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  1. The Function of Morality.Nicholas Smyth - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1127-1144.
    What is the function of morality? On this question, something approaching a consensus has recently emerged. Impressed by developments in evolutionary theory, many philosophers now tell us that the function of morality is to reduce social tensions, and to thereby enable a society to efficiently promote the well-being of its members. In this paper, I subject this consensus to rigorous scrutiny, arguing that the functional hypothesis in question is not well supported. In particular, I attack the supposed evidential relation between (...)
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  • Decolonizing the Demarcation of the Ethical.Joseph Len Miller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):337-352.
    The question of what distinguishes moral problems from other problems is important to the study of the evolution and functioning of morality. Many researchers concerned with this topic have assumed, either implicitly or explicitly, that all moral problems are problems of cooperation. This assumption offers a response to the moral demarcation problem by identifying a necessary condition of moral problems. Characterizing moral problems as problems of cooperation is a popular response to this issue – especially among researchers empirically studying the (...)
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  • How Genealogies Can Affect the Space of Reasons.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2005-2027.
    Can genealogical explanations affect the space of reasons? Those who think so commonly face two objections. The first objection maintains that attempts to derive reasons from claims about the genesis of something commit the genetic fallacy—they conflate genesis and justification. One way for genealogies to side-step this objection is to focus on the functional origins of practices—to show that, given certain facts about us and our environment, certain conceptual practices are rational because apt responses. But this invites a second objection, (...)
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  • The Unity of Moral Attitudes: Recipe Semantics and Credal Exaptation.Derek Shiller - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):425-446.
    This paper offers a noncognitivist characterization of moral attitudes, according to which moral attitudes count as such because of their inclusion of moral concepts. Moral concepts are distinguished by their contribution to the functional roles of some of the attitudes in which they can occur. They have no particular functional role in other attitudes, and should instead be viewed as evolutionary spandrels. In order to make the counter-intuitive implications of the view more palatable, the paper ends with an account of (...)
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  • Communities of Judgment : Towards a Teleosemantic Theory of Moral Thought and Discourse.Karl Bergman - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This thesis offers a teleosemantic account of moral discourse and judgment. It develops a number of views about the function and content of moral judgments and the nature of moral discourse based on Ruth Millikan’s theory of intentional content and the functions of intentional attitudes. Non-cognitivists in meta-ethics have argued that moral judgments are more akin to desires and other motivational attitudes than to descriptive beliefs. I argue that teleosemantics allows us to assign descriptive content to motivational attitudes and hence (...)
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  • Morality as an Evolutionary Exaptation.Marcus Arvan - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 89-109.
    The dominant theory of the evolution of moral cognition across a variety of fields is that moral cognition is a biological adaptation to foster social cooperation. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that moral cognition is likely an evolutionary exaptation: a form of cognition where neurobiological capacities selected for in our evolutionary history for a variety of different reasons—many unrelated to social cooperation—were put to a new, prosocial use after the fact through individual rationality, learning, and the development and transmission (...)
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  • Impassioned Belief.Michael Ridge - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Michael Ridge presents an original expressivist theory of normative judgments--Ecumenical Expressivism--which offers distinctive treatments of key problems in metaethics, semantics, and practical reasoning. He argues that normative judgments are hybrid states partly constituted by ordinary beliefs and partly constituted by desire-like states.
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  • Evolution and the Missing Link (in Debunking Arguments).Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair - 2017 - In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
    What are the consequences, for human moral practice, of an evolutionary understanding of that practice? By ‘moral practice’ we mean the way in which human beings think, talk and debate in moral terms. We suggest that the proper upshot of such considerations is moderate support for anti-realism in ethics.
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  • Conceptual Role Semantics and the Reference of Moral Concepts.Neil Sinclair - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):95-121.
    This paper examines the prospects for a conceptual or functional role theory of moral concepts. It is argued that such an account is well-placed to explain both the irreducibility and practicality of moral concepts. Several versions of conceptual role semantics for moral concepts are distinguished, depending on whether the concept-constitutive conceptual roles are wide or narrow normative or non-normative and purely doxastic or conative. It is argued that the most plausible version of conceptual role semantics for moral concepts involves only (...)
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  • Rescuing Tracking Theories of Morality.Marc Artiga - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3357-3374.
    Street’s :109–166, 2006) Darwinian Dilemma purports to show that evolutionary considerations are in tension with realist theories of value, which include moral realism. According to this argument, moral realism can only be defended by assuming an implausible tracking relation between moral attitudes and moral facts. In this essay, I argue that this tracking relation is not as implausible as most people have assumed by showing that the three main objections against it are flawed. Since this is a key premise in (...)
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