Nativism and the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality


Authors
Brendan Cline
Brandeis University
Abstract
Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to undercut the justification of our moral judgments by showing why a tendency to make moral judgments would evolve regardless of the truth of those judgments. Machery and Mallon (2010. Evolution of morality. In J.M. Doris and The Moral Psychology Research Group (Eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook (pp. 3-46). Oxford: Oxford University Press) have recently tried to disarm these arguments by showing that moral cognition – in the sense that is relevant to debunking – is not the product of natural selection. Specifically, they present a barrage of increasingly influential challenges against reciprocity-based approaches to moral nativism. In the present paper I defend the nativist account of moral cognition against these criticisms, thereby bolstering the skeptical conclusions of evolutionary debunking arguments. However, Machery and Mallon's critique does successfully highlight several vulnerabilities in Richard Joyce's approach to debunking, suggesting several ways in which it can be revised toward generating a more robust version of the argument.
Keywords direct reciprocity  indirect reciprocity  evolution of morality  moral nativism  debunking arguments  moral skepticism
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-014-0207-2
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References found in this work BETA

Justice for Hedgehogs.Ronald Dworkin - 2011 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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The Tale of a Moderate Normative Skeptic.Brendan Cline - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):141-161.

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