|A diagram of modernnatural ethics, aka "appeal to nature" as it was called formerly, showing how coupling rectifies the ancient problem of evil, via the logic of free energy driving force rules of endergonic-exergonic coupling operations in systems.|
In 322BC, Aristotle, in his Physics, introduced the appeal to nature argument, in respect to areas such as slavery and money making. 
In 1670, Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (§3), building on Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Maimonides (1135-1204), digressed on what he referred to as the "natural right", as apposed to "natural wrong", of things, as follows: (Ѻ)
“By the right and order of nature, I merely mean the rules determining the nature of each individual thing by which we conceive it is determined naturally to exist and to behave in a certain way. For example fish are determined by nature to swim and big fish to eat little ones, and therefore it is by sovereign natural right that fish have possession of the water and that big fish eat small fish. For it is certain that nature, considered wholly in itself, has a sovereign right to do everything that it can do, i.e., the right of nature extends as far as its power extends … since the universal power of the whole of nature is nothing but the power of all individual things together, it follows that each individual thing has the sovereign right to do everything that it can do, or the right of each thing extends so far as its determined power extends.”
In 1770s, Goethe subsumed Spinoza, as a tonic for the battle between his passions and moral sense, and by 1809 had penned his moral symbols theory meaning.
In 1874, John Mill, in his “On Nature” essay, delved into the pros and cons of using the appeal to nature argument for ethical reasoning. 
The following are related quotes:
“The only way that an endergonic reaction (dG1 > 0) can occur spontaneously is if it is linked to an exergonic reaction (dG2 < 0) such that the sum of the two dG reactions (dG1 + dG2 < 0) is negative. A good analogy would be when an introvert breaks out his ‘party hat’ whenever his extroverted buddy stops by. This process [change] of hooking together is called coupling, and your cells [and people] use coupling all the time to perform many of the energetically unfavorable [unnatural] reactions in a cell [or society].”— Anon (2015), Shmoop.com on “Free Energy” (Ѻ)
1. Annas, Julia. (1997). “Ethical Arguments from Nature: Aristotle and After”, in: Contributions to the ancient philosophy: Studies in honor of Wolfgang Kullmann (Beiträge zur antiken Philosophie: Festschrift für Wolfgang Kullmann) (editors: Hans Christian Günther, Αντώνιος Ρεγκάκος) (pgs. 185-98). Franz Steiner Verlag.
2. Mill, John. (1874). “On Nature” (Ѻ), in: Nature, The Utility of Religion and Theism, Rationalist Press, 1904.
● Appeal to nature – Wikipedia.