Causal Impotence and Evolutionary Influence: Epistemological Challenges for Non-Naturalism

Authors
Abstract
Two epistemological critiques of non-naturalism are not always carefully distinguished. According to the Causal Objection, the fact that moral properties cannot cause our moral beliefs implies that it would be a coincidence if many of them were true. According to the Evolutionary Objection, the fact that evolutionary pressures have influenced our moral beliefs implies a similar coincidence. After distinguishing these epistemological critiques, I provide an extensive defense of the Causal Objection that also strengthens the Evolutionary Objection. In particular, I formulate a “Master Causal Objection” featuring the controversial premise that non-naturalism can provide no adequate explanation for moral knowledge. I defend this premise by first narrowing down the range of candidate explanations to conceptual, constitutive, and evolutionary explanations, and then considering and eliminating each of these in turn. My discussion of evolutionary explanations suggests that non-naturalists must refute the Causal Objection in order to refute the Evolutionary Objection.
Keywords Moral epistemology  Moral realism  Evolutionary debunking  Sharon Street  Hartry Field
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-015-9625-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,457
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

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ethics and Evolutionary Theory.Erik J. Wielenberg - 2016 - Analysis 76 (4):502-515.
Old Wine in New Bottles.Klenk Michael - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):781-795.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism.Katia Vavova - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism and Moral Knowledge.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2012 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (1):1-38.
Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
Darwinian Normative Skepticism.Dustin Locke - 2014 - In Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.), Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-07-29

Total downloads
67 ( #95,805 of 2,285,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #29,027 of 2,285,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature