Evolution, Moral Justification, and Moral Realism

Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 3 (1):8-18 (2012)
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Does evolutionary theory have the potential to undermine morality? In his book The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce (2006) argues for a positive answer. He contends that an evolutionary account of morality would undermine moral judgements and lend support to moral scepticism. I offer a critique of Joyce’s argument. As it turns out, his case can be read in two different ways. It could be construed as an argument to establish a general scepticism about the justification of moral judgements. Or it could be read as an argument that targets only a particular meta-ethical position, namely moral realism. My claim is that it fails on both interpretations. There is no reason to believe that evolutionary considerations undermine morality.

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Uwe Peters
Utrecht University


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