The Evolutionary Debunker Meets Sentimental Realism

In Facts and Values: The Ethics and Metaphysics of Normativity. New York: pp. 176-195 (2017)
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In this paper, we propose a defence of Value Realism that relies on the unusual combination of Values Realism with Sentimentalism. What this account, which we call “Sentimental Realism”, holds, in a nutshell, is that what makes evaluative facts special is their relationship to emotions. More precisely, Sentimental Realism claims that evaluative facts are fully objective facts, but that such facts are picked out by concepts that are response-dependent, in the sense that they are essentially tied to emotions. Our plan is as follows. We shall start with a presentation of Sentimental Realism and a discussion of its main virtues. On the basis of this, we shall discuss an objection to Value Realism that draws on evolutionary considerations, the Evolutionary Debunking Argument. We shall argue that Sentimental Realism safely escapes from this dilemma.
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