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

Authors
Arnon Levy
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Yair Levy
Tel Aviv University
Abstract
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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