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  1. Reasons and the Good.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Clarendon Press.
    In Reasons and the Good Roger Crisp answers some of the oldest questions in moral philosophy. Fundamental to ethics, he claims, is the idea of ultimate reasons for action; and he argues controversially that these reasons do not depend on moral concepts. He investigates the nature of reasons themselves, and how we come to know them. He defends a hedonistic theory of well-being and an account of practical reason according to which we can give some, though not overriding, priority to (...)
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  • Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
    If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics or in philosophy of language, this is it.
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  • Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.David Owen Brink - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book is a systematic and constructive treatment of a number of traditional issues at the foundation of ethics, the possibility and nature of moral knowledge, the relationship between the moral point of view and a scientific or naturalistic world view, the nature of moral value and obligation, and the role of morality in a person's rational life plan. In striking contrast to many traditional authors and to other recent writers in the field, David Brink offers an integrated defense of (...)
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  • Ethics and Intuitions.Peter Singer - 2005 - Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331-352.
    For millennia, philosophers have speculated about the origins of ethics. Recent research in evolutionary psychology and the neurosciences has shed light on that question. But this research also has normative significance. A standard way of arguing against a normative ethical theory is to show that in some circumstances the theory leads to judgments that are contrary to our common moral intuitions. If, however, these moral intuitions are the biological residue of our evolutionary history, it is not clear why we should (...)
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  • Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1986 - Hutchinson.
    This new edition of the classic Contemporary Theories of Knowledge has been significantly updated to include analyses of the recent literature in epistemology.
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  • Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Harvard University Press.
    Recasting important questions about truth and objectivity in new and helpful terms, his book will become a focus in the contemporary debates over realism, and ...
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  • On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a major work in moral philosophy, the long-awaited follow-up to Parfit's 1984 classic Reasons and Persons, a landmark of twentieth-century philosophy. Parfit now presents a powerful new treatment of reasons and a critical examination of the most prominent systematic moral theories, leading to his own ground-breaking conclusion.
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  • Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  • Justification Without Awareness: A Defense of Epistemic Externalism.Michael Bergmann - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    Virtually all philosophers agree that for a belief to be epistemically justified, it must satisfy certain conditions. Perhaps it must be supported by evidence. Or perhaps it must be reliably formed. Or perhaps there are some other "good-making" features it must have. But does a belief's justification also require some sort of awareness of its good-making features? The answer to this question has been hotly contested in contemporary epistemology, creating a deep divide among its practitioners. Internalists, who tend to focus (...)
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  • The Negative View of Natural Selection.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):569-573.
    An influential argument due to Elliott Sober, subsequently strengthened by Denis Walsh and Joel Pust, moves from plausible premises to the bold conclusion that natural selection cannot explain the traits of individual organisms. If the argument were sound, the explanatory scope of selection would depend, surprisingly, on metaphysical considerations concerning origin essentialism. I show that the Sober-Walsh-Pust argument rests on a flawed counterfactual criterion for explanatory relevance. I further show that a more defensible criterion for explanatory relevance recently proposed by (...)
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  • The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    This is a book about normativity -- where the central normative terms are words like 'ought' and 'should' and their equivalents in other languages. It has three parts: The first part is about the semantics of normative discourse: what it means to talk about what ought to be the case. The second part is about the metaphysics of normative properties and relations: what is the nature of those properties and relations whose pattern of instantiation makes propositions about what ought to (...)
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  • Normativity and Epistemic Intuitions.Jonathan M. Weinberg, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2001 - Philosophical Topics, 29 (1-2):429-460.
    In this paper we propose to argue for two claims. The first is that a sizeable group of epistemological projects – a group which includes much of what has been done in epistemology in the analytic tradition – would be seriously undermined if one or more of a cluster of empirical hypotheses about epistemic intuitions turns out to be true. The basis for this claim will be set out in Section 2. The second claim is that, while the jury is (...)
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  • The Evolution of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2005 - Bradford.
    Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow (...)
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  • Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.Andreas Lech Mogensen - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    I consider whether evolutionary explanations can debunk our moral beliefs. Most contemporary discussion in this area is centred on the question of whether debunking implications follow from our ability to explain elements of human morality in terms of natural selection, given that there has been no selection for true moral beliefs. By considering the most prominent arguments in the literature today, I offer reasons to think that debunking arguments of this kind fail. However, I argue that a successful evolutionary debunking (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of evaluative beliefs to undermine their justification. This paper aims to clarify the premises and presuppositions of EDAs—a form of argument that is increasingly put to use in normative ethics. I argue that such arguments face serious obstacles. It is often overlooked, for example, that they presuppose the truth of metaethical objectivism. More importantly, even if objectivism is assumed, the use of EDAs in normative ethics is incompatible with a (...)
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  • Depth. An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
    Approaches to explanation -- Causal and explanatory relevance -- The kairetic account of /D making -- The kairetic account of explanation -- Extending the kairetic account -- Event explanation and causal claims -- Regularity explanation -- Abstraction in regularity explanation -- Approaches to probabilistic explanation -- Kairetic explanation of frequencies -- Kairetic explanation of single outcomes -- Looking outward -- Looking inward.
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  • You Just Believe That Because….Roger White - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):573-615.
    I believe that Tom is the proud father of a baby boy. Why do I think his child is a boy? A natural answer might be that I remember that his name is ‘Owen’ which is usually a boy’s name. Here I’ve given information that might be part of a causal explanation of my believing that Tom’s baby is a boy. I do have such a memory and it is largely what sustains my conviction. But I haven’t given you just (...)
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  • What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
    Something about this argument sounds funny. As we’ll see, though, it takes some care to identify exactly what Moore has done wrong. Iwill assume that Moore knows premise (2) to be true. One could inquire into how he knows it, and whether that knowledge can be defeated; but Iwon’t. I’ll focus instead on what epistemic relations Moore has to premise (1) and to his conclusion (3). It may matter which epistemic relations we choose to consider. Some philosophers will diagnose Moore’s (...)
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  • Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.
    The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...)
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  • Pruning the Tree of Life.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):59-80.
    argue that natural selection does not explain the genotypic arid phenotypic properties of individuals. On this view, natural selection explains the adaptedness of individuals, not by explaining why the individuals that exist have the adaptations they do, but rather by explaining why the individuals that exist are the ones with those adaptations. This paper argues that this ‘Negative’ view of natural selection ignores the fact that natural selection is a cumulative selection process. So understood, it explains how the genetic sequences (...)
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  • The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.Charles Darwin - 1898 - Plume.
    The most accessible edition ever published of Darwin’s incendiary classic, edited by “as fine a science essayist as we have” ( New York Times ) The Descent of Man , Darwin’s second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species ), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result (...)
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  • Natural Selection and Distributive Explanation: A Reply to Neander.Elliott Sober - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (3):384-397.
    The thesis that natural selection explains the frequencies of traits in populations, but not why individual organisms have the traits tehy do, is here defended and elaborated. A general concept of ‘distributive explanation’ is discussed.
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  • Explaining Complex Adaptations: A Reply to Sober's 'Reply to Neander'.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):583-587.
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  • Revisionary Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):368-392.
    I argue that, given evidence of the factors that tend to distort our intuitions, ethical intuitionists should disown a wide range of common moral intuitions, and that they should typically give preference to abstract, formal intuitions over more substantive ethical intuitions. In place of the common sense morality with which intuitionism has traditionally allied, the suggested approach may lead to a highly revisionary normative ethics.
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  • Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, this kind of (...)
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  • The Trials of Life: Natural Selection and Random Drift.Denis M. Walsh, Andre Ariew & Tim Lewens - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):452-473.
    We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...)
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  • Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens.Mohan Matthen - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):297-308.
    It has been claimed that certain forms of individual essentialism render the Theory of Natural Selection unable to explain why any given individual has the traits it does. Here, three reasons are offered why the Theory ought to ignore these forms of essentialism. First, the trait-distributions explained by population genetics supervene on individual-level causal links, and thus selection must have individual-level effects. Second, even if there are individuals that possess thick essences, they lie outside the domain of the Theory. Finally, (...)
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  • Discussion. Evolution, Wisconsin Style: Selection and the Explanation of Individual Traits.M. Matthen - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):143-150.
    natural selection may show why all (most, some) humans have an opposable thumb, but cannot show why any particular human has one, Karen Neander ([1995a], [1995b]) argues that this is false because natural selection is 'cumulative'. It is argued here, on grounds independent of its cumulativity, that selection can explain the characteristics of individual organisms subsequent to the event. The difference of opinion between Sober and his critics turns on an ontological dispute about how organisms are identified and individuated. The (...)
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  • Nativism in Cognitive Science.Richard Samuels - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (3):233-65.
    Though nativist hypotheses have played a pivotal role in the development of cognitive science, it remains exceedingly obscure how they—and the debates in which they figure—ought to be understood. The central aim of this paper is to provide an account which addresses this concern and in so doing: a) makes sense of the roles that nativist theorizing plays in cognitive science and, moreover, b), explains why it really matters to the contemporary study of cognition. I conclude by outlining a range (...)
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  • Review of R. Crisp's Reasons and the Good. [REVIEW]Jussi Suikkanen - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):503–505.
    This paper is a short review of Roger Crisp's book Reasons and the Good.
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  • Reply to Copp: Naturalism, Normativity, and the Varieties of Realism Worth Worrying About.Sharon Street - 2008 - Philosophical Issues 18 (1):207-228.
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  • Moral Explanations Defended.Nicholas L. Sturgeon - 2006 - In James Dreier (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Moral Theory. Blackwell. pp. 241--262.
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  • Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy.Michael Ruse - 1986 - Prometheus Books.
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  • Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
    Nozick analyzes fundamental issues, such as the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the foundations of ethics, and the meaning of life.
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  • The Myth of Morality.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2004 - Mind 113 (452):760-763.
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  • Value, Reality, and Desire.Graham Oddie - 2005 - Clarendon Press.
    Value, Reality, and Desire is an extended argument for a robust realism about value. The robust realist affirms the following distinctive theses. There are genuine claims about value which are true or false--there are facts about value. These value-facts are mind-independent - they are not reducible to desires or other mental states, or indeed to any non-mental facts of a non-evaluative kind. And these genuine, mind-independent, irreducible value-facts are causally efficacious. Values, quite literally, affect us. These are not particularly fashionable (...)
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  • Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
    This book examines some of the deepest questions in philosophy: What is involved in judging a belief, action, or feeling to be rational?
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  • The Nature of Normativity.Chris Alen Sula - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (2):227-228.
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  • Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought.William C. Wimsatt - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (4):620-623.
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  • Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.Robert Shaver - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):458.
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  • Origins Are Not Essences in Evolutionary Systematics.Mohan Matthen - 2002 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):167 - 181.
    Sound like a philosopher’s controversy? I think so. In ‘Evolution,’ I argued that Anti-Individualism was committed to a ‘highly metaphysical’ proposition at odds with the methodology of population genetics. This infelicity gave me reason for rejecting it. In his recent article, Pust takes issue with Neander and me. Until Pust wrote, Sober felt some small pressure from Individualism, and had shifted, albeit microscopically, toward it—he thought that on a very broad conception of causation, there might be some reason to think (...)
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  • Natural Selection Explanation and Origin Essentialism.Joel Pust - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):201-220.
    Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the doctrine of origin essentialism and I (...)
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  • Darwinian Ethics and Error.R. Joyce - 2000 - Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):713-732.
    Suppose that the human tendency to think of certain actions andomissions as morally required – a notion that surely lies at the heart of moral discourse – is a trait that has been naturallyselected for. Many have thought that from this premise we canjustify or vindicate moral concepts. I argue that this is mistaken, and defend Michael Ruse's view that the moreplausible implication is an error theory – the idea thatmorality is an illusion foisted upon us by evolution. Thenaturalistic fallacy (...)
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  • The Myth of Morality.Richard Joyce - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    In The Myth of Morality, Richard Joyce argues that moral discourse is hopelessly flawed. At the heart of ordinary moral judgements is a notion of moral inescapability, or practical authority, which, upon investigation, cannot be reasonably defended. Joyce argues that natural selection is to blame, in that it has provided us with a tendency to invest the world with values that it does not contain, and demands that it does not make. Should we therefore do away with morality, as we (...)
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  • Can Cumulative Selection Explain Adaptation?Bence Nanay - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1099-1112.
    Two strong arguments have been given in favor of the claim that no selection process can play a role in explaining adaptations. According to the first argument, selection is a negative force; it may explain why the eliminated individuals are eliminated, but it does not explain why the ones that survived (or their offspring) have the traits they have. The second argument points out that the explanandum and the explanans are phenomena at different levels: selection is a population-level phenomenon, whereas (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Limited Nature of Environmental Resources.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):418-419.
    In this paper, I am clarifying and defending my argument in favor of the claim that cumulative selection can explain adaptation provided that the environmental resources are limited. Further, elaborate on what this limitation of environmental resources means and why it is relevant for the explanatory power of natural selection.
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  • A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
    Contemporary realist theories of value claim to be compatible with natural science. In this paper, I call this claim into question by arguing that Darwinian considerations pose a dilemma for these theories. The main thrust of my argument is this. Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes. The challenge for realist theories of value is to explain the relation between these evolutionary influences on our evaluative attitudes, on the one hand, and the (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Traits of Individual Organisms.Joel Pust - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):765-779.
    I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
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  • On the Explanatory Roles of Natural Selection.Patrick Forber - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):329-342.
    Can selection explain why individuals have the traits they do? This question has generated significant controversy. I will argue that the debate encompasses two separable aspects, to detrimental effect: (1) the role of selection in explaining the origin and evolution of biological traits and (2) the implications this may have for explaining why individuals have the traits they do. (1) can be settled on the basis of evolutionary theory while (2) requires additional, extra-scientific assumptions. By making a distinction between traits (...)
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