Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):41 (2018)

Jeroen Hopster
Utrecht University
The aim of this article is to identify the strongest evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and to assess on which empirical assumptions it relies. In the recent metaethical literature, several authors have de-emphasized the evolutionary component of EDAs against moral realism: presumably, the success or failure of these arguments is largely orthogonal to empirical issues. I argue that this claim is mistaken. First, I point out that Sharon Street’s and Michael Ruse’s EDAs both involve substantive claims about the evolution of our moral judgments. Next, I argue that combining their respective evolutionary claims can help debunkers to make the best empirical case against moral realism. Some realists have argued that the very attempt to explain the contents of our endorsed moral judgments in evolutionary terms is misguided, and have sought to escape EDAs by denying their evolutionary premise. But realists who pursue this reply can still be challenged on empirical grounds: debunkers may argue that the best, scientifically informed historical explanations of our moral endorsements do not involve an appeal to mind-independent truths. I conclude, therefore, that the empirical considerations relevant for the strongest empirically driven argument against moral realism go beyond the strictly evolutionary realm; debunkers are best advised to draw upon other sources of genealogical knowledge as well.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-018-9652-0
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
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

Disagreement and Doubts About Darwinian Debunking.Alexandra Plakias - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.

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