Can Moral Realists Deflect Defeat Due to Evolutionary Explanations of Morality?

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):227-248 (2017)
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Abstract

I address Andrew Moon's recent discussion (2016, this journal) of the question whether third-factor accounts are valid responses to debunking arguments against moral realism. Moon argues that third-factor responses are valid under certain conditions but leaves open whether moral realists can use his interpretation of the third-factor response to defuse the evolutionary debunking challenge. I rebut Moon's claim and answer his question. Moon's third-factor reply is valid only if we accept externalism about epistemic defeaters. However, even if we do, I argue, the conditions Moon identifies for a valid third-factor response are not met in the case of moral realism.

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Michael Klenk
Delft University of Technology

Citations of this work

Debunking, Epistemic Achievement, and Undermining Defeat.Michael Klenk - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):43-60.
Evolution and Moral Disagreement.Michael Klenk - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (2).
Contingency, Sociality, and Moral Progress.Olof Leffler - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-20.

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References found in this work

Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism.David Enoch - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
Moral realism: a defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Thinking how to live.Allan Gibbard - 2003 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
A Natural History of Human Morality.Michael Tomasello (ed.) - 2015 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

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