Naturalistic Fallacy‏

There are two fundamentally different types of statement: statements of fact which describe the way that the world is, and statements of value which describe the way that the world ought to be. The naturalistic fallacy is the alleged fallacy of inferring a statement of the latter kind from a statement of the former kind.

Arguments cannot introduce completely new terms in their conclusions. The argument,

1. All men are mortal,
2. Socrates is a man, therefore
3. Socrates is a philosopher

is clearly invalid; the conclusion obviously doesn’t follow from the premises. This is because the conclusion contains an idea—that of being a philosopher—that isn’t contained in the premises; the premises say nothing about being a philosopher, and so cannot establish a conclusion about being a philosopher.

Arguments that commit the naturalistic fallacy might be flawed in the same way. An argument whose premises merely describe the way that the world is, but whose conclusion describes the way that the world ought to be, arguably also introduce a new term in the conclusion. This is known as a naturalistic fallacy; it remains to be seen whether it will be proven true.

“Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy.” – Benito Mussolini

Pathetic Fallacy‏

The pathetic fallacy or anthropomorphic fallacy is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations.

The pathetic fallacy is a special case of the fallacy of reification. The word ‘pathetic’ in this use is related to ‘pathos’ or ’empathy’ (capability of feeling), and is not pejorative.

In the discussion of literature, the pathetic fallacy is similar to personification. Personification is direct and explicit in the ascription of life and sentience to the thing in question, whereas the pathetic fallacy is much broader and more allusive.

This treatment is common in literature:

“The stars will awaken
Though the moon sleep a full hour later”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley

“The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance”
— William Cowper

“Nature must be gladsome when I was so happy”
— Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë