David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):215-233 (2009)
An increasingly popular moral argument has it that the story of human evolution shows that we can explain the human disposition to make moral judgments without relying on a realm of moral facts. Such facts can thus be dispensed with. But this argument is a threat to moral realism only if there is no realist position that can explain, in the context of human evolution, the relationship between our particular moral sense and a realm of moral facts. I sketch a plausible evolutionary story that illuminates this relationship. First, the sorts of adaptive pressures facing early humans would have produced more than just potent prosocial emotions, as evolutionary antirealists like to claim; it would have produced judgments?often situated within emotions?to the effect that others could reasonably disapprove of some bit of conduct, for an early human who cared deeply about how others might respond to her action enjoyed the benefits of more cooperative exchanges than those early humans who did not. Second, according to objectivist versions of moral constructivism, moral facts just are facts about how others, ideally situated, would respond to one's conduct. Thus if any objectivist moral constructivism story is true, then we can intelligibly assert that a) our capacity for moral judgment is the product of adaptive pressures acting on early humans and b) some moral judgments are objectively true
|Keywords||evolutionary ethics Richard Joyce constructivism|
|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
Jerome Barkow, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby (eds.) (1992). The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press.
Simon Blackburn (1998/2000). Ruling Passions. Oxford University Press.
Peter Carruthers & Scott M. James (2008). Evolution and the Possibility of Moral Realism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):237-244.
David Copp (1995). Morality, Normativity, and Society. Oxford University Press.
Stephen Darwall (1998). Empathy, Sympathy, Care. Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3):261–282.
Citations of this work BETA
Steve Clarke & Rebecca Roache (2012). Introducing Transformative Technologies Into Democratic Societies. Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):27-45.
Similar books and articles
Richard Joyce (2002). Moral Realism and Teleosemantics. Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):723-31.
Richard Garner (2007). Abolishing Morality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):499 - 513.
Erik J. Wielenberg (2010). On the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality. Ethics 120 (3):441-464.
Brian Edward Zamulinski (2007). Evolutionary Intuitionism: A Theory of the Origin and Nature of Moral Facts. Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
Justin Clarke-Doane (2012). Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge. Ethics 122 (2):313-340.
Ben Fraser (2012). The Nature of Moral Judgements and the Extent of the Moral Domain. Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):1-16.
Christopher Toner (2011). Evolution, Naturalism, and the Worthwhile: A Critique of Richard Joyce's Evolutionary Debunking of Morality. Metaphilosophy 42 (4):520-546.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads54 ( #35,476 of 1,410,463 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #20,657 of 1,410,463 )
How can I increase my downloads?