The Evolutionary Debunking of Quasi-Realism

In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology. London: Routledge. pp. 33-55 (2022)
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In “The Evolutionary Debunking of Quasi-Realism,” Neil Sinclair and James Chamberlain present a novel answer that quasi-realists can pro-vide to a version of the reliability challenge in ethics—which asks for an explanation of why our moral beliefs are generally true—and in so doing, they examine whether evolutionary arguments can debunk quasi-realism. Although reliability challenges differ from EDAs in several respects, there may well be a connection between them. For the explanatory premise of an EDA may state that a particular theory of beliefs of a certain kind does not, or cannot, provide a plausible account of why those beliefs might be generally true, and its epistemic premise may state that, if that is the case, then the beliefs in question have a negative epistemic status or the theory is false inasmuch as, if it were true, it would lead to those beliefs having such a negative epistemic status. The quasi-realist can answer the reli-ability challenge by claiming that, when we form our moral beliefs through a process of well-informed impartial reflection, we form them in response to the non-moral features of things on which depend the moral features they have. Hence, when we form beliefs by means of such a process, we are most likely forming true moral beliefs.

Author Profiles

Neil Sinclair
Nottingham University
James Chamberlain
University of Sheffield


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