David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
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
Andrew Moon (forthcoming). Debunking Morality: Lessons From the EAAN Literature. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
Katia Vavova (2015). Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism. Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
Guy Kahane (2011). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments. Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
Neil Sinclair (forthcoming). Reasons, Inescapability and Persuasion. Philosophical Studies:1-22.
Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau (2014). The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism. Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
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