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Journal Article

From Ought to Is: Physics and the Naturalistic Fallacy

Matthew Stanley
Isis
Vol. 105, No. 3 (September 2014), pp. 588-595
DOI: 10.1086/678174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/678174
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

ABSTRACTIn the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there were many attempts to justify political and social systems on the basis of physics and astronomy. By the early twentieth century such moves increasingly also integrated the life and social sciences. The physical sciences gradually became less appealing as a sole source for sociopolitical thought. The details of this transition help explain the contemporary reluctance to capitalize on an ostensibly rich opportunity for naturalistic social reasoning: the anthropic principle in cosmology, which deals with the apparent “fine-tuning” of the universe for life.