Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):699-712 (2000)

Authors
William F. Harms
Seattle Central Community College
Abstract
Conventional wisdom has it that evolution makes a sham of morality, even if morality is an adaptation. I disagree. I argue that our best current adaptationist theory of meaning offers objective truth conditionsfor signaling systems of all sorts. The objectivity is, however, relative to species – specifically to the adaptive history of the signaling system in question. While evolution may not provide the kind of species independent objective standards that (e.g.) Kantians desire, this should be enough for the practical work of justifying our confidence in the objectivity of moral standards. If you believe morality is an adaptation, you should be a moral realist.
Keywords evolutionary ethics  moral realism  naturalism  teleosemantics
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006661726993
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References found in this work BETA

The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics.Alfred Tarski - 1943 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (3):341-376.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
Misrepresentation.Fred I. Dretske - 1986 - In Radu Bogdan (ed.), Belief: Form, Content, and Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 17--36.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rescuing Tracking Theories of Morality.Marc Artiga - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3357-3374.
Evolution and the Missing Link (in Debunking Arguments).Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair - 2017 - In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics. Cambridge University Press.

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