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  1. Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
    There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...)
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  • Debunking, Supervenience, and Hume’s Principle.Mary Leng - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1083-1103.
    ABSTRACTDebunking arguments against both moral and mathematical realism have been pressed, based on the claim that our moral and mathematical beliefs are insensitive to the moral/mathematical facts...
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  • 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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  • Les Explications Par Un Troisième Facteur Permettent-Elles aux Réalistes Moraux de Relever le Défi Épistémologique?Félix Aubé Beaudoin - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (1):161-191.
    Les réalistes moraux font face à un défi épistémologique : ils doivent expliquer pourquoi plusieurs jugements moraux qui sont candidats au statut de vérités morales ont une grande valeur sélective. Est-ce le fruit du hasard? Les pressions évolutives ont-elles permis de retracer ces vérités? La stratégie argumentative qu’ils adoptent le plus communément afin d’expliquer cette corrélation frappante estl’explication par un troisième facteur. Dans cet article, je soutiens qu’elle ne permet pas de relever le défi épistémologique.Moral realists face an epistemological challenge: (...)
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  • The Archimedean Urge.Amia Srinivasan - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):325-362.
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  • Evolutionary Skepticism About Morality and Prudential Normativity.Peter Königs - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):911-928.
    SEE BELOW ("EXTERNAL LINKS") FOR A FREELY AVAILABLE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE /// ABSTRACT: Debunking arguments aim at defeating the justification of a belief by revealing the belief to have a dubious genealogy. One prominent example of such a debunking argument is Richard Joyce’s evolutionary debunking explanation of morality. Joyce’s argument targets only our belief in moral facts, while our belief in prudential facts is exempt from his evolutionary critique. In this paper, I suggest that our belief in prudential facts (...)
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  • Autonomy, Freedom & Embodiment: Hegel's Critique of Contemporary Biologism.Kenneth R. Westphal - 2014 - Hegel Bulletin 35 (1):56-83.
    The apparent implications of the latest findings of the life sciences for our freedom and autonomy are both exciting and controversial: They undermine a common view of human freedom: a fundamentally Cartesian view. A superior account of our freedom was developed by Kant and Hegel. Key features of Hegel's account show that we can expect from the life sciences further insights into the biological basis of our freedom and autonomy, but not their repudiation. I begin with basic features of Cartesian (...)
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  • VII — Genealogy, Epistemology and Worldmaking.Amia Srinivasan - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (2):127-156.
    We suffer from genealogical anxiety when we worry that the contingent origins of our representations, once revealed, will somehow undermine or cast doubt on those representations. Is such anxiety ever rational? Many have apparently thought so, from pre-Socratic critics of Greek theology to contemporary evolutionary debunkers of morality. One strategy for vindicating critical genealogies is to see them as undermining the epistemic standing of our representations—the justification of our beliefs, the aptness of our concepts, and so on. I argue that (...)
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  • Striking Coincidences: How Realists Should Reason About Them.Jeroen Hopster - forthcoming - Ratio.
    -/- Many metaethicists assume that our normative judgments are both by and large true, and the product of causal forces. In other words, many metaethicists assume that the set of normative judgments that causal forces have led us to make largely coincides with the set of true normative judgments. How should we explain this coincidence? This is what Sharon Street (2006) calls the practical/theoretical puzzle. Some metaethicists can easily solve this puzzle, but not all of them can, Street argues; she (...)
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  • Debunking and Dispensability.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
    In his précis of a recent book, Richard Joyce writes, “My contention…is that…any epistemological benefit-of-the-doubt that might have been extended to moral beliefs…will be neutralized by the availability of an empirically confirmed moral genealogy that nowhere…presupposes their truth.” Such reasoning – falling under the heading “Genealogical Debunking Arguments” – is now commonplace. But how might “the availability of an empirically confirmed moral genealogy that nowhere… presupposes” the truth of our moral beliefs “neutralize” whatever “epistemological benefit-of-the-doubt that might have been extended (...)
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  • Our Reliability is in Principle Explainable.Dan Baras - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):197-211.
    Non-skeptical robust realists about normativity, mathematics, or any other domain of non- causal truths are committed to a correlation between their beliefs and non- causal, mind-independent facts. Hartry Field and others have argued that if realists cannot explain this striking correlation, that is a strong reason to reject their theory. Some consider this argument, known as the Benacerraf–Field argument, as the strongest challenge to robust realism about mathematics, normativity, and even logic. In this article I offer two closely related accounts (...)
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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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  • Two Accounts of Moral Objectivity: From Attitude-Independence to Standpoint-Invariance.Jeroen Hopster - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):763-780.
    How should we understand the notion of moral objectivity? Metaethical positions that vindicate morality’s objective appearance are often associated with moral realism. On a realist construal, moral objectivity is understood in terms of mind-, stance-, or attitude-independence. But realism is not the only game in town for moral objectivists. On an antirealist construal, morality’s objective features are understood in virtue of our attitudes. In this paper I aim to develop this antirealist construal of moral objectivity in further detail, and to (...)
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  • Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  • No Coincidence?Matthew Bedke - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:102-125.
    This paper critically examines coincidence arguments and evolutionary debunking arguments against non-naturalist realism in metaethics. It advances a version of these arguments that goes roughly like this: Given a non-naturalist, realist metaethic, it would be cosmically coincidental if our first order normative beliefs were true. This coincidence undermines any prima facie justification enjoyed by those beliefs.
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  • Moral Skepticism: An Introduction and Overview.Diego E. Machuca - 2018 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Moral Skepticism: New Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-31.
    In this introductory chapter, I not only present the essays that make up this volume but also I offer an extensive critical overview of moral skepticism with the hope that it will turn out to be useful particularly to the uninitiated reader. I first provide a taxonomy of varieties of moral skepticism, then discuss the main arguments advanced in their favor, and finally summarize the ten essays here collected, which deal with one or more of those skeptical stances and arguments.
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  • Evolutionary Arguments Against Moral Realism: Why the Empirical Details Matter (and Which Ones Do).Jeroen Hopster - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):41.
    The aim of this article is to identify the strongest evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and to assess on which empirical assumptions it relies. In the recent metaethical literature, several authors have de-emphasized the evolutionary component of EDAs against moral realism: presumably, the success or failure of these arguments is largely orthogonal to empirical issues. I argue that this claim is mistaken. First, I point out that Sharon Street’s and Michael Ruse’s EDAs both involve substantive claims about the evolution (...)
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  • Entre Cila e Caríbdis: o dilema darwiniano e o debunking da moralidade.Evandro Barbosa - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (1).
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  • Animal Cognition, Species Invariantism, and Mathematical Realism.Helen De Cruz - 2019 - In Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 39-61.
    What can we infer from numerical cognition about mathematical realism? In this paper, I will consider one aspect of numerical cognition that has received little attention in the literature: the remarkable similarities of numerical cognitive capacities across many animal species. This Invariantism in Numerical Cognition (INC) indicates that mathematics and morality are disanalogous in an important respect: proto-moral beliefs differ substantially between animal species, whereas proto-mathematical beliefs (at least in the animals studied) seem to show more similarities. This makes moral (...)
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  • La réponse naturelle : une solution inadéquate au dilemme darwinien.Félix Aubé Beaudoin - 2015 - Philosophiques 42 (1):131-151.
    Félix Aubé Beaudoin | : Le dilemme darwinien, formulé par Sharon Street, somme les réalistes moraux d’expliquer pourquoi de nombreux jugements qui sont des candidats au statut de vérités morales indépendantes sont aussi ceux qui ont une grande valeur sélective. Les réalistes peuvent soit nier, soit affirmer l’existence d’un lien entre pressions évolutionnistes et vérités morales. Selon Street, la première option mène au scepticisme tandis que la seconde est indéfendable sur le plan scientifique. Peter Singer et Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek optent (...)
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  • Which Causes of Moral Beliefs Matter?Elizabeth O’Neill - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1070-1080.
    I argue that information about the distal causes of moral beliefs, such as evolution, is only relevant for assessing the epistemic status of moral beliefs in cases where we cannot determine whether the proximal processes producing these beliefs are reliable just by examining the properties of these proximal processes. Any investigation into the epistemic status of moral beliefs given their causes should start with a look at proximal causes—not at evolution. I discuss two proximal psychological influences on moral beliefs—disgust and (...)
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  • What is the Benacerraf Problem?Justin Clarke-Doane - 2017 - In Fabrice Pataut (ed.), New Perspectives on the Philosophy of Paul Benacerraf: Truth, Objects, Infinity. Springer Verlag.
    In "Mathematical Truth", Paul Benacerraf articulated an epistemological problem for mathematical realism. His formulation of the problem relied on a causal theory of knowledge which is now widely rejected. But it is generally agreed that Benacerraf was onto a genuine problem for mathematical realism nevertheless. Hartry Field describes it as the problem of explaining the reliability of our mathematical beliefs, realistically construed. In this paper, I argue that the Benacerraf Problem cannot be made out. There simply is no intelligible problem (...)
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  • Nietzsche and Contemporary Metaethics.Alex Silk - 2018 - In Paul Katsafanas (ed.), Routledge Philosophical Minds: The Nietzschean Mind. Routledge.
    Recent decades have witnessed a flurry of interest in Nietzsche's metaethics — his views, if any, on metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological issues about normativity and normative language and judgment. Various authors have highlighted a tension between Nietzsche's metaethical views about value and his ardent endorsement of a particular evaluative perspective: Although Nietzsche makes apparently "antirealist" claims to the effect that there are no evaluative facts, he vehemently engages in evaluative discourse and enjoins the "free spirits" to create values. Nearly (...)
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  • In Defense of Future Tuesday Indifference: Ideally Coherent Eccentrics and the Contingency of What Matters.Sharon Street - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):273-298.
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  • How to Avoid Begging the Question Against Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.David Copp - forthcoming - Ratio.
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  • Ethical Objectivity: The Test of Time.Carla Bagnoli - forthcoming - Ratio.
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  • Old Wine in New Bottles.Michael Klenk - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to show that robust moral realism, the metaethical view that there are non-natural and mind-independent moral properties and facts that we can know about, is incompatible with evolutionary explanations of morality. One of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments is advanced by Sharon Street, who argues that if moral realism were true, then objective moral knowledge is unlikely because realist moral properties are evolutionary irrelevant and moral beliefs about those properties would not be selected for. However, (...)
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  • Objectivity.Ross Colebrook & Hagop Sarkissian - 2018 - In Todd K. Shackelford & Vivian A. Weekes-Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.
    In this entry, we outline the ways in which evolutionary theory has implications for the objectivity of morality.
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  • Do Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Rest on a Mistake About Evolutionary Explanations?Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1799-1817.
    Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negative View, natural selection (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Moral Realism, Constructivism, and Explaining Moral Knowledge.Elizabeth Tropman - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (2):126-140.
    One of the alleged advantages of a constructivist theory in metaethics is that the theory avoids the epistemological problems with moral realism while reaping many of realism's benefits. According to evolutionary debunking arguments, the epistemological problem with moral realism is that the evolutionary history of our moral beliefs makes it hard to see how our moral beliefs count as knowledge of moral facts, realistically construed. Certain forms of constructivism are supposed to be immune to this argument, giving the view a (...)
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  • Evolution and the Normativity of Epistemic Reasons.Sharon Street - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):213-248.
    Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.— Quine.
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  • Ethics and Evolutionary Theory.Erik J. Wielenberg - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):502-515.
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Proximate/Ultimate Distinction.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):196-203.
    Many philosophers believe that natural selection explanations debunk our moral beliefs or would do so if moral realism were true, relying on the assumption that explanations of this kind show that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs. Here I argue that this assumption rests on a confusion of proximate and ultimate explanatory factors. Insofar as evolutionary debunking arguments hinge on the assumption that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs, these arguments fall short.
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  • Sharon Streets Humeanischer Konstruktivismus Und Das Verhältnis von Normativität Und Moral.Sören Hilbrich - 2017 - Zeitschrift Für Praktische Philosophie 4 (1):61-80.
    Sharon Street vertritt einen Humeanischen Konstruktivismus in der Metaethik, nach dem die normativen Gründe einer Akteurin von dem System ihrer eigenen normativen Urteile abhängen. Ein normatives Urteil ist nach Street genau dann wahr, wenn es zu der ideal kohärenten Menge der normativen Urteile gehört, die die Akteurin im Überlegungsgleichgewicht hätte. In diesem Aufsatz wird die Frage diskutiert, wie diese Konzeption von Normativität mit einer Konzeption von Moral verbunden werden kann. Eine Möglichkeit hierfür besteht darin, an einer engen Verbindung von Normativität (...)
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  • A Strike Against a Striking Principle.Dan Baras - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    Several authors believe that there are certain facts that are striking and cry out for explanation—for instance, a coin that is tossed many times and lands in the alternating sequence HTHTHTHTHTHT…. According to this view, we have prima facie reason to believe that such facts are not the result of chance. I call this view the striking principle. Based on this principle, some have argued for far-reaching conclusions, such as that our universe was created by intelligent design, that there are (...)
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  • Meta‐Normative Realism, Evolution, and Our Reasons to Survive.Jeff Behrends - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):486-502.
    In this article, I articulate and respond to an epistemological challenge to meta-normative realism. The challenge has it that, if realism about the normative is correct, and if evolutionary forces have significantly influenced our normative judgments, then it would be a remarkable coincidence if the content of the normative facts and our normative judgments were aligned. I criticize David Enoch's recent attempt to meet this challenge, but provide an alternative response that is structurally similar. I argue that if realism is (...)
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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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  • Debunking Evolutionary Debunking of Ethical Realism.William J. FitzPatrick - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):883-904.
    What implications, if any, does evolutionary biology have for metaethics? Many believe that our evolutionary background supports a deflationary metaethics, providing a basis at least for debunking ethical realism. Some arguments for this conclusion appeal to claims about the etiology of the mental capacities we employ in ethical judgment, while others appeal to the etiology of the content of our moral beliefs. In both cases the debunkers’ claim is that the causal roles played by evolutionary factors raise deep epistemic problems (...)
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  • The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
    Our project in this essay is to showcase nonnaturalistic moral realism’s resources for responding to metaphysical and epistemological objections by taking the view in some new directions. The central thesis we will argue for is that there is a battery of substantive moral propositions that are also nonnaturalistic conceptual truths. We call these propositions the moral fixed points. We will argue that they must find a place in any system of moral norms that applies to beings like us, in worlds (...)
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  • Debunking Morality: Lessons From the EAAN Literature.Andrew Moon - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):208-226.
    This paper explores evolutionary debunking arguments as they arise in metaethics against moral realism and in philosophy of religion against naturalism. Both literatures have independently grappled with the question of which beliefs one may use to respond to a potential defeater. In this paper, I show how the literature on the argument against naturalism can help clarify and bring progress to the literature on moral realism with respect to this question. Of note, it will become clear that the objection that (...)
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  • Natural Kinds as Categorical Bottlenecks.Laura Franklin-Hall - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):925-948.
    Both realist and anti-realist accounts of natural kinds possess prima facie virtues: realists can straightforwardly make sense of the apparent objectivity of the natural kinds, and anti-realists, their knowability. This paper formulates a properly anti-realist account designed to capture both merits. In particular, it recommends understanding natural kinds as ‘categorical bottlenecks,’ those categories that not only best serve us, with our idiosyncratic aims and cognitive capacities, but also those of a wide range of alternative agents. By endorsing an ultimately subjective (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Reliability of Moral Cognition.Benjamin James Fraser - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):457-473.
    Recent debate in metaethics over evolutionary debunking arguments against morality has shown a tendency to abstract away from relevant empirical detail. Here, I engage the debate about Darwinian debunking of morality with relevant empirical issues. I present four conditions that must be met in order for it to be reasonable to expect an evolved cognitive faculty to be reliable: the environment, information, error, and tracking conditions. I then argue that these conditions are not met in the case of our evolved (...)
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  • Ontology for an Uncompromising Ethical Realism.William FitzPatrick - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):537-547.
    I begin by distinguishing two general approaches to metaethics and ontology. One in effect puts our experience as engaged ethical agents on hold while independent metaphysical and epistemological inquiries, operating by their own lights, deliver metaethical verdicts on acceptable interpretations of our ethical lives; the other instead keeps engaged ethical experience in focus and allows our reflective interpretation of it to shape our metaphysical and epistemological views, including our ontology. While the former approach often leads to deflationary views, the latter (...)
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  • Evolutionary Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism.Jessica Isserow - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skeptical strength of an evolutionary debunking argument (...)
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  • Must Realists Be Skeptics? An Aristotelian Reply to a Darwinian Dilemma.Micah Lott - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):71-96.
    In a series of influential essays, Sharon Street has argued, on the basis of Darwinian considerations, that normative realism leads to skepticism about moral knowledge. I argue that if we begin with the account of moral knowledge provided by Aristotelian naturalism, then we can offer a satisfactory realist response to Street’s argument, and that Aristotelian naturalism can avoid challenges facing other realist responses. I first explain Street’s evolutionary argument and three of the most prominent realist responses, and I identify challenges (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking of Morality: Epistemological or Metaphysical?Ramon Das - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):417-435.
    It is widely supposed that evolutionary debunking arguments against morality constitute a type of epistemological objection to our moral beliefs. In particular, the debunking force of such arguments is not supposed to depend on the metaphysical claim that moral facts do not exist. In this paper I argue that this standard epistemological construal of EDAs is highly misleading, if not mistaken. Specifically, I argue that the most widely discussed EDAs all make key and controversial metaphysical claims about the nature of (...)
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  • Ethical Non-Naturalism and the Guise of the Good.Francesco Orsi - 2018 - Topoi (4):581-590.
    The paper presents a positive argument for a version of metaphysically light ethical non-naturalism from the nature of mental states such as desires. It uses as its premise the time-honoured, and recently rediscovered, doctrine of the guise of the good, whereby it is essential to desire that the object of desire be conceived as good or as normatively favoured under some description. The argument is that if the guise of the good is a correct theory of desire, then a certain (...)
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  • What is Constructivism in Ethics and Metaethics?Sharon Street - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
    Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'proceduralist characterization' of constructivism in ethics is (...)
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