessed.


III. Conclusion

Moralistic fallacies occur when people try to view what is the case in the world through the lens of morality, or simply when people fail to see the distinction between what they believe is right and reality. People often cling to what is their idea of morality, and that makes it natural to want the natural world around them to adhere to that idea. But it’s important not to allow that idealism to cloud your view of the world. Doing so could even be dangerous; for example, believing that people will not harm you could get you in trouble. Do not let what ought to be affect how you view what is.

I see you struggled a little with the abstractness of this conclusion.  Here is my version, if you want to use any of it:

Moralistic fallacies may occur either when people try to interpret nature  through the lens of morality, or simply when people fail to see the distinction between what they believe is right, and reality. It is natural to want reality to be moral, and if one has spiritual beliefs they may encourage that idea, and that’s fine. But it is important not to simply believe the world is the way we think it should be; for example, believing that people will not do things that are wrong could be dangerous!

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