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  1. Debunking Arguments: Mathematics, Logic, and Modal Security.Justin Clarke-Doane - forthcoming - In Robert Richards and Michael Ruse (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
    I discuss the structure of genealogical debunking arguments. I argue that they undermine our mathematical beliefs if they undermine our moral beliefs. The contrary appearance stems from a confusion of arithmetic truths with (first-order) logical truths, or from a confusion of reliability with justification. I conclude with a discussion of the cogency of debunking arguments, in light of the above. Their cogency depends on whether information can undermine all of our beliefs of a kind, F, without giving us direct reason (...)
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  2. The Epistemology of Debunking Argumentation.Jonathan Egeland - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    There is an ever-growing literature on what exactly the condition or criterion is that enables some (but not all) debunking arguments to undermine our beliefs. In this paper, I develop a novel schema for debunking argumentation, arguing that debunking arguments generally have a simple and valid form, but that whether or not they are sound depends on the particular aetiological explanation which the debunker provides in order to motivate acceptance of the individual premises. The schema has three unique features: (1) (...)
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  3. An Explanationist Account of Genealogical Defeat.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Sometimes, learning about the origins of a belief can make it irrational to continue to hold that belief—a phenomenon we call ‘genealogical defeat’. According to explanationist accounts, genealogical defeat occurs when one learns that there is no appropriate explanatory connection between one’s belief and the truth. Flatfooted versions of explanationism have been widely and rightly rejected on the grounds that they would disallow beliefs about the future and other inductively-formed beliefs. After motivating the need for some explanationist account, we raise (...)
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  4. Neutrality and Force in Field's Epistemological Objection to Platonism.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Field’s challenge to platonists is the challenge to explain the reliable match between mathematical truth and belief. The challenge grounds an objection claiming that platonists cannot provide such an explanation. This objection is often taken to be both neutral with respect to controversial epistemological assumptions, and a comparatively forceful objection against platonists. I argue that these two characteristics are in tension: no construal of the objection in the current literature realises both, and there are strong reasons to think that no (...)
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  5. Global Evolutionary Arguments: Self-Defeat, Circularity, and Skepticism About Reason.Diego E. Machuca - 2023 - In Evolutionary Debunking Arguments. New York: Routledge. pp. 333–359.
    In this essay, I consider an evolutionary debunking argument (EDA) that purports to undermine the epistemic justification of the belief in the reliability of our belief-forming processes, and an evolutionary vindicating argument (EVA) that seeks to establish that such a belief is epistemically justified. Whereas the EDA in question seems to fall prey to crippling self-defeat, the EVA under consideration seems to fall prey to vicious circularity. My interest in those arguments and the problems they face lies in what they (...)
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  6. Theorizing the Normative Significance of Critical Histories for International Law.Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - Journal of the History of International Law.
    Though recent years have seen a proliferation of critical histories of international law, their normative significance remains under-theorized, especially from the perspective of general readers rather than writers of such histories. How do critical histories of international law acquire their normative significance? And how should one react to them? We distinguish three ways in which critical histories can be normatively significant: (i) by undermining the overt or covert conceptions of history embedded within present practices in support of their authority; (ii) (...)
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  7. Debunking, Epistemic Achievement, and Undermining Defeat.Michael Klenk - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):43-60.
    Several anti-debunkers have argued that evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs fail to meet a necessary condition on undermining defeat called modal security. They conclude that evolution, therefore, does not debunk our moral beliefs. This article shows that modal security is false if knowledge is virtuous achievement. New information can undermine a given belief without providing reason to doubt that that belief is sensitive or safe. This leads to a novel conception of undermining defeat, and it shows that successful debunking (...)
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  8. On Debunking Color Realism.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2022 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments. New York: Routledge. pp. 257-277.
    You see a cherry and you experience it as red. A textbook explanation for why you have this sort of experience is going to cite such things as the cherry’s chemical surface properties and the distinctive mixture wavelengths of light it is disposed to reflect. What does not show up in this explanation is the redness of the cherry. Many allege that the availability of color-free explanations of color experience somehow calls into question our beliefs about the colors of objects (...)
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  9. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology.Diego E. Machuca (ed.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in evolutionary debunking arguments directed against certain types of belief, particularly moral and religious beliefs. According to those arguments, the evolutionary origins of the cognitive mechanisms that produce the targeted beliefs render these beliefs epistemically unjustified. The reason is that natural selection cares for reproduction and survival rather than truth, and false beliefs can in principle be as evolutionarily advantageous as true beliefs. The present volume brings together fourteen essays that examine evolutionary (...)
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  10. Genealogy, Evaluation, and Engineering.Matthieu Queloz - 2022 - The Monist 105 (4):435-451.
    Against those who identify genealogy with reductive genealogical debunking or deny it any evaluative and action-guiding significance, I argue for the following three claims: that although genealogies, true to their Enlightenment origins, tend to trace the higher to the lower, they need not reduce the higher to the lower, but can elucidate the relation between them and put us in a position to think more realistically about both relata; that if we think of genealogy’s normative significance in terms of a (...)
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  11. Undermining versus rebutting: options for responding to evolutionary debunking arguments.Emily Slome - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-18.
    In this paper, I argue that the success of evolutionary debunking arguments hinges on what theory of epistemic justification one endorses. More specifically, I argue that what it takes to satisfactorily respond to evolutionary debunking arguments depends on what view of epistemic justification one is operating under and that a thorough analysis of any line of response to evolutionary debunking arguments must take into account whether there is a specific view of justification motivating the response or looming in the background. (...)
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  12. Debunking Doxastic Transparency.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (1):(A3)5-24.
    In this paper I consider the project of offering an evolutionary debunking explanation for transparency in doxastic deliberation. I examine Nicole Dular and Nikki Fortier’s (2021) attempt at such a project. I suggest that their account faces a dilemma. On the one horn, their explanation of transparency involves casting our mechanisms for belief formation as solely concerned with truth. I argue that this is explanatorily inadequate when we take a wider view of our belief formation practices. I show that Dular (...)
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  13. Genealogical Solutions to the Problem of Critical Distance: Political Theory, Contextualism and the Case of Punishment in Transitional Scenarios.Francesco Testini - 2022 - Res Publica 28 (2):271-301.
    In this paper, I argue that one approach to normative political theory, namely contextualism, can benefit from a specific kind of historical inquiry, namely genealogy, because the latter provides a solution to a deep-seated problem for the former. This problem consists in a lack of critical distance and originates from the justificatory role that contextualist approaches attribute to contextual facts. I compare two approaches to genealogical reconstruction, namely the historiographical method pioneered by Foucault and the hybrid method of pragmatic genealogy (...)
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  14. Modal Security.Justin Clarke-Doane & Dan Baras - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):162-183.
    Modal Security is an increasingly discussed proposed necessary condition on undermining defeat. Modal Security says, roughly, that if evidence undermines (rather than rebuts) one’s belief, then one gets reason to doubt the belief's safety or sensitivity. The primary interest of the principle is that it seems to entail that influential epistemological arguments, including Evolutionary Debunking Arguments against moral realism and the Benacerraf-Field Challenge for mathematical realism, are unsound. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine Modal Security in detail. (...)
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  15. A Moral Critique of Psychological Debunking.Nicholas Smyth - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 53 (2):255-272.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume 53, Issue 2, Page 255-272, Summer 2022.
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  16. Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  17. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, Commonsense and Scepticism.Sandy C. Boucher - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11217-11239.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments seek to infer from the evolutionary origin of human beliefs about a particular domain to the conclusion that those beliefs are unjustified. In this paper I discuss EDAs with respect to our everyday, commonsense beliefs. Those who seriously entertain EDAs for commonsense argue that natural selection does not care about truth, it only cares about fitness, and thus it will equip us with beliefs that are useful rather than true. In recent work Griffiths and Wilkins argue that (...)
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  18. Debunking Arguments for Illusionism About Consciousness.David Chalmers - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (5-6):258-281.
  19. Conversion, Causes, and Closed-Mindedness.Joshua Dipaolo - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1):74-95.
    ‘You just believe that because you were raised to believe it!’ is a familiar criticism. Many converts, however, believe the opposite of what they were raised to believe. Does this make them immune to these challenges? I scrutinize this ‘conversion defense’. If these challenges only concern belief genealogy, a certain kind of convert is immune to them. However, these challenges often concern closed-mindedness rather than genealogy. Seen in this light, the convert who is immune to the genealogical critique may bemoresusceptible (...)
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  20. Debunking Material Induction.Jonathan Livengood & Daniel Z. Korman - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 84:20-27.
    We present an explanatory objection to Norton's material theory of induction, as applied to predictive inferences. According to the objection we present, there is an explanatory disconnect between our beliefs about the future and the relevant future facts. We argue that if we recognize such a disconnect, we are no longer rationally entitled to our future beliefs.
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  21. When and Why People Think Beliefs Are “Debunked” by Scientific Explanations of Their Origins.Dillon Plunkett, Lara Buchak & Tania Lombrozo - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):3-28.
    Mind &Language, Volume 35, Issue 1, Page 3-28, February 2020.
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  22. Undermining Belief in Consciousness.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (9-10):34-47.
    Does consciousness exist? In “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness” (MPC) David Chalmers sketches an argument for illusionism, i.e., the view that it does not. The key premise is that it would be a coincidence if our beliefs about consciousness were true, given that the explanation of those beliefs is independent of their truth. In this article, I clarify and assess this argument. I argue that our beliefs about consciousness are peculiarly invulnerable to undermining, whether or not their contents are indubitable or (...)
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  23. The Speciesism Debate: Intuition, Method, and Empirical Advances.Jeroen Hopster - 2019 - Animals 9 (12):1-14.
    This article identifies empirical, conceptual and normative avenues to advance the speciesism debate. First, I highlight the application of Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) as one such avenue: especially where (anti-)speciesist positions heavily rely on appeals to moral intuition, and EDAs have potential to move the debate forward. Second, an avenue for conceptual progress is the delineation of speciesism from other views in its vicinity, specifically from the view that biological differences between species are sometimes morally relevant (‘species-relativism’). Third, if we (...)
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  24. Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
    Debunking arguments—also known as etiological arguments, genealogical arguments, access problems, isolation objec- tions, and reliability challenges—arise in philosophical debates about a diverse range of topics, including causation, chance, color, consciousness, epistemic reasons, free will, grounding, laws of nature, logic, mathematics, modality, morality, natural kinds, ordinary objects, religion, and time. What unifies the arguments is the transition from a premise about what does or doesn't explain why we have certain mental states to a negative assessment of their epistemic status. I examine (...)
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  25. Nietzsche as a Critic of Genealogical Debunking: Making Room for Naturalism Without Subversion.Matthieu Queloz & Damian Cueni - 2019 - The Monist 102 (3):277-297.
    This paper argues that Nietzsche is a critic of just the kind of genealogical debunking he is popularly associated with. We begin by showing that interpretations of Nietzsche which see him as engaging in genealogical debunking turn him into an advocate of nihilism, for on his own premises, any truthful genealogical inquiry into our values is going to uncover what most of his contemporaries deem objectionable origins and thus license global genealogical debunking. To escape nihilism and make room for naturalism (...)
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  26. Do Psychological Defeaters Undermine Foundationalism in Moral Epistemology? - a Critique of Sinnott-Armstrong’s Argument Against Ethical Intuitionism.Philipp Schwind - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):941-952.
    Foundationalism in moral epistemology is a core tenet of ethical intuitionism. According to foundationalism, some moral beliefs can be known without inferential justification; instead, all that is required is a proper understanding of the beliefs in question. In an influential criticism against this view, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has argued that certain psychological facts undermine the reliability of moral intuitions. He claims that foundationalists would have to show that non-inferentially justified beliefs are not subject to those defeaters, but this would already constitute (...)
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  27. Genealogy, Epistemology and Worldmaking.Amia Srinivasan - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (2):127-156.
    We suffer from genealogical anxiety when we worry that the contingent origins of our representations, once revealed, will somehow undermine or cast doubt on those representations. Is such anxiety ever rational? Many have apparently thought so, from pre-Socratic critics of Greek theology to contemporary evolutionary debunkers of morality. One strategy for vindicating critical genealogies is to see them as undermining the epistemic standing of our representations—the justification of our beliefs, the aptness of our concepts, and so on. I argue that (...)
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  28. What Makes Evolution a Defeater?Matt Lutz - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1105-1126.
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments purport to show that our moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge because these beliefs are “debunked” by the fact that our moral beliefs are, in some way, the product of evolutionary forces. But there is a substantial gap in this argument between its main evolutionary premise and the skeptical conclusion. What is it, exactly, about the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs that would create problems for realist views in metaethics? I argue that evolutionary debunking arguments are (...)
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  29. Genealogical Explanations of Chance and Morals.Toby Handfield - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
    Objective chance and morality are rarely discussed together. In this paper, I argue that there is a surprising similarity in the epistemic standing of our beliefs about both objective chance and objective morality. The key similarity is that both of these sorts of belief are undermined -- in a limited, but important way -- by plausible genealogical accounts of the concepts that feature in these beliefs. The paper presents a brief account of Richard Joyce's evolutionary hypothesis of the genealogy of (...)
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  30. Do Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Rest on a Mistake About Evolutionary Explanations?Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1799-1817.
    Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negative View, natural selection (...)
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  31. History as Philosophy? Genealogies and Critique.Andrius Gališanka - 2015 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 9 (3):444-464.
    _ Source: _Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 444 - 464 Are genealogies of our beliefs relevant to the truth of these beliefs? Drawing on Bernard Williams’s _Truth and Truthfulness_, I argue that genealogies, or historical narratives showing how a set of beliefs came about, can be either critical or vindicatory of these beliefs. They can be critical by denaturalizing beliefs, showing their continued inability to solve explanatory problems, revealing the origins of these beliefs in assumptions that we no longer accept, (...)
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  32. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Proximate/Ultimate Distinction.Andreas L. Mogensen - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):196-203.
    Many philosophers believe that natural selection explanations debunk our moral beliefs or would do so if moral realism were true, relying on the assumption that explanations of this kind show that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs. Here I argue that this assumption rests on a confusion of proximate and ultimate explanatory factors. Insofar as evolutionary debunking arguments hinge on the assumption that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs, these arguments fall short.
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  33. Are Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Really Self-Defeating?Fabio Sterpetti - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):877-889.
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments are defined as arguments that appeal to the evolutionary genealogy of our beliefs to undermine their justification. Recently, Helen De Cruz and her co-authors supported the view that EDAs are self-defeating: if EDAs claim that human arguments are not justified, because the evolutionary origin of the beliefs which figure in such arguments undermines those beliefs, and EDAs themselves are human arguments, then EDAs are not justified, and we should not accept their conclusions about the fact that human (...)
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  34. Understanding Undermining Defeat.Giacomo Melis - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):433-442.
    Taking the inspiration from some points made by Scott Sturgeon and Albert Casullo, I articulate a view according to which an important difference between undermining and overriding defeaters is that the former require the subject to engage in some higher-order epistemic thinking, while the latter don’t. With the help of some examples, I argue that underminers push the cognizer to reflect on the way she formed a belief by challenging the epistemic worthiness of either the source of justification or the (...)
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  35. Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments start with a premise about the influence of evolutionary forces on our evaluative beliefs, and conclude that we are not justified in those beliefs. The value realist holds that there are attitude-independent evaluative truths. But the debunker argues that we have no reason to think that the evolutionary forces that shaped human evaluative attitudes would track those truths. Worse yet, we seem to have a good reason to think that they wouldn’t: evolution selects for characteristics that increase (...)
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  36. When Psychology Undermines Beliefs.Derek Leben - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-23.
    This paper attempts to specify the conditions under which a psychological explanation can undermine or debunk a set of beliefs. The focus will be on moral and religious beliefs, where a growing debate has emerged about the epistemic implications of cognitive science. Recent proposals by Joshua Greene and Paul Bloom will be taken as paradigmatic attempts to undermine beliefs with psychology. I will argue that a belief p may be undermined whenever: (i) p is evidentially based on an intuition which (...)
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  37. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of evaluative beliefs to undermine their justification. This paper aims to clarify the premises and presuppositions of EDAs—a form of argument that is increasingly put to use in normative ethics. I argue that such arguments face serious obstacles. It is often overlooked, for example, that they presuppose the truth of metaethical objectivism. More importantly, even if objectivism is assumed, the use of EDAs in normative ethics is incompatible with a (...)
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  38. "Human, All-Too-Human": Nietzsche's Early Genealogical Method.Steven Dale Weiss - 1989 - Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
    The aim of this thesis is to make sense of Nietzsche's method of analyzing and criticizing metaphysical beliefs and explanations in Human, All-Too-Human. His approach to traditional philosophical questions employs what I call the genealogical method: beliefs and ideas are criticized by revealing their origin and history in the empirical world. I argue that his method offers a philosophically legitimate strategy for rejecting metaphysical explanations. How his method works is demonstrated with respect to the notion of the thing-in-itself originated because (...)
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