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Justification and Explanation in Mathematics and Morality

In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 1. Oxford University Press (2015)

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  1. Debunking Arguments in Metaethics and Metaphysics.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - In Alvin Goldman & Brian McLaughlin (eds.), Metaphysics and Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 337-363.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments abound, but it is widely assumed that they do not arise for our perceptual beliefs about midsized objects, insofar as the adaptive value of our object beliefs cannot be explained without reference to the objects themselves. I argue that this is a mistake. Just as with moral beliefs, the adaptive value of our object beliefs can be explained without assuming that the beliefs are accurate. I then explore the prospects for other sorts of vindications of our object (...)
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  • Non-Naturalist Moral Realism and the Limits of Rational Reflection.Max Khan Hayward - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):724-737.
    This essay develops the epistemic challenge to non-naturalist moral realism. While evolutionary considerations do not support the strongest claims made by ‘debunkers’, they do provide the basis for an inductive argument that our moral dispositions and starting beliefs are at best partially reliable. So, we need some method for separating truth from falsity. Many non-naturalists think that rational reflection can play this role. But rational reflection cannot be expected to bring us to truth even from reasonably accurate starting points. Reflection (...)
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  • Objectivity and Reliability.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):841-855.
    Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons (BRR) is a beautiful book – sleek, sophisticated, and programmatic. One of its key aims is to demystify knowledge of normative and mathematical truths. In this article, I develop an epistemological problem that Scanlon fails to explicitly address. I argue that his “metaphysical pluralism” can be understood as a response to that problem. However, it resolves the problem only if it undercuts the objectivity of normative and mathematical inquiry.
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  • Expressivism and the Reliability Challenge.Camil Golub - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):797-811.
    Suppose that there are objective normative facts and our beliefs about such facts are by-and-large true. How did this come to happen? This is the reliability challenge to normative realism. As has been recently noted, the challenge also applies to expressivist “quasi-realism”. I argue that expressivism is useful in the face of this challenge, in a way that has not been yet properly articulated. In dealing with epistemological issues, quasi-realists typically invoke the desire-like nature of normative judgments. However, this is (...)
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  • How to Debunk Moral Beliefs.Victor Kumar & Joshua May - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 25-48.
    Arguments attempting to debunk moral beliefs, by showing they are unjustified, have tended to be global, targeting all moral beliefs or a large set of them. Popular debunking arguments point to various factors purportedly influencing moral beliefs, from evolutionary pressures, to automatic and emotionally-driven processes, to framing effects. We show that these sweeping arguments face a debunker’s dilemma: either the relevant factor is not a main basis for belief or it does not render the relevant beliefs unjustified. Empirical debunking arguments (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments: Mathematics, Logic, and Modal Security.Justin Clarke-Doane - forthcoming - In Robert Richards and Michael Ruse (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
    I discuss the structure of genealogical debunking arguments. I argue that they undermine our mathematical beliefs if they undermine our moral beliefs. The contrary appearance stems from a confusion of arithmetic truths with (first-order) logical truths, or from a confusion of reliability with justification. I conclude with a discussion of the cogency of debunking arguments, in light of the above. Their cogency depends on whether information can undermine all of our beliefs of a kind, F, without giving us direct reason (...)
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  • Explanatory Challenges in Metaethics.Joshua Schechter - 2018 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 443-459.
    There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...)
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  • Access Problems and Explanatory Overkill.Silvia Jonas - 2016 - Philosophical Studies:1-12.
    I argue that recent attempts to deflect Access Problems for realism about a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, morality, and modality using arguments from evolution result in two kinds of explanatory overkill: (1) the Access Problem is eliminated for contentious domains, and (2) realist belief becomes viciously immune to arguments from dispensability, and to non-rebutting counter-arguments more generally.
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  • Modal Objectivity.Clarke-Doane Justin - forthcoming - Noûs.
    It is widely agreed that the intelligibility of modal metaphysics has been vindicated. Quine's arguments to the contrary supposedly confused analyticity with metaphysical necessity, and rigid with non-rigid designators.2 But even if modal metaphysics is intelligible, it could be misconceived. It could be that metaphysical necessity is not absolute necessity – the strictest real notion of necessity – and that no proposition of traditional metaphysical interest is necessary in every real sense. If there were nothing otherwise “uniquely metaphysically significant” about (...)
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  • Darwinism in Metaethics: What If the Universal Acid Cannot Be Contained?Eleonora Severini & Fabio Sterpetti - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3):1-25.
    The aim of this article is to explore the impact of Darwinism in metaethics and dispel some of the confusion surrounding it. While the prospects for a Darwinian metaethics appear to be improving, some underlying epistemological issues remain unclear. We will focus on the so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) which, when applied in metaethics, are defined as arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs so as to undermine their epistemic justification. The point is that an epistemic disanalogy (...)
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  • Why Only Us? Language and Evolution By Robert C. Berwick and Noam Chomsky.Chris Daly - forthcoming - Analysis:any018.
    © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comThis article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model...This is a clear and extremely stimulating book in which the authors present a series of innovative, even unorthodox, views on the relation between language and biology. It treats the study of language, and human cognition in general, as a matter of (...)
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  • Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. [REVIEW]David Faraci - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):377-381.
    Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability By LeibowitzUri D. and SinclairNeilOxford University Press, 2016. x + 258 pp. £45.00.
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  • Why Only Us? Language and Evolution.Chris Daly - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):381-383.
    Why Only Us? Language and Evolution By BerwickRobert C. and ChomskyNoamMassachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015. 224 pp. £17.95 paper.
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  • Review of The Social Psychology of Morality. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Metapsychology Online 20 (48):1-8.
    If you put chimpanzees from different communities together you can expect mayhem - they are not keen on treating each other nicely. There is closely related species of apes, however, whose members have countless encounters with unrelated specimen on a daily basis and yet almost all get through the day in one piece - that species is us, homo sapiens. But what makes us get along, most of the time? Morality as such is, perhaps surprisingly, not a mainstream research topic (...)
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  • Access Problems and Explanatory Overkill.Silvia Jonas - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2731-2742.
    I argue that recent attempts to deflect Access Problems for realism about a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, morality, and modality using arguments from evolution result in two kinds of explanatory overkill: the Access Problem is eliminated for contentious domains, and realist belief becomes viciously immune to arguments from dispensability, and to non-rebutting counter-arguments more generally.
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