Evolutionary Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism

Erkenntnis 84 (5):1025-1045 (2019)

Abstract

Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skeptical strength of an evolutionary debunking argument is dependent upon the evidence for that hypothesis—evidence which, upon further inspection, proves far from compelling. Following that, however, I suggest that the same considerations which spell trouble for the empirical hypotheses of traditional debunking arguments can also be taken to give rise to an alternative—and better supported—style of debunking argument.

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Jessica Isserow
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science.Arnon Levy & Yair Levy - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):491-509.
Debunking Arguments.Dan Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
The Self-Effacement Gambit.Jack Woods - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):113-139.

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