Noûs (2016)

Authors
Jack Woods
University of Canterbury
Abstract
I argue that certain species of belief, such as mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, are insulated from a form of Harman-style debunking argument whereas moral beliefs, the primary target of such arguments, are not. Harman-style arguments have been misunderstood as attempts to directly undermine our moral beliefs. They are rather best given as burden-shifting arguments, concluding that we need additional reasons to maintain our moral beliefs. If we understand them this way, then we can see why moral beliefs are vulnerable to such arguments while mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs are not—the very construction of Harman-style skeptical arguments requires the truth of significant fragments of our mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, but requires no such thing of our moral beliefs. Given this property, Harman-style skeptical arguments against logical, mathematical, and normative beliefs are self-effacing; doubting these beliefs on the basis of such arguments results in the loss of our reasons for doubt. But we can cleanly doubt the truth of morality.
Keywords Clarke-Doane  Mathematics  Morality  Debunking Arguments  Harman  Self-Effacement
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Reprint years 2016, 2018
DOI 10.1111/nous.12157
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Debunking Evolutionary Debunking.Katia Vavova - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.

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Citations of this work BETA

Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
Modal Security.Justin Clarke‐Doane & Dan Baras - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Is There a Reliability Challenge for Logic?Joshua Schechter - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):325-347.
The Ethics–Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke‐Doane - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

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