David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):699-712 (2000)
Conventional wisdom has it that evolution makes a sham of morality, even if morality is an adaptation. I disagree. I argue that our best current adaptationist theory of meaning offers objective truth conditionsfor signaling systems of all sorts. The objectivity is, however, relative to species – specifically to the adaptive history of the signaling system in question. While evolution may not provide the kind of species independent objective standards that (e.g.) Kantians desire, this should be enough for the practical work of justifying our confidence in the objectivity of moral standards. If you believe morality is an adaptation, you should be a moral realist.
|Keywords||evolutionary ethics moral realism naturalism teleosemantics|
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Citations of this work BETA
Neil Sinclair (2012). Metaethics, Teleosemantics and the Function of Moral Judgements. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):639-662.
Simon M. Huttegger (2007). Evolutionary Explanations of Indicatives and Imperatives. Erkenntnis 66 (3):409 - 436.
Marc Artiga (forthcoming). Rescuing Tracking Theories of Morality. Philosophical Studies:1-18.
Rory Smead (2010). Indirect Reciprocity and the Evolution of “Moral Signals”. Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):33-51.
William F. Harms (2010). Determining Truth Conditions in Signaling Games. Philosophical Studies 147 (1):23 - 35.
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