Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):491-509 (2020)
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Abstract

Evolutionary debunking arguments appeal to selective etiologies of human morality in an attempt to undermine moral realism. But is morality actually the product of evolution by natural selection? Although debunking arguments have attracted considerable attention in recent years, little of it has been devoted to whether the underlying evolutionary assumptions are credible. In this paper, we take a closer look at the evolutionary hypotheses put forward by two leading debunkers, namely Sharon Street and Richard Joyce. We raise a battery of considerations, both empirical and theoretical, that combine to cast doubt on the plausibility of both hypotheses. We also suggest that it is unlikely that there is in the vicinity a plausible alternative hypothesis suitable for the debunker’s cause.

Author Profiles

Arnon Levy
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yair Levy
Tel Aviv University

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