In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York: pp. 117-135 (2020)

Authors
Brian C. Barnett
State University of New York (SUNY)
Abstract
On an optimistic version of realist moral epistemology, a significant range of ordinary moral beliefs, construed in realist terms, constitute knowledge—or at least some weaker positive epistemic status, such as epistemic justification. The “debunking challenge” to this view grants prima facie justification but claims that it is “debunked” (i.e., defeated), yielding the final verdict that moral beliefs are ultima facie unjustified. Notable candidate “debunkers” (i.e., defeaters) include the so-called “evolutionary debunking arguments,” the “Benacerraf-Field Challenge,” and persistent moral disagreement among epistemic peers. Such defeaters are best treated as higher-order evidence—viz., evidence contesting the merits of the first-order evidence on which moral beliefs are based. This chapter first develops a theory of higher-order defeat in general, which it then applies to debunking in particular. The result: the challenge fails entirely on epistemic grounds—regardless of whether or not its empirical and metaphysical presuppositions are correct. An advantage of this purely epistemic defense over alternative strategies is that the former extends even to laypersons who themselves lack the expertise necessary to formulate an adequate response. However, this leaves open the prospects for non-epistemological interpretations of debunking (e.g., moral or ontological). The chapter therefore concludes with brief suggestions in that direction.
Keywords higher-order evidence  epistemology of disagreement  moral epistemology  moral disagreement  defeat  evolutionary debunking  moral realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism.Katia Vavova - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
Evolution and the Possibility of Moral Knowledge.Silvan Wittwer - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Edinburgh
What Makes Evolution a Defeater?Matt Lutz - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1105-1126.
Moral Disagreement and Moral Skepticism.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):302-333.
Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism and Moral Knowledge.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-38.
Evolution and Moral Disagreement.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (2).
The Epistemology of Moral Disagreement.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (2):1-16.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-10-05

Total views
149 ( #66,765 of 2,425,448 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
26 ( #31,295 of 2,425,448 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes