The Debunking Challenge to Realism: How Evolution (Ultimately) Matters

Arnon Levy
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yair Levy
Tel Aviv University
Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) have attracted extensive attention in meta-ethics, as they pose an important challenge to moral realism. Mogensen (2015) suggests that EDAs contain a fallacy, by confusing two distinct forms of biological explanation – ultimate and proximate. If correct, the point is of considerable importance: evolutionary genealogies of human morality are simply irrelevant for debunking. But we argue that the actual situation is subtler: while ultimate claims do not strictly entail proximate ones, there are important evidential connections between the two. Attending to these connections clears ground for a new and improved EDA. However, it also brings into view some possible problems with EDAs that have been largely neglected so far.
Keywords Evolutionary Debunking  Ultimate Proximate Distinction  Morality
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DOI 10.26556/jesp.v11i1.188
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References found in this work BETA

A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism.Katia Vavova - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
What is Innateness?Paul E. Griffiths - 2001 - The Monist 85 (1):70-85.
Evolution of Morality.Edouard Machery & Ron Mallon - 2010 - In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press. pp. 3.

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