What Makes Evolution a Defeater?

Erkenntnis 83 (6):1105-1126 (2018)
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Abstract

Evolutionary Debunking Arguments purport to show that our moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge because these beliefs are “debunked” by the fact that our moral beliefs are, in some way, the product of evolutionary forces. But there is a substantial gap in this argument between its main evolutionary premise and the skeptical conclusion. What is it, exactly, about the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs that would create problems for realist views in metaethics? I argue that evolutionary debunking arguments are best understood as offering up defeaters for our moral beliefs. Moreover, the defeater in question is a paradigmatic instance of undercutting defeat. If anything is an undercutting defeater, then learning about the evolutionary origins of our moral beliefs is a defeater for those beliefs.

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Citations of this work

Debunking arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12):e12638.
An Explanationist Account of Genealogical Defeat.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (1):176-195.
Debunking Arguments in Metaethics and Metaphysics.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.), Metaphysics and Cognitive Science. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 337-363.
The Reliability Challenge in Moral Epistemology.Matt Lutz - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15:284-308.

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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.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge.
Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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