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  1. Contingency Inattention: Against Causal Debunking in Ethics.Regina Rini - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):369-389.
    It is a philosophical truism that we must think of others as moral agents, not merely as causal or statistical objects. But why? I argue that this follows from the best resolution of an antinomy between our experience of morality as necessarily binding on the will and our knowledge that all moral beliefs originate in contingent histories. We can address this antinomy only by understanding moral deliberation via interpersonal relationships, which simultaneously vindicate and constrains morality’s bind on the will. This (...)
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  • Les Explications Par Un Troisième Facteur Permettent-Elles aux Réalistes Moraux de Relever le Défi Épistémologique?Félix Aubé Beaudoin - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (1):161-191.
    Les réalistes moraux font face à un défi épistémologique : ils doivent expliquer pourquoi plusieurs jugements moraux qui sont candidats au statut de vérités morales ont une grande valeur sélective. Est-ce le fruit du hasard? Les pressions évolutives ont-elles permis de retracer ces vérités? La stratégie argumentative qu’ils adoptent le plus communément afin d’expliquer cette corrélation frappante estl’explication par un troisième facteur. Dans cet article, je soutiens qu’elle ne permet pas de relever le défi épistémologique.Moral realists face an epistemological challenge: (...)
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  • Ethics, Evolution and the a Priori: Ross on Spencer and the French Sociologists.Hallvard Lillehammer - 2017 - In Robert Richards Michael Ruse (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics.
    In this chapter I critically discuss the dismissal of the philosophical significance of facts about human evolution and historical development in the work of W. D Ross. I address Ross’s views about the philosophical significance of the emerging human sciences of his time in two of his main works, namely The Right and the Good and The Foundations of Ethics. I argue that the debate between Ross and his chosen interlocutors (Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and Lucien Levy-Bruhl) shows striking similarities (...)
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  • Evolutionary Skepticism About Morality and Prudential Normativity.Peter Königs - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):911-928.
    SEE BELOW ("EXTERNAL LINKS") FOR A FREELY AVAILABLE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE /// ABSTRACT: 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 (...)
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  • On the Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience and Dual-Process Theory.Peter Königs - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (2):195-209.
    SEE BELOW ("EXTERNAL LINKS") FOR A FREELY AVAILABLE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE /// ABSTRACT: According to the dual-process account of moral judgment, deontological and utilitarian judgments stem from two different cognitive systems. Deontological judgments are effortless, intuitive and emotion-driven, whereas utilitarian judgments are effortful, reasoned and dispassionate. The most notable evidence for dual-process theory comes from neuroimaging studies by Joshua Greene and colleagues. Greene has suggested that these empirical findings undermine deontology and support utilitarianism. It has been pointed out, however, (...)
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  • Feedback From Moral Philosophy to Cognitive Science.Regina A. Rini - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):569-588.
    A popular argument form uses general theories of cognitive architecture to motivate conclusions about the nature of moral cognition. This paper highlights the possibility for modus tollens reversal of this argument form. If theories of cognitive architecture generate predictions for moral cognition, then tests of moral thinking provide feedback to cognitive science. In certain circumstances, philosophers' introspective attention to their own moral deliberations can provide unique data for these tests. Recognizing the possibility for this sort of feedback helps to illuminate (...)
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  • Beyond Sacrificial Harm: A Two-Dimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology.Guy Kahane, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp, Lucius Caviola, Nadira S. Faber, Molly J. Crockett & Julian Savulescu - 2018 - Psychological Review 125 (2):131-164.
    Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...)
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  • Eliminating Prudential Reasons.Alex Worsnip - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 8:236-257.
    I argue, contrary to the consensus of most contemporary work in ethics, that there are no (fundamentally, distinctively) prudential reasons for action. That is to say: there is no class of reasons for action that is distinctively and fundamentally about the promotion of the agent’s own well-being. Considerations to do with the agent’s well-being can supply the agent with reasons only in virtue of her well-being mattering morally or in virtue of her caring about her own well-being. In both of (...)
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  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.Andreas Lech Mogensen - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    I consider whether evolutionary explanations can debunk our moral beliefs. Most contemporary discussion in this area is centred on the question of whether debunking implications follow from our ability to explain elements of human morality in terms of natural selection, given that there has been no selection for true moral beliefs. By considering the most prominent arguments in the literature today, I offer reasons to think that debunking arguments of this kind fail. However, I argue that a successful evolutionary debunking (...)
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  • La réponse naturelle : une solution inadéquate au dilemme darwinien.Félix Aubé Beaudoin - 2015 - Philosophiques 42 (1):131-151.
    Félix Aubé Beaudoin | : Le dilemme darwinien, formulé par Sharon Street, somme les réalistes moraux d’expliquer pourquoi de nombreux jugements qui sont des candidats au statut de vérités morales indépendantes sont aussi ceux qui ont une grande valeur sélective. Les réalistes peuvent soit nier, soit affirmer l’existence d’un lien entre pressions évolutionnistes et vérités morales. Selon Street, la première option mène au scepticisme tandis que la seconde est indéfendable sur le plan scientifique. Peter Singer et Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek optent (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Debunking Debunking: A Regress Challenge for Psychological Threats to Moral Judgment.Regina A. Rini - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):675-697.
    This paper presents a regress challenge to the selective psychological debunking of moral judgments. A selective psychological debunking argument conjoins an empirical claim about the psychological origins of certain moral judgments to a theoretical claim that these psychological origins cannot track moral truth, leading to the conclusion that the moral judgments are unreliable. I argue that psychological debunking arguments are vulnerable to a regress challenge, because the theoretical claim that ‘such-and-such psychological process is not moral-truth-tracking’ relies upon moral judgments. We (...)
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  • Evolution and Utilitarianism.François Jaquet - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1151-1161.
    Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer have recently provided an evolutionary argument for utilitarianism. They argue that most of our deontological beliefs were shaped by evolution, from which they conclude that these beliefs are unjustified. By contrast, they maintain that the utilitarian belief that everyone’s well-being matters equally is immune to such debunking arguments because it wasn’t similarly influenced. However, Guy Kahane remarks that this belief lacks substantial content unless it is paired with an account of well-being, and he adds (...)
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  • Ethics and Evolutionary Theory.Erik J. Wielenberg - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):502-515.
  • Does Evolutionary Psychology Show That Normativity Is Mind-Dependent?Selim Berker - 2014 - 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.
    Suppose we grant that evolutionary forces have had a profound effect on the contours of our normative judgments and intuitions. Can we conclude anything from this about the correct metaethical theory? I argue that, for the most part, we cannot. Focusing my attention on Sharon Street’s justly famous argument that the evolutionary origins of our normative judgments and intuitions cause insuperable epistemological difficulties for a metaethical view she calls "normative realism," I argue that there are two largely independent lines of (...)
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  • Butchering Benevolence Moral Progress Beyond the Expanding Circle.Hanno Sauer - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):153-167.
    Standard evolutionary explanations seem unable to account for inclusivist shifts that expand the circle of moral concern beyond strategically relevant cooperators. Recently, Allen Buchanan and Russell Powell have argued that this shows that that evolutionary conservatism – the view that our inherited psychology imposes significant feasibility constraints on how much inclusivist moral progress can be achieved – is unjustified. Secondly, they hold that inclusivist gains can be sustained, and exclusivist tendencies curbed, under certain favorable socio-economic conditions. I argue that Buchanan (...)
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  • Making Psychology Normatively Significant.Regina A. Rini - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (3):257-274.
    The debate between proponents and opponents of a role for empirical psychology in ethical theory seems to be deadlocked. This paper aims to clarify the terms of that debate, and to defend a principled middle position. I argue against extreme views, which see empirical psychology either as irrelevant to, or as wholly displacing, reflective moral inquiry. Instead, I argue that moral theorists of all stripes are committed to a certain conception of moral thought—as aimed at abstracting away from individual inclinations (...)
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  • Altruism and the Golden Rule.Jonathan Goodman - 2014 - Zygon 49 (2):381-395.
    This essay addresses recent claims about the compatibility of the sociobiological theory of reciprocal altruism with standard Western formulations of the Golden Rule. Derek Parfit claims that the theory of reciprocal altruism teaches us to be “reciprocal altruists,” who benefit only those people from whom we can reasonably expect benefits in the future. The Golden Rule, on the other hand, teaches us to benefit anyone regardless of their intention or ability to return the favor, or as Parfit puts it, the (...)
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