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Morality and Mathematics

Oxford, England: Oxford University Press (2020)

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  1. Irresolvable Disagreement, Objectivist Antirealism and Logical Revision.Manfred Harth - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1331-1350.
    Meta-ethical realism faces the serious epistemological problem of how to explain our epistemic access to moral reality. In the face of this challenge many are sceptical about non-naturalist realism. Nonetheless, there is good reason to acknowledge moral objectivity: morality shows all the signs of a truth-apt discourse but doesn’t exhibit the typical relativity inducing features. This suggests a middle-ground position, a theory that embraces the virtues of realism but does avoid its vices: objectivist antirealism. In this paper, I’ll discuss, mainly (...)
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  • From Non-Usability to Non-Factualism.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2022 - Analysis 81 (4):747-758.
    Holly Smith has done more than anyone to explore and defend the importance of usability for moral theories. In Making Morality Work, she develops a moral theory that is almost universally usable. But not quite. In this article, I argue that no moral theory is universally usable, in the sense that is most immediately relevant to action, even by agents who know all the normative facts. There is no moral theory knowledge of which suffices to settle deliberation about what to (...)
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  • Against Moral Contingentism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):209-217.
    [This paper is available as open access from the publisher.]The conventional wisdom in ethics is that pure moral laws are at least metaphysically necessary. By contrast, Moral Contingentism holds that pure moral laws are metaphysically contingent. This paper raises a normative objection to Moral Contingentism: it is worse equipped than Moral Necessitarianism to account for the normative standing or authority of the pure moral laws to govern the lives of the agents to whom they apply. Since morality is widely taken (...)
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  • Moral Knowledge Without Knowledge of Moral Knowledge.David Kaspar - 2022 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (1):155-172.
    Most people believe some moral propositions are true. Most people would say that they know that rape is wrong, torturing people is wrong, and so on. But despite decades of intense epistemological study, philosophers cannot even provide a rudimentary sketch of moral knowledge. In my view, the fact that we have very strong epistemic confidence in some fundamental moral propositions and the fact that it is extremely difficult for us to provide even the basics of an account of moral knowledge (...)
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  • Evolution and Moral Realism.Kim Sterelny & Ben Fraser - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):981-1006.
    We are moral apes, a difference between humans and our relatives that has received significant recent attention in the evolutionary literature. Evolutionary accounts of morality have often been recruited in support of error theory: moral language is truth-apt, but substantive moral claims are never true. In this article, we: locate evolutionary error theory within the broader framework of the relationship between folk conceptions of a domain and our best scientific conception of that same domain; within that broader framework, argue that (...)
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  • 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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  • In Defense of Countabilism.David Builes & Jessica M. Wilson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-38.
    Inspired by Cantor's Theorem (CT), orthodoxy takes infinities to come in different sizes. The orthodox view has had enormous influence in mathematics, philosophy, and science. We will defend the contrary view---Countablism---according to which, necessarily, every infinite collection (set or plurality) is countable. We first argue that the potentialist or modal strategy for treating Russell's Paradox, first proposed by Parsons (2000) and developed by Linnebo (2010, 2013) and Linnebo and Shapiro (2019), should also be applied to CT, in a way that (...)
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  • Mathematics and Metaphilosophy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book discusses the problem of mathematical knowledge, and its broader philosophical ramifications. It argues that the challenge to explain the (defeasible) justification of our mathematical beliefs (‘the justificatory challenge’), arises insofar as disagreement over axioms bottoms out in disagreement over intuitions. And it argues that the challenge to explain their reliability (‘the reliability challenge’), arises to the extent that we could have easily had different beliefs. The book shows that mathematical facts are not, in general, empirically accessible, contra Quine, (...)
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  • Meta‐Skepticism.Risberg Olle - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The epistemological debate about radical skepticism has focused on whether our beliefs in apparently obvious claims, such as the claim that we have hands, amount to knowledge. Arguably, however, our concept of knowledge is only one of many knowledge-like concepts that there are. If this is correct, it follows that even if our beliefs satisfy our concept of knowledge, there are many other relevantly similar concepts that they fail to satisfy. And this might give us pause. After all, we might (...)
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  • 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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  • Hope for the Evolutionary Debunker: How Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and Arguments from Moral Disagreement Can Join Forces.Folke Tersman & Olle Risberg - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
    Facts about moral disagreement and human evolution have both been said to exclude the possibility of moral knowledge, but the question of how these challenges interact has largely gone unaddressed. The paper aims to present and defend a novel version of the evolutionary “debunking” argument for moral skepticism that appeals to both types of considerations. This argument has several advantages compared to more familiar versions. The standard debunking strategy is to argue that evolutionary accounts of moral beliefs generate skeptical implications (...)
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  • Debunking What?Hallvard Lillehammer - forthcoming - In Diego Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, and Epistemology. Routledge.
  • How Can Necessary Facts Call for Explanation.Dan Baras - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11607-11624.
    While there has been much discussion about what makes some mathematical proofs more explanatory than others, and what are mathematical coincidences, in this article I explore the distinct phenomenon of mathematical facts that call for explanation. The existence of mathematical facts that call for explanation stands in tension with virtually all existing accounts of “calling for explanation”, which imply that necessary facts cannot call for explanation. In this paper I explore what theoretical revisions are needed in order to accommodate this (...)
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  • Modal Empiricism Made Difficult: An Essay in the Meta-Epistemology of Modality.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Gothenburg
    Philosophers have always taken an interest not only in what is actually the case, but in what is necessarily the case and what could possibly be the case. These are questions of modality. Epistemologists of modality enquire into how we can know what is necessary and what is possible. This dissertation concerns the meta-epistemology of modality. It engages with the rules that govern construction and evaluation of theories in the epistemology of modality, by using modal empiricism – a form of (...)
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  • An Integrative Design? How Liberalised Modal Empiricism Fails the Integration Challenge.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5655-5673.
    The idea that justified modal belief can be accounted for in terms of empirically justified, non-modal belief is enjoying increasing popularity in the epistemology of modality. One alleged reason to prefer modal empiricism over more traditional, rationalist modal epistemologies is that empiricism avoids the problem with the integration challenge that arise for rationalism, assuming that we want to be realists about modal metaphysics. In this paper, I argue that given two very reasonable constraints on what it means to meet the (...)
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  • Irresolvable Disagreement, Objectivist Antirealism and Logical Revision.Manfred Harth - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Meta-ethical realism faces the serious epistemological problem of how to explain our epistemic access to moral reality. In the face of this challenge many are sceptical about non-naturalist realism. Nonetheless, there is good reason to acknowledge moral objectivity: morality shows all the signs of a truth-apt discourse but doesn’t exhibit the typical relativity inducing features. This suggests a middle-ground position, a theory that embraces the virtues of realism but does avoid its vices: objectivist antirealism. In this paper, I’ll discuss, mainly (...)
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  • A New Route From Moral Disagreement to Moral Skepticism.Olle Risberg & Folke Tersman - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):189-207.
    Moral disagreement is sometimes thought to pose problems for moral realism because it shows that we cannot achieve knowledge of the moral facts the realists posit. In particular, it is "fundamental" moral disagreement—that is, disagreement that is not due to distorting factors such as ignorance of relevant nonmoral facts, bad reasoning skills, or the like—that is supposed to generate skeptical implications. In this paper, we show that this version of the disagreement challenge is flawed as it stands. The reason is (...)
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  • Parfit on Moral Disagreement and The Analogy Between Morality and Mathematics.Adam Greif - 2021 - Filozofia 9 (76):688 - 703.
    In his book On What Matters, Derek Parfit defends a version of moral non-naturalism, a view according to which there are objective normative truths, some of which are moral truths, and we have a reliable way of discovering them. These moral truths do not exist, however, as parts of the natural universe nor in Plato’s heaven. While explaining in what way these truths exist and how we discover them, Parfit makes analogies between morality on the one hand, and mathematics and (...)
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  • Σ01 Soundness Isn’T Enough: Number Theoretic Indeterminacy’s Unsavory Physical Commitments.Sharon Elizabeth Berry - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    It’s sometimes suggested that we can (in a sense) settle the truth-value of some statements in the language of number theory by stipulation, adopting either φ or ¬φ as an additional axiom. For example, in Clarke-Doane (2020b) and a series of recent APA presentations, Clarke-Doane suggests that any Σ01 sound expansion of our current arithmetical practice would express a truth. In this paper, I’ll argue that (given a certain popular assumption about the model-theoretic representability of languages like ours) we can’t (...)
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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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  • The Limits of Self-Effacement: A Reply to Wittwer.Patrick Clipsham - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3617-3636.
    This article is concerned with the interconnection between three arguments: the Moral Explanatory Dispensability Argument, the Epistemic Explanatory Dispensability Argument, and the Companions in Guilt Argument. Silvan Wittwer has recently argued that the Epistemic EDA is self-effacing, whereas the Moral EDA is not. This difference between them is then leveraged by Wittwer to establish that there is a significant disparity between these arguments and that this disparity undermines attempts to use the CGA as a means of refuting the Moral EDA. (...)
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  • Set-Theoretic Pluralism and the Benacerraf Problem.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2013-2030.
    Set-theoretic pluralism is an increasingly influential position in the philosophy of set theory (Balaguer [1998], Linksy and Zalta [1995], Hamkins [2012]). There is considerable room for debate about how best to formulate set-theoretic pluralism, and even about whether the view is coherent. But there is widespread agreement as to what there is to recommend the view (given that it can be formulated coherently). Unlike set-theoretic universalism, set-theoretic pluralism affords an answer to Benacerraf’s epistemological challenge. The purpose of this paper is (...)
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