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  1. Defusing the Regress Challenge to Debunking Arguments.Shang Long Yeo - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (6):785-800.
    A debunking argument contends that some target moral judgments were produced by unreliable processes and concludes that such judgments are unjustified. Debunking arguments face a regress challenge: to show that a process is unreliable at tracking the moral truth, we need to rely on other moral judgments. But we must show that these relied-upon judgments are also reliable, which requires yet a further set of judgments, whose reliability needs to be confirmed too, and so on. Some argue that the debunker (...)
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  • The Self-Effacement Gambit.Jack Woods - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):113-139.
    Philosophical arguments usually are and nearly always should be abductive. Across many areas, philosophers are starting to recognize that often the best we can do in theorizing some phenomena is put forward our best overall account of it, warts and all. This is especially true in esoteric areas like logic, aesthetics, mathematics, and morality where the data to be explained is often based in our stubborn intuitions. -/- While this methodological shift is welcome, it's not without problems. Abductive arguments involve (...)
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  • Mathematics, Morality, and Self‐Effacement.Jack Woods - 2016 - Noûs.
    I argue that certain species of belief, such as mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, are insulated from a form of Harman-style debunking argument whereas moral beliefs, the primary target of such arguments, are not. Harman-style arguments have been misunderstood as attempts to directly undermine our moral beliefs. They are rather best given as burden-shifting arguments, concluding that we need additional reasons to maintain our moral beliefs. If we understand them this way, then we can see why moral beliefs are vulnerable (...)
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  • The Evolution of Retribution: Intuitions Undermined.Isaac Wiegman - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2):490-510.
    Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...)
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  • Ethics and Evolutionary Theory.Erik Joseph Wielenberg - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):502-515.
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  • Why Conceptual Competence Won’T Help the Non-Naturalist Epistemologist.Preston J. Werner - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):616-637.
    Non-naturalist normative realists face an epistemological objection: They must explain how their preferred route of justification ensures a non-accidental connection between justified moral beliefs and the normative truths. One strategy for meeting this challenge begins by pointing out that we are semantically or conceptually competent in our use of the normative terms, and then argues that this competence guarantees the non-accidental truth of some of our first-order normative beliefs. In this paper, I argue against this strategy by illustrating that this (...)
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  • Moral Perception.Preston J. Werner - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).
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  • The Limits of Rational Belief Revision: A Dilemma for the Darwinian Debunker.Katia Vavova - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):717-734.
    We are fallible creatures, prone to making all sorts of mistakes. So, we should be open to evidence of error. But what constitutes such evidence? And what is it to rationally accommodate it? I approach these questions by considering an evolutionary debunking argument according to which (a) we have good, scientific, reason to think our moral beliefs are mistaken, and (b) rationally accommodating this requires revising our confidence in, or altogether abandoning the suspect beliefs. I present a dilemma for such (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism.Katia Vavova - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments move from a premise about the influence of evolutionary forces on our moral beliefs to a skeptical conclusion about those beliefs. My primary aim is to clarify this empirically grounded epistemological challenge. I begin by distinguishing among importantly different sorts of epistemological attacks. I then demonstrate that instances of each appear in the literature under the ‘evolutionary debunking’ title. Distinguishing them clears up some confusions and helps us better understand the structure and potential of evolutionary debunking arguments.
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  • Irrelevant Influences.Katia Vavova - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:134-152.
    We often hear such casual accusations: you just believe that because you are a liberal, a Christian, an American, a woman… When such charges are made they are meant to sting—not just emotionally, but epistemically. But should they? It can be disturbing to learn that one's beliefs reflect the influence of such irrelevant factors. The pervasiveness of such influence has led some to worry that we are not justified in many of our beliefs. That same pervasiveness has led others to (...)
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  • Moral Disagreement and Moral Skepticism.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):302-333.
    The fact of moral disagreement when conjoined with Conciliationism, an independently attractive view about the epistemic significance disagreement, seems to entail moral skepticism. This worries those who like Conciliationism, the independently attractive view, but dislike moral skepticism. Others, equally inclined against moral skepticism, think this is a reductio of Conciliationism. I argue that they are both wrong. There is no reductio and nothing to worry about.
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  • Advanced D&D.Chris Tillman & Joshua Spencer - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):533-544.
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  • Debunking and Fully Apt Belief.Joshua C. Thurow - 2018 - Filosofia Unisinos 19 (3).
    One of the contentious philosophical issues surrounding the cognitive science of religion (CSR) is whether well-confirmed CSR theories would debunk religious beliefs. These debates have been contentious in part because of criticisms of epistemic principles used in debunking arguments. In this paper I use Ernest Sosa’s respected theory of knowledge as fully apt belief—which avoids objections that have been leveled against sensitivity and safety principles often used in debunking arguments—to construct a plausible debunking argument for religious belief on the assumption (...)
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  • Hope for the Evolutionary Debunker: How Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and Arguments from Moral Disagreement Can Join Forces.Folke Tersman & Olle Risberg - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
    Facts about moral disagreement and human evolution have both been said to exclude the possibility of moral knowledge, but the question of how these challenges interact has largely gone unaddressed. The paper aims to present and defend a novel version of the evolutionary “debunking” argument for moral skepticism that appeals to both types of considerations. This argument has several advantages compared to more familiar versions. The standard debunking strategy is to argue that evolutionary accounts of moral beliefs generate skeptical implications (...)
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  • What Is the Question to Which Anti-Natalism Is the Answer?Nicholas Smyth - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):1-17.
    The ethics of biological procreation has received a great deal of attention in recent years. Yet, as I show in this paper, much of what has come to be called procreative ethics is conducted in a strangely abstract, impersonal mode, one which stands little chance of speaking to the practical perspectives of any prospective parent. In short, the field appears to be flirting with a strange sort of practical irrelevance, wherein its verdicts are answers to questions that no-one is asking. (...)
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  • Undermining versus rebutting: options for responding to evolutionary debunking arguments.Emily Slome - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-18.
    In this paper, I argue that the success of evolutionary debunking arguments hinges on what theory of epistemic justification one endorses. More specifically, I argue that what it takes to satisfactorily respond to evolutionary debunking arguments depends on what view of epistemic justification one is operating under and that a thorough analysis of any line of response to evolutionary debunking arguments must take into account whether there is a specific view of justification motivating the response or looming in the background. (...)
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  • Moral Progress and Evolution: Knowledge Versus Understanding.Eleonora Severini - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (1):87-105.
    The paper explores the interplay among moral progress, evolution and moral realism. Although it is nearly uncontroversial to note that morality makes progress of one sort or another, it is far from uncontroversial to define what constitutes moral progress. In a minimal sense, moral progress occurs when a subsequent state of affairs is better than a preceding one. Moral realists conceive “it is better than” as something like “it more adequately reflects moral facts”; therefore, on a realist view, moral progress (...)
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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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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 2 : The Kantian Conception of Rationality and Rationalist Constructivism.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):702-713.
    In the second half of this essay, I discuss the robust conception of rationality that lies at the heart of the Kantian version of Rationalist Constructivism – offering some reasons to prefer this conception to the more minimal accounts of rationality associated with Humean views. I then go on to discuss some of the potential metaethical advantages of the resulting form of constructivism.
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  • Local Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Richard Rowland - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):170-199.
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  • A New Route From Moral Disagreement to Moral Skepticism.Olle Risberg & Folke Tersman - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):189-207.
    Moral disagreement is sometimes thought to pose problems for moral realism because it shows that we cannot achieve knowledge of the moral facts the realists posit. In particular, it is "fundamental" moral disagreement—that is, disagreement that is not due to distorting factors such as ignorance of relevant nonmoral facts, bad reasoning skills, or the like—that is supposed to generate skeptical implications. In this paper, we show that this version of the disagreement challenge is flawed as it stands. The reason is (...)
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  • Can the Empirical Sciences Contribute to the Moral Realism/Anti-Realism Debate?Thomas Pölzler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4907-4930.
    An increasing number of moral realists and anti-realists have recently attempted to support their views by appeal to science. Arguments of this kind are typically criticized on the object-level. In addition, however, one occasionally also comes across a more sweeping metatheoretical skepticism. Scientific contributions to the question of the existence of objective moral truths, it is claimed, are impossible in principle; most prominently, because such arguments impermissibly derive normative from descriptive propositions, such arguments beg the question against non-naturalist moral realism, (...)
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  • Conceptual Truths, Evolution, and Reliability About Authoritative Normativity.David Plunkett - 2020 - Jurisprudence 11 (2):169-212.
    An important challenge for non-naturalistic moral realism is that it seems hard to reconcile it with the (purported) fact of our reliability in forming correct moral beliefs. Some philosophers (including Cuneo and Shafer-Landau) have argued that we can appeal to conceptual truths about our moral concepts in order to respond to this challenge. Call this “the conceptual strategy”. The conceptual strategy faces a problem: it isn’t clear that the relevant moral concepts are “extension-revealing” in the way that the conceptual strategy (...)
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  • Disagreement and Doubts About Darwinian Debunking.Alexandra Plakias - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments draw on claims about the biological origins of our moral beliefs to undermine moral realism. In this paper, I argue that moral disagreement gives us reason to doubt the evolutionary explanations of moral judgment on which such arguments rely. The extent of cross-cultural and historical moral diversity suggests that evolution can’t explain the content of moral norms. Nor can it explain the capacity to make moral judgment in the way the debunker requires: empirical studies of folk moral (...)
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  • Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach.Robert Carry Osborne - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):197-221.
    Debunking arguments typically attempt to show that a set of beliefs or other intensional mental states bear no appropriate explanatory connection to the facts they purport to be about. That is, a debunking argument will attempt to show that beliefs about p are not held because of the facts about p. Such beliefs, if true, would then only be accidentally so. Thus, their causal origins constitute an undermining defeater. Debunking arguments arise in various philosophical domains, targeting beliefs about morality, the (...)
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  • What Can Debunking Do for Us (Sceptics and Nihilists)?Jonas Olson - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):290-299.
    Debunking arguments in metaethics are often presented as particularly challenging for non‐naturalistic versions of moral realism. The first aim of this paper is to explore and defend a response on behalf of non‐naturalism. The second aim of the paper is to argue that although non‐naturalism’s response is satisfactory, this does not mean that debunking arguments are metaethically uninteresting. They have a limited and indirect role to play in the exchange between non‐naturalists and moral error theorists. In the end, debunking arguments (...)
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  • When Do Replies to the Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism Beg the Question?Justin Morton - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):265-280.
    ABSTRACTSome proponents of the evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism believe that replies that assume substantive moral claims beg the question. In this paper, I give a new account of what's wrong with such replies. On this account, many realists beg the question when they rely on substantive moral claims in their replies to the argument, but naturalists do not. While this account generalizes to some other domains, it allows perceptual and inductive realism to remain undebunked.
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  • Can Theists Avoid Epistemological Objections to Moral (and Normative) Realism?Justin Morton - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (3):291-312.
    Epistemological objections to moral realism allege that realism entails moral skepticism. Many philosophers have assumed that theistic moral realists can easily avoid such objections. In this article, I argue that things are not so easy: theists run the risk of violating an important constraint on replies to epistemological objections, according to which replies to such objections may not rely on substantive moral claims of a certain kind. Yet after presenting this challenge, I then argue that theists can meet it, successfully (...)
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  • A New Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism.Justin Morton - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):233-253.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments claim that evolution has influenced our moral faculties in such a way that, if moral realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. I present several popular objections to the standard version of this argument, then give a new EDA that has clear advantages in responding to these objections. Whereas the Standard EDA argues that evolution has selected for many moral beliefs with certain contents, this New EDA claims that evolution has selected for one belief: (...)
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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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  • What Makes Evolution a Defeater?Matt Lutz - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1105-1126.
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments purport to show that our moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge because these beliefs are “debunked” by the fact that our moral beliefs are, in some way, the product of evolutionary forces. But there is a substantial gap in this argument between its main evolutionary premise and the skeptical conclusion. What is it, exactly, about the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs that would create problems for realist views in metaethics? I argue that evolutionary debunking arguments are (...)
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  • The Moral Closure Argument.Matt Lutz - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (1).
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  • The Epistemic Benefits of Disagreement.Kirk Lougheed - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
    This book presents an original discussion and analysis of epistemic peer disagreement. It reviews a wide range of cases from the literature, and extends the definition of epistemic peerhood with respect to the current one, to account for the actual variability found in real-world examples. The book offers a number of arguments supporting the variability in the nature and in the range of disagreements, and outlines the main benefits of disagreement among peers i.e. what the author calls the benefits to (...)
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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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  • From Independence to Conciliationism: An Obituary.Errol Lord - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2):1-13.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 92, Issue 2, Page 365-377, June 2014.
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  • A dilemma for evolutionary debunking arguments.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):45-69.
    Evolutionary debunkers claim that evolutionary explanations of moral phenomena lead to sceptical conclusions. The aim of this paper is to show that even if we grant debunkers the speculative claims that evolution provides the best explanation of moral phenomena and that there are no other moral phenomena for which moral facts/properties are indispensable, the sceptical conclusions debunkers seek to establish still do not follow. The problem for debunkers is to link the empirical explanatory claim to the normative conclusion that moral (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking: The Milvian Bridge Destabilized.Christos Kyriacou - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2695-2713.
    Recent literature has paid attention to a demarcation problem for evolutionary debunking arguments. This is the problem of asking in virtue of what regulative metaepistemic norm evolutionary considerations either render a belief justified, or debunk it as unjustified. I examine the so-called ‘Milvian Bridge principle’ A new science of religion, Routledge, New York, 2012; Sloan, McKenny, Eggelson Darwin in the 21st century: nature, humanity, and God, University Press, Notre Dame, 2015)), which offers exactly such a called for regulative metaepistemic norm. (...)
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  • Are Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Self-Debunking?Christos Kyriacou - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (4):1351-1366.
    I argue that, at least on the assumption that if there are epistemic facts they are irreducible, the evolutionary debunking maneuver is prima facie self-debunking because it seems to debunk a certain class of facts, namely, epistemic facts that prima facie it needs to rely on in order to launch its debunking arguments. I then appeal to two recent reconstructions of the evolutionary debunking maneuver (Kahane (2011), Griffiths and Wilkins (2015)) and find them wanting. Along the way I set aside (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
    Debunking arguments—also known as etiological arguments, genealogical arguments, access problems, isolation objec- tions, and reliability challenges—arise in philosophical debates about a diverse range of topics, including causation, chance, color, consciousness, epistemic reasons, free will, grounding, laws of nature, logic, mathematics, modality, morality, natural kinds, ordinary objects, religion, and time. What unifies the arguments is the transition from a premise about what does or doesn't explain why we have certain mental states to a negative assessment of their epistemic status. I examine (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Evolutionary Debunking.Justis Koon - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12155-12176.
    Fifteen years ago, Sharon Street and Richard Joyce advanced evolutionary debunking arguments against moral realism, which purported to show that the evolutionary history of our moral beliefs makes moral realism untenable. These arguments have since given rise to a flurry of objections; the epistemic principles Street and Joyce relied upon, in particular, have come in for a number of serious challenges. My goal in this paper is to develop a new account of evolutionary debunking which avoids the pitfalls Street and (...)
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  • Third Factor Explanations and Disagreement in Metaethics.Michael Klenk - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):427-446.
    Several moral objectivists try to explain the reliability of moral beliefs by appealing to a third factor, a substantive moral claim that explains, first, why we have the moral beliefs that we have and, second, why these beliefs are true. Folke Tersman has recently suggested that moral disagreement constrains the epistemic legitimacy of third-factor explanations. Apart from constraining third-factor explanations, Tersman’s challenge could support the view that the epistemic significance of debunking explanations depends on the epistemic significance of disagreement. This (...)
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  • Old Wine in New Bottles: Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Benacerraf–Field Challenge.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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  • Evolutionary Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism.Jessica Isserow - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1025-1045.
    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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  • Striking Coincidences: How Realists Should Reason About Them.Jeroen Hopster - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):260-274.
    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 takes (...)
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  • Normative Moral Neuroscience: The Third Tradition of Neuroethics.Geoffrey S. Holtzman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):411-431.
    Neuroethics is typically conceived of as consisting of two traditions: the ethics of neuroscience and the neuroscience of moral judgment. However, recent work has sought to draw philosophical and ethical implications from the neuroscience of moral judgment. Such work, which concernsnormative moral neuroscience, is sufficiently distinct and complex to deserve recognition as a third tradition of neuroethics. Recognizing it as such can reduce confusion among researchers, eliminating conflations among both critics and proponents of NMN.This article identifies and unpacks some of (...)
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  • Famine, Affluence and Intuitions: Evolutionary Debunking Proves Too Much.Geoffrey S. Holtzman - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (48):57-70.
    Moral theorists like Singer and Greene argue that we should discount intuitions about ‘up-close-and-personal’ moral dilemmas because they are more likely than intuitions about ‘impersonal’ dilemmas to be artifacts of evolution. But by that reasoning, it seems we should ignore the evolved, ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuition to save a drowning child in light of the too-new-to-be-evolved, ‘impersonal’ intuition that we need not donate to international famine relief. This conclusion seems mistaken and horrifying, yet it cannot be the case both that ‘up-close-and-personal’ intuitions (...)
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  • From Isolation to Skepticism.Scott Hill - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):649-668.
    If moral properties lacked causal powers, would moral skepticism be true? I argue that it would. Along the way I respond to various arguments that it would not.
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  • Ethical Mooreanism.Jonathan Fuqua - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6943-6965.
    In this paper I lay out, argue for, and defend ethical Mooreanism. In essence, the view says that some moral propositions are Moorean propositions and thus are epistemically superior to the conjunctions of the premises of skeptical arguments to the contrary. In Sect. 1 I explain Mooreanism and then ethical Mooreanism. In Sect. 2 I argue for ethical Mooreanism by noting a number of important epistemic parities that hold between certain moral truths and standard Moorean facts. In Sect. 3 I (...)
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  • What Do You Mean “This Isn’T the Question”?David Enoch & Tristram McPherson - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):820-840.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Tim Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons. We have two aims here: First, we ask for more details about Scanlon’s meta-metaphysical view, showing problems with salient clarifications. And second, we raise independent objections to the view – to its explanatory productivity, its distinctness, and the argumentative support it enjoys.
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  • Luck: Evolutionary and Epistemic.Billy Dunaway - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4):441-461.
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