Evolution, naturalism, and the worthwhile: A critique of Richard Joyce's evolutionary debunking of morality

Metaphilosophy 42 (4):520-546 (2011)
Abstract
Abstract: In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce argues there is good reason to think that the “moral sense” is a biological adaptation, and that this provides a genealogy of the moral sense that has a debunking effect, driving us to the conclusion that “our moral beliefs are products of a process that is entirely independent of their truth, … we have no grounds one way or the other for maintaining these beliefs.” I argue that Joyce's skeptical conclusion is not warranted. Even if the moral sense is a biological adaptation, developed moralities (such as Aristotelian eudaimonism) can “co-opt” it into new roles so that the moral judgments it makes possible can come to transcend the evolutionary process that is “entirely independent of their truth.” While evolutionary theory can shed much light on our shared human nature, moral theories must still be vindicated, or debunked, by moral arguments
Keywords Richard Joyce  eudaimonism  evolution of morality  naturalism
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Scott James (2009). The Caveman's Conscience: Evolution and Moral Realism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):215-233.
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