You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:


Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

From Ought to Is: Physics and the Naturalistic Fallacy

Matthew Stanley
Vol. 105, No. 3 (September 2014), pp. 588-595
DOI: 10.1086/678174
Stable URL:
Page Count: 8
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Download PDF
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
We're having trouble loading this content. Download PDF instead.


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.