David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Darwin in the 21st Century (forthcoming)
Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? In this chapter we apply this argument to beliefs in three different domains: morality, religion, and science. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. The simplest reply to evolutionary scepticism is that the truth of beliefs in a certain domain is, in fact, connected to evolutionary success, so that evolution can be expected to design systems that produce true beliefs in that domain. We call a connection between truth and evolutionary success a ‘Milvian bridge’, after the tradition which ascribes the triumph of Christianity at the battle of the Milvian bridge to the truth of Christianity. We argue that a Milvian bridge can be constructed for commonsense beliefs, and extended to scientific beliefs, but not to moral and religious beliefs. An alternative reply to evolutionary scepticism, which has been used defend moral beliefs, is to argue that their truth does not depend on their tracking some external state of affairs. We ask if this reply could be used to defend religious beliefs.
|Keywords||evolutionary epistemology philosophy of religion moral realism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Gary Slater (2014). A Peircean Response to the Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Knowledge. Zygon 49 (3):593-611.
Similar books and articles
James A. Ryan (1997). Taking the 'Error' Out of Ruse's Error Theory. Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):385-397.
David J. Owens (2003). Does Belief Have an Aim? Philosophical Studies 115 (3):283-305.
Neil Sinclair (2006). The Moral Belief Problem. Ratio 19 (2):249–260.
Geoff Childers (2011). What's Wrong with the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism? International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (3):193-204.
Christopher Toner (2011). Evolution, Naturalism, and the Worthwhile: A Critique of Richard Joyce's Evolutionary Debunking of Morality. Metaphilosophy 42 (4):520-546.
Erik J. Wielenberg (2010). On the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality. Ethics 120 (3):441-464.
Gregory R. Peterson (2010). Are Evolutionary/Cognitive Theories of Religion Relevant for Philosophy of Religion? Zygon 45 (3):545-557.
Helen de Cruz, Maarten Boudry, Johan de Smedt & Stefaan Blancke (2011). Evolutionary Approaches to Epistemic Justification. Dialectica 65 (4):517-535.
Justin Clarke-Doane (2012). Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge. Ethics 122 (2):313-340.
Added to index2010-04-19
Total downloads838 ( #275 of 1,727,171 )
Recent downloads (6 months)61 ( #19,555 of 1,727,171 )
How can I increase my downloads?