The nature of moral judgements and the extent of the moral domain

Philosophical Explorations 15 (1):1-16 (2012)
A key question for research on the evolutionary origins of morality concerns just what the target of an evolutionary explanation of morality should be. Some researchers focus on behaviors, others on systems of norms, yet others on moral emotions. Richard Joyce (2006) offers an evolutionary explanation for the trait of making moral judgments. Here, I defend Joyce’s account of moral judgment against two objections from Stephen Stich (2008). Stich’s first objection concerns the supposed universality of moral judgments as Joyce conceives of them. I respond by undermining the empirical evidence upon which this objection is based. Stich’s second objection concerns the extent of the moral domain, which he takes to include far more than the considerations of harm and fairness central to Joyce’s account. In response, I outline several strategies for reconciling Stich’s observations with Joyce’s account.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2012.647356
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Kim Sterelny & Ben Fraser (forthcoming). Evolution and Moral Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv060.

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