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  1. A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.Nathan Cofnas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3171-3191.
    According to “debunking arguments,” our moral beliefs are explained by evolutionary and cultural processes that do not track objective, mind-independent moral truth. Therefore we ought to be skeptics about moral realism. Huemer counters that “moral progress”—the cross-cultural convergence on liberalism—cannot be explained by debunking arguments. According to him, the best explanation for this phenomenon is that people have come to recognize the objective correctness of liberalism. Although Huemer may be the first philosopher to make this explicit empirical argument for moral (...)
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  • A Debunking Explanation for Moral Progress.Nathan Cofnas - 2019 - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    According to “debunking arguments,” our moral beliefs are explained by evolutionary and cultural processes that do not track objective, mind-independent moral truth. Therefore (the debunkers say) we ought to be skeptics about moral realism. Huemer counters that “moral progress”—the cross-cultural convergence on liberalism—cannot be explained by debunking arguments. According to him, the best explanation for this phenomenon is that people have come to recognize the objective correctness of liberalism. Although Huemer may be the first philosopher to make this explicit empirical (...)
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  • Etiological Challenges to Religious Practices.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):329–340.
    There is a common assumption that evolutionary explanations of religion undermine religious beliefs. Do etiological accounts similarly affect the rationality of religious practices? To answer this question, this paper looks at two influential evolutionary accounts of ritual, the hazard-precaution model and costly signaling theory. It examines whether Cuneo’s account of ritual knowledge as knowing to engage God can be maintained in the light of these evolutionary accounts. While the evolutionary accounts under consideration are not metaphysically incompatible with the idea that (...)
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  • Skepticism Motivated: On the Skeptical Import of Motivated Reasoning.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy (6):1-17.
    Empirical work on motivated reasoning suggests that our judgments are influenced to a surprising extent by our wants, desires and preferences (Kahan 2016; Lord, Ross, and Lepper 1979; Molden and Higgins 2012; Taber and Lodge 2006). How should we evaluate the epistemic status of beliefs formed through motivated reasoning? For example, are such beliefs epistemically justified? Are they candidates for knowledge? In liberal democracies, these questions are increasingly controversial as well as politically timely (Beebe et al. 2018; Lynch forthcoming, 2018; (...)
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  • “That’s Unhelpful, Harmful and Offensive!” Epistemic and Ethical Concerns with Meta-Argument Allegations.Hugh Breakey - forthcoming - Argumentation:1-20.
    “Meta-argument allegations” consist of protestations that an interlocutor’s speech is wrongfully offensive or will trigger undesirable social consequences. Such protestations are meta-argument in the sense that they do not interrogate the soundness of an opponent’s argumentation, but instead focus on external features of that argument. They are allegations because they imply moral wrongdoing. There is a legitimate place for meta-argument allegations, and the moral and epistemic goods that can come from them will be front of mind for those levelling such (...)
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  • Big History, Value, and the Art of Continued Existence.Brendan Cline - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):901-930.
    There has lately been substantial interest in scrutinizing our evaluative attitudes in light of our evolutionary history. However, these discussions have been hampered by an insufficiently expansive vantage. Our history did not begin ex nihilo a few million years ago with the appearance of hominins, or apes, or primates—those are very recent chapters of a much larger story that spans billions of years. This paper situates the mechanisms underlying normative thought within this broader context. I argue that this historical perspective (...)
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  • Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.Guy Axtell - 2019 - Lanham, MD, USA & London, UK: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.
    To speak of being religious lucky certainly sounds odd. But then, so does “My faith holds value in God’s plan, while yours does not.” This book argues that these two concerns — with the concept of religious luck and with asymmetric or sharply differential ascriptions of religious value — are inextricably connected. It argues that religious luck attributions can profitably be studied from a number of directions, not just theological, but also social scientific and philosophical. There is a strong tendency (...)
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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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  • Local Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Richard Rowland - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):170-199.
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  • The Surprising Truth About Disagreement.Neil Levy - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-21.
    Conciliationism—the thesis that when epistemic peers discover that they disagree about a proposition, both should reduce their confidence—faces a major objection: it seems to require us to significantly reduce our confidence in our central moral and political commitments. In this paper, I develop a typology of disagreement cases and a diagnosis of the source and force of the pressure to conciliate. Building on Vavova’s work, I argue that ordinary and extreme disagreements are surprising, and for this reason, they carry information (...)
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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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  • Circular and Question-Begging Responses to Religious Disagreement and Debunking Arguments.Andrew Moon - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    Disagreement and debunking arguments threaten religious belief. In this paper, I draw attention to two types of propositions and show how they reveal new ways to respond to debunking arguments and disagreement. The first type of proposition is the epistemically self-promoting proposition, which, when justifiedly believed, gives one a reason to think that one reliably believes it. Such a proposition plays a key role in my argument that some religious believers can permissibly wield an epistemically circular argument in response to (...)
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  • Evidence: A Guide for the Uncertain.Kevin Dorst - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):586-632.
    Assume that it is your evidence that determines what opinions you should have. I argue that since you should take peer disagreement seriously, evidence must have two features. (1) It must sometimes warrant being modest: uncertain what your evidence warrants, and (thus) uncertain whether you’re rational. (2) But it must always warrant being guided: disposed to treat your evidence as a guide. Surprisingly, it is very difficult to vindicate both (1) and (2). But diagnosing why this is so leads to (...)
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  • The Significance of Significant Fundamental Moral Disagreement.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):802-831.
    This paper is about how moral disagreement matters for metaethics. It has four parts. In the first part I argue that moral facts are subject to a certain epistemic accessibility requirement. Namely, moral facts must be accessible to some possible agent. In the second part I show that because this accessibility requirement on moral facts holds, there is a route from facts about the moral disagreements of agents in idealized conditions to conclusions about what moral facts there are. In the (...)
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  • Religious Conversion, Transformative Experience, and Disagreement.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (1):265-276.
    Religious conversion gives rise to disagreement with one’s former self and with family and friends. Because religious conversion is personally and epistemically transformative, it is difficult to judge whether a former epistemic peer is still one’s epistemic peer post-conversion, just like it is hard for the convert to assess whether she is now in a better epistemic position than prior to her conversion. Through Augustine’s De Utilitate Credendi (The Usefulness of Belief) I show that reasoned argument should play a crucial (...)
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  • Religious Beliefs and Philosophical Views: A Qualitative Study.Helen De Cruz - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (3):477-504.
    Philosophy of religion is often regarded as a philosophical discipline in which irrelevant influences, such as upbringing and education, play a pernicious role. This paper presents results of a qualitative survey among academic philosophers of religion to examine the role of such factors in their work. In light of these findings, I address two questions: an empirical one (whether philosophers of religion are influenced by irrelevant factors in forming their philosophical attitudes) and an epistemological one (whether the influence of irrelevant (...)
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  • Irrelevant Cultural Influences on Belief.Robin McKenna - 2019 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 36 (5):755-768.
    Recent work in psychology on ‘cultural cognition’ suggests that our cultural background drives our attitudes towards a range of politically contentious issues in science such as global warming. This work is part of a more general attempt to investigate the ways in which our wants, wishes and desires impact on our assessments of information, events and theories. Put crudely, the idea is that we conform our assessments of the evidence for and against scientific theories with clear political relevance to our (...)
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  • Indoctrination Anxiety and the Etiology of Belief.Joshua DiPaolo & Robert Mark Simpson - 2016 - Synthese 193 (10):3079-3098.
    People sometimes try to call others’ beliefs into question by pointing out the contingent causal origins of those beliefs. The significance of such ‘Etiological Challenges’ is a topic that has started attracting attention in epistemology. Current work on this topic aims to show that Etiological Challenges are, at most, only indirectly epistemically significant, insofar as they bring other generic epistemic considerations to the agent’s attention. Against this approach, we argue that Etiological Challenges are epistemically significant in a more direct and (...)
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  • Climate Change and Cultural Cognition.Daniel Greco - forthcoming - In Philosophy and Climate Change.
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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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  • Is Epistemic Permissivism Intuitive?Nathan Ballantyne - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (4):365-378.
    In recent debates over permissivism and uniqueness—two theses concerning the relationship between evidence and epistemic rationality—some philosophers have claimed that permissivism has an intuitive advantage over uniqueness. I examine the cases alleged to intuitively motivate permissivism and suggest they do not provide prima facie support for permissivism. I conclude by explaining how my discussion bears on whether permissivism can defeat skeptical arguments based on recognized peer disagreement and the historical contingency of our beliefs.
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  • A Nietzschean Diagnosis of Philosophers.Jared Riggs - unknown
    Friedrich Nietzsche thought that philosophers were deeply mistaken about the nature and sources of philosophical activity. Where others took themselves to be motivated by a desire to know the truth, Nietzsche charged that his fellow philosophers, motivated by a pathological set of psychological and physiological characteristics, did little more than sublimate and rationalize their own prejudices. In this thesis, I sketch out in further detail and defend the plausibility and significance of this Nietzschean diagnosis of philosophers. I argue that since (...)
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  • Some Myths About Ethnocentrism.Adam Etinson - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):209-224.
    Ethnocentrism, it is said, involves believing certain things to be true: that one's culture is superior to others, more deserving of respect, or at the ‘centre’ of things. On the alternative view defended in this article, ethnocentrism is a type of bias, not a set of beliefs. If this is correct, it challenges conventional wisdom about the scope, danger, and avoidance of ethnocentrism.
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  • Conversion, Causes, and Closed-Mindedness.Joshua Dipaolo - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1):74-95.
    ‘You just believe that because you were raised to believe it!’ is a familiar criticism. Many converts, however, believe the opposite of what they were raised to believe. Does this make them immune to these challenges? I scrutinize this ‘conversion defense’. If these challenges only concern belief genealogy, a certain kind of convert is immune to them. However, these challenges often concern closed-mindedness rather than genealogy. Seen in this light, the convert who is immune to the genealogical critique may be (...)
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  • The Arbitrariness Objection Against Permissivism.Ru Ye - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    The debate between Uniqueness and Permissivism concerns whether a body of evidence sometimes allows multiple doxastic attitudes towards a proposition. An important motivation for Uniqueness is the so-called ‘arbitrariness argument,’ which says that Permissivism leads to some unacceptable arbitrariness with regard to one's beliefs. An influential response to the argument says that the arbitrariness in beliefs can be avoided by invoking epistemic standards. In this paper, I argue that such a response to the arbitrariness argument is unsuccessful. Then I defend (...)
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  • An Accuracy Based Approach to Higher Order Evidence.Miriam Schoenfield - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (3):690-715.
    The aim of this paper is to apply the accuracy based approach to epistemology to the case of higher order evidence: evidence that bears on the rationality of one's beliefs. I proceed in two stages. First, I show that the accuracy based framework that is standardly used to motivate rational requirements supports steadfastness—a position according to which higher order evidence should have no impact on one's doxastic attitudes towards first order propositions. The argument for this will require a generalization of (...)
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  • The Right Side of History and Higher-Order Evidence.Adam Green - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
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