Under the Sea: A Philosophical Evaluation of Sebastian the Crab’s Argument

Some logic problems in the speech made by Mr. Sebastian, The Crab, to persuade Princess Ariel to stay under the sea.

Firas Durri
Nov 3, 2015 · 3 min read

“Down here is your home, Ariel.”

Naturalistic Fallacy

Ariel’s home is Under the Sea, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that her home should be Under the Sea.

This claim from Mr. Sebastian treads into the Is–ought problem. Further reading: Naturalistic fallacy.

“Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you looking for?”

Allegory of the Cave

Mr. Sebastian is encouraging willful ignorance about the reality that lies beyond sensations experienced Under the Sea. Princess Ariel would have the support of Plato in venturing above ground, as described in the Allegory of the Cave.

“We got no troubles, life is the bubbles.”


By saying that life Under the Sea is free of troubles, and then declaring that life Under the Sea is bubbly, Mr. Sebastian hasn’t proved his point; he has just said the same thing twice. It is a tautology.

“We got the spirit, you got to hear it.”

Red Herring

Whether the performers in this ensemble are in high spirits is irrelevant to the argument. This red herring should not sway Princess Ariel’s decision.

“What do they got, a lot of sand? We got a hot crustacean band.”

Non Sequitur

Mr. Sebastian has offered a jaundiced description of the human world and then mentioned an unrelated musical group he has “got” Under the Sea. This is not a logical statement of any kind; it is a non sequitur.

“Yeah we in luck here, down in the muck here.”

Adaptive Preference

In common language we would call this “settling.” Mr. Sebastian is extolling the pleasures of being in muck because he wants Ariel to value being in muck. It is a form of cognitive dissonance.

“Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me.”


Innuendo will get you nowhere.


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Firas Durri

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