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Debunking Arguments in Metaethics and Metaphysics

In Alvin Goldman & Brian McLaughlin (eds.), Metaphysics and Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 337-363 (2019)

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  1. Debunking Debunked? : Challenges, Prospects, and the Threat of Self-Defeat.Conrad Bakka - 2023 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    Metaethical debunking arguments often conclude that no moral belief is epistemically justified. Early versions of such arguments largely relied on metaphors and analogies and left the epistemology of debunking underspecified. Debunkers have since come to take on substantial and broad-ranging epistemological commitments. The plausibility of metaethical debunking has thereby become entangled in thorny epistemological issues. In this thesis, I provide a critical yet sympathetic evaluation of the prospects and challenges facing such arguments in light of this development. In doing so, (...)
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  • Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  • Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  • Advanced D&D.Chris Tillman & Joshua Spencer - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):533-544.
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, Explanationism and Counterexamples to Modal Security.Christopher Noonan - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    According to one influential response to evolutionary debunking arguments against moral realism, debunking arguments fail to undermine our moral beliefs because they fail to imply that those beliefs are insensitive or unsafe. The position that information about the explanatory history of our belief must imply that our beliefs are insensitive or unsafe in order to undermine those beliefs has been dubbed “Modal Security”, and I therefore label this style of response to debunking arguments the “modal security response”. An alternative position, (...)
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  • In defense of teleological intuitions.Gergely Kertész & Daniel Kodaj - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (4):1421-1437.
    According to recent work in experimental philosophy, folk intuitions concerning various metaphysical issues are heavily teleological. The experiments in question, which belong to a broader research program in psychology about ‘promiscuous teleology’, have featured prominently in debates about the methodology of metaphysics, with some authors claiming that the folk’s teleological bias debunks everyday intuitions concerning composition, persistence, and organisms. The present paper argues for a possibility that is very rarely discussed in that debate, namely the idea that the folk’s intuitions (...)
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  • An Occasionalist Response to Korman and Locke.David Killoren - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3).
    Dan Korman and Dustin Locke argue that non-naturalists are rationally committed to withhold moral belief. A main principle in their argument, which they call EC*, can be read in either of two ways, which I call EC*-narrow and EC*-wide. I show that EC*-narrow is implausible. Then I show that, if Korman and Locke rely on EC*-wide to critique non-naturalism, then the critique fails. I explain how the availability of a view that I like to call moral occasionalism can be used (...)
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  • Genealogical Defeat and Ontological Sparsity.Jonathan Barker - 2023 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 47:1-23.
    When and why does awareness of a belief's genealogy render it irrational to continue holding that belief? According to explanationism, awareness of a belief’s genealogy gives rise to an epistemic defeater when and because it reveals that the belief is not explanatorily connected to the relevant worldly facts. I argue that an influential recent version of explanationism, due to Korman and Locke, incorrectly implies that it is not rationally permissible to adopt a “sparse” ontology of worldly facts or states of (...)
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  • Is Intentionality a Relation? A Dialogue.David Bourget & Angela Mendelovici - forthcoming - Argumenta.
    This dialogue explores the question of whether intentionality—the “ofness”, “aboutness”, or “directedness” of mental states—is a relation. We explore three views: the Naive View, on which intentionality is a relation to ordinary, everyday objects, facts, and other such items; the Abstract Contents View, on which intentionality is a relation to mind-independent abstract entities that are our contents; and the Aspect View, on which intentionality is a matter of having intentional states with particular (non-relational) aspects that are our contents. We consider (...)
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  • Eliminativism and Evolutionary Debunking.Jeffrey N. Bagwell - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:496-522.
    Eliminativists sometimes invoke evolutionary debunking arguments against ordinary object beliefs, either to help them establish object skepticism or to soften the appeal of commonsense ontology. I argue that object debunkers face a self-defeat problem: their conclusion undermines the scientific support for one of their premises, because evolutionary biology depends on our object beliefs. Using work on reductionism and multiple realizability from the philosophy of science, I argue that it will not suffice for an eliminativist debunker to simply appeal to some (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments in Parallel: The Cases of Moral Belief and Theistic Belief.Max Baker-Hytch - forthcoming - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, and Epistemology. London:
    There is now a burgeoning literature on evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) against moral beliefs, but perhaps surprisingly, a relatively small literature on EDAs against religious beliefs. There is an even smaller literature comparing the two. This essay aims to further the investigation of how the two sorts of arguments compare with each other. To begin with, I shall offer some remarks on how to best formulate these arguments, focusing on four different formulations that one can discern in the literature and (...)
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