The Debunking Challenge to Realism: How Evolution (Ultimately) Matters

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (1):1-8 (2016)
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Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) have attracted extensive attention in meta-ethics, as they pose an important challenge to moral realism. Mogensen (2015) suggests that EDAs contain a fallacy, by confusing two distinct forms of biological explanation – ultimate and proximate. If correct, the point is of considerable importance: evolutionary genealogies of human morality are simply irrelevant for debunking. But we argue that the actual situation is subtler: while ultimate claims do not strictly entail proximate ones, there are important evidential connections between the two. Attending to these connections clears ground for a new and improved EDA. However, it also brings into view some possible problems with EDAs that have been largely neglected so far.

Author Profiles

Yair Levy
Tel Aviv University
Arnon Levy
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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