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Does Evolutionary Psychology Show That Normativity Is Mind-Dependent?

In Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson (eds.), Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 215-252 (2014)

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  1. Why Undermining Evolutionary Debunkers is Not Enough.Andrew del Rio - forthcoming - Synthese:1-16.
    Denying the conclusion of a valid argument is not generally permissible if one suspends on one premise of the argument and believes the other premise. This can happen when one’s only critique of an argument is to undermine one premise. There is incoherence there. Here I examine how this is relevant to the debate on evolutionary debunking of our moral knowledge. I argue that one significant line of response to the debunker is unsuccessful: merely undermining the debunker’s empirical claim. It (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments in Metaethics and Metaphysics.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - In Alvin Goldman & Brian McLaughlin (eds.), Metaphysics and Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 337-363.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments abound, but it is widely assumed that they do not arise for our perceptual beliefs about midsized objects, insofar as the adaptive value of our object beliefs cannot be explained without reference to the objects themselves. I argue that this is a mistake. Just as with moral beliefs, the adaptive value of our object beliefs can be explained without assuming that the beliefs are accurate. I then explore the prospects for other sorts of vindications of our object (...)
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  • Against Minimalist Responses to Moral Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    Moral debunking arguments are meant to show that, by realist lights, moral beliefs are not explained by moral facts, which in turn is meant to show that they lack some significant counterfactual connection to the moral facts (e.g., safety, sensitivity, reliability). The dominant, “minimalist” response to the arguments—sometimes defended under the heading of “third-factors” or “pre-established harmonies”—involves affirming that moral beliefs enjoy the relevant counterfactual connection while granting that these beliefs are not explained by the moral facts. We show that (...)
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  • Mackie Was Not an Error Theorist.Selim Berker - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):5-25.
  • Two Accounts of Moral Objectivity: From Attitude-Independence to Standpoint-Invariance.Jeroen Hopster - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):763-780.
    How should we understand the notion of moral objectivity? Metaethical positions that vindicate morality’s objective appearance are often associated with moral realism. On a realist construal, moral objectivity is understood in terms of mind-, stance-, or attitude-independence. But realism is not the only game in town for moral objectivists. On an antirealist construal, morality’s objective features are understood in virtue of our attitudes. In this paper I aim to develop this antirealist construal of moral objectivity in further detail, and to (...)
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  • 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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  • Our Reliability is in Principle Explainable.Dan Baras - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):197-211.
    Non-skeptical robust realists about normativity, mathematics, or any other domain of non- causal truths are committed to a correlation between their beliefs and non- causal, mind-independent facts. Hartry Field and others have argued that if realists cannot explain this striking correlation, that is a strong reason to reject their theory. Some consider this argument, known as the Benacerraf–Field argument, as the strongest challenge to robust realism about mathematics, normativity, and even logic. In this article I offer two closely related accounts (...)
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  • Explanatory Challenges in Metaethics.Joshua Schechter - 2018 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 443-459.
    There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...)
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  • Normative Realism and Ontology: Reply to Clarke-Doane, Rosen, and Enoch and McPherson.T. M. Scanlon - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):877-897.
    In response to comments on my book, Being Realistic about Reasons, by Justin Clarke-Doane, David Enoch and Tristram McPherson, and Gideon Rosen, I try to clarify my domain-based view of ontology, my understanding of the epistemology of normative judgments, and my interpretation of the phenomenon of supervenience.
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  • The Evolutionary Debunker Meets Sentimental Realism.Mauro Rossi & Christine Tappolet - 2017 - In Facts and Values: The Ethics and Metaphysics of Normativity. New York: pp. 176-195.
    In this paper, we propose a defence of Value Realism that relies on the unusual combination of Values Realism with Sentimentalism. What this account, which we call “Sentimental Realism”, holds, in a nutshell, is that what makes evaluative facts special is their relationship to emotions. More precisely, Sentimental Realism claims that evaluative facts are fully objective facts, but that such facts are picked out by concepts that are response-dependent, in the sense that they are essentially tied to emotions. Our plan (...)
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  • Aligning with the Good.Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2):1-8.
    IN “CONSTRUCTIVISM, AGENCY, AND THE PROBLEM of Alignment,” Michael Bratman considers how lessons from the philosophy of action bear on the question of how best to construe the agent’s standpoint in the context of a constructivist theory of practical reasons. His focus is “the problem of alignment”: “whether the pressures from the general constructivism will align with the pressures from the theory of agency” (Bratman 2012: 81). He thus brings two lively literatures into dialogue with each other. This is laudable. (...)
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  • Review of The Social Psychology of Morality. [REVIEW]Michael Klenk - 2016 - Metapsychology Online 20 (48):1-8.
    If you put chimpanzees from different communities together you can expect mayhem - they are not keen on treating each other nicely. There is closely related species of apes, however, whose members have countless encounters with unrelated specimen on a daily basis and yet almost all get through the day in one piece - that species is us, homo sapiens. But what makes us get along, most of the time? Morality as such is, perhaps surprisingly, not a mainstream research topic (...)
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  • Group Agency Meets Metaethics: How to Craft a More Compelling Form of Normative Relativism.Michelle M. Dyke - 2020 - In Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 15. pp. 219-240.
    The author argues that well-known forms of relativism are unable to accommodate, at once, a set of three highly intuitive theses about the distinctive character of moral reasons. Yet the author argues it is possible to formulate a novel form of normative relativism that has the power to accommodate these claims. The proposed view combines the relativist idea that the normative facts are attitude-dependent with the insight that there are non-human agents to which it makes sense to attribute the kinds (...)
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  • Objectivity.Ross Colebrook & Hagop Sarkissian - 2018 - In Todd K. Shackelford & Vivian A. Weekes-Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.
    In this entry, we outline the ways in which evolutionary theory has implications for the objectivity of morality.
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  • Can Theists Avoid Epistemological Objections to Moral (and Normative) Realism?Justin Morton - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (3):291-312.
    Epistemological objections to moral realism allege that realism entails moral skepticism. Many philosophers have assumed that theistic moral realists can easily avoid such objections. In this article, I argue that things are not so easy: theists run the risk of violating an important constraint on replies to epistemological objections, according to which replies to such objections may not rely on substantive moral claims of a certain kind. Yet after presenting this challenge, I then argue that theists can meet it, successfully (...)
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  • Evolutionary Skepticism About Morality and Prudential Normativity.Peter Königs - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):911-928.
    Debunking arguments aim at defeating the justification of a belief by revealing the belief to have a dubious genealogy. One prominent example of such a debunking argument is Richard Joyce’s evolutionary debunking explanation of morality. Joyce’s argument targets only our belief in moral facts, while our belief in prudential facts is exempt from his evolutionary critique. In this paper, I suggest that our belief in prudential facts falls victim to evolutionary debunking, too. Just as our moral sense can be explained (...)
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  • Evolutionary Arguments Against Moral Realism: Why the Empirical Details Matter (and Which Ones Do).Jeroen Hopster - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):41.
    The aim of this article is to identify the strongest evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and to assess on which empirical assumptions it relies. In the recent metaethical literature, several authors have de-emphasized the evolutionary component of EDAs against moral realism: presumably, the success or failure of these arguments is largely orthogonal to empirical issues. I argue that this claim is mistaken. First, I point out that Sharon Street’s and Michael Ruse’s EDAs both involve substantive claims about the evolution (...)
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  • Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?Michael Klenk - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248.
    I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I (...)
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  • Explaining Our Moral Reliability.Sinan Dogramaci - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):71-86.
    I critically examine an evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism. The key premise of the argument is that there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability. I search for the strongest version of the argument; this involves exploring how ‘adequate explanation’ could be understood such that the key premise comes out true. Finally, I give a reductio: in the sense in which there is no adequate explanation of our moral reliability, there is equally no adequate explanation of our inductive (...)
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  • When Do Replies to the Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism Beg the Question?Justin Morton - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):265-280.
    ABSTRACTSome proponents of the evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism believe that replies that assume substantive moral claims beg the question. In this paper, I give a new account of what's wrong with such replies. On this account, many realists beg the question when they rely on substantive moral claims in their replies to the argument, but naturalists do not. While this account generalizes to some other domains, it allows perceptual and inductive realism to remain undebunked.
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  • Debunking Morality: Lessons From the EAAN Literature.Andrew Moon - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):208-226.
    This paper explores evolutionary debunking arguments as they arise in metaethics against moral realism and in philosophy of religion against naturalism. Both literatures have independently grappled with the question of which beliefs one may use to respond to a potential defeater. In this paper, I show how the literature on the argument against naturalism can help clarify and bring progress to the literature on moral realism with respect to this question. Of note, it will become clear that the objection that (...)
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  • Epistemological Motivations for Anti-Realism.Billy Dunaway - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2763-2789.
    Anti-realism is often claimed to be preferable to realism on epistemological grounds: while realists have difficulty explaining how we can ever know claims if we are realists about it, anti-realism faces no analogous problem. This paper focuses on anti-realism about normativity to investigate this alleged advantage to anti-realism in detail. I set up a framework in which a version of anti-realism explains a type of modal reliability that appears to be epistemologically promising, and plausibly explains the appearance of an epistemological (...)
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  • Realism and Constructivism in Kantian Metaethics 2 : The Kantian Conception of Rationality and Rationalist Constructivism.Karl Schafer - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (10):702-713.
    In the second half of this essay, I discuss the robust conception of rationality that lies at the heart of the Kantian version of Rationalist Constructivism – offering some reasons to prefer this conception to the more minimal accounts of rationality associated with Humean views. I then go on to discuss some of the potential metaethical advantages of the resulting form of constructivism.
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  • Morality and Evolutionary Biology.William Fitzpatrick - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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