The Real Problem with Evolutionary Debunking Arguments

Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):508-33 (2017)

Abstract

There is a substantial literature on evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) in metaethics. According to these arguments, evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs pose a significant problem for moral realism, specifically by committing the realist to an unattractive pessimism about the prospects of our having moral knowledge. In this paper, I argue that EDAs exploit an equivocation between two distinct readings of their central claim. One is plausibly true but has no epistemic relevance, and the other would have epistemic consequences for realism, but is false. If I'm right, this undermines attempts to use evolutionary explanations to debunk belief in other domains too.

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References found in this work

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Ethics and Intuitions.Peter Singer - 2005 - The Journal of Ethics 9 (3-4):331-352.

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