“Cities are no more artificial than the hives of bees” — John Gray (Straw Dogs)
I often find myself confused by what people mean when they say that something that exists is unnatural. Are genetically modified foods ‘unnatural’? What about clothing? Music? Dogs?
One definition I saw for natural is: Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. What about things that were made by non-human sentients? Why draw the line at humans? And if humans naturally came to exist, shouldn’t we think of what they create as natural? What is special about conscious design? Do we even know what would exist right now if the world had been free from human intervention?
An alternative is to think of anything that doesn’t actually exist as unnatural (counterfactual worlds). Is there more utility with the current definition?