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Essays in Moral Skepticism$
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Richard Joyce

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754879

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754879.001.0001

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Evolution, Truth-Tracking, and Moral Skepticism

Evolution, Truth-Tracking, and Moral Skepticism

(p.142) 7 Evolution, Truth-Tracking, and Moral Skepticism
Essays in Moral Skepticism

Richard Joyce

Oxford University Press

Evolutionary debunking arguments seek to undermine morality by highlighting facts about its genealogy. This chapter delineates several quite different versions of this kind of argument, including those of Michael Ruse, Sharon Street, Joshua Greene, Peter Singer, and Richard Joyce. It then focuses on an epistemological version, according to which the discovery that moral thinking emerged as an adaptation can undermine the epistemic status of moral judgments. The relationship between justification and truth-tracking is examined against a Darwinian backdrop. Certain criticisms of debunking arguments are raised and dismissed. The chapter concludes that discoveries about moral genealogy can have an epistemic impact at least by shifting the burden of proof in the debate.

Keywords:   debunking arguments, moral error theory, justification, truth-tracking, moral skepticism

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