Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Moral Niche

Philosophia 44 (3):865-875 (2016)
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The so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary genealogy of our beliefs to undermine their justification. When applied to morality, such arguments are intended to undermine moral realism. In this paper I will discuss Andreas Mogensen’s recent effort to secure moral realism against EDAs. Mogensen attempts to undermine the challenge provided by EDAs in metaethics through the distinction between proximate and ultimate causes in biology. The problem with this move is that the proximate/ultimate distinction is misconceived. If ultimate and proximate causes are properly understood to be complementary, such distinction cannot affect EDAs in metaethics. Therefore, I will argue, Mogensen’s argument fails and moral realism is still in danger.



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Eleonora Severini
Universita' degli Studi di Pavia

References found in this work

Moral Realism: A Defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - Palgrave Macmillan.
Moral realism.Peter Railton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.

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