David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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MIT Press (2006)
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 from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking—staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms—if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies"—might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.
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Citations of this work BETA
Guy Kahane (2011). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments. Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
David Enoch (2010). The Epistemological Challenge to Metanormative Realism: How Best to Understand It, and How to Cope with It. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):413 - 438.
Richard Garner (2007). Abolishing Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):499 - 513.
Philip Brown (2013). The Possibility of Morality. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):627-636.
Hallvard Lillehammer (2011). The Epistemology of Ethical Intuitions. Philosophy 86 (336):175-200.
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