How to Debunk Moral Beliefs

In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 25-48 (2019)

Authors
Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Victor Kumar
Boston University
Abstract
Arguments attempting to debunk moral beliefs, by showing they are unjustified, have tended to be global, targeting all moral beliefs or a large set of them. Popular debunking arguments point to various factors purportedly influencing moral beliefs, from evolutionary pressures, to automatic and emotionally-driven processes, to framing effects. We show that these sweeping arguments face a debunker’s dilemma: either the relevant factor is not a main basis for belief or it does not render the relevant beliefs unjustified. Empirical debunking arguments in ethics can avoid this predicament, but only if they are refocused on highly selective classes of moral belief. Experimental data can combine with familiar consistency reasoning to reveal that like cases are not being treated alike. Selective debunking arguments are unlikely to yield sweeping sceptical conclusions, but they can lead to rational moral change.
Keywords genealogical debunking  moral scepticism  consistency reasoning  moral knowledge
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

.Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.

View all 44 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
Moral Reasoning and Emotion.Joshua May & Victor Kumar - 2018 - In Karen Jones, Mark Timmons & Aaron Zimmerman (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 139-156.
Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
A Limited Skeptical Threat. [REVIEW]Joshua May - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41:35-6.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What Makes Evolution a Defeater?Matt Lutz - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1105-1126.
The Real Problem with Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Louise Hanson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):508-33.
Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics.Andreas Lech Mogensen - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism.Katia Vavova - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):104-116.
Debunking and Dispensability.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
A New Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism.Justin Morton - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):233-253.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-10-04

Total views
578 ( #8,210 of 2,310,934 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
101 ( #5,508 of 2,310,934 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature