The term natural shifts between two legitimate meanings in two instances. For example, in the section entitled, “The artificial as a form of the unnatural (¶6)” the author is explaining that anything that is artificial is unnatural. In the first instance, it is important to clarify that the author uses the concepts “natural” and “nature” interchangeably. The author uses the example of a typewriter which is man-made and states, “In this sense, the substances of which it is composed have been removed from their natural state- the state in which they existed before men came along-and have been transformed by a series of chemical and physical and mechanical processes into other substances. They have been rearranged into a whole that is quite different from anything found in nature (¶6)”. The first time he uses nature in this phrase, he uses the term “natural” and is referring to something that is in its original state. In the final sentence, he is referring to nature in the context of the environment. The point that the author is trying to make in this paragraph is that anything that is not man-made is natural. However, by critically analyzing the author’s use of the two concepts, one can see that he equivocates by shifting the meaning between two legitimate meanings of the term. His argument is therefore weakened because the author fails to use the term nature in the proper sense of the word.
In the second instance, the author makes the same equivocation. In the section labelled, “That which is natural is good, and whatever is unnatural is bad (¶22)” the author makes the same equivocation as in the first instance. He uses the term natural and nature interchangeably and tries to use these terms in the same context in the following sentence, “But as we have seen in some senses of the word, the unnatural (the artificial is sometimes very good), whereas that which is natural (that which has not been subjected to human
artifice or improvement)...