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Explanation in Ethics and MathematicsDebunking and Dispensability$
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Uri D. Leibowitz and Neil Sinclair

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778592

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198778592.001.0001

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Debunking and Dispensability

Debunking and Dispensability

Chapter:
(p.23) 2 Debunking and Dispensability
Source:
Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics
Author(s):

Justin Clarke-Doane

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198778592.003.0002

In his précis of a recent book, Richard Joyce writes, ‘My contention…is that…any epistemological benefit-of-the-doubt that might have been extended to moral beliefs…will be neutralized by the availability of an empirically confirmed moral genealogy that nowhere…presupposes their truth’. Such reasoning—falling under the heading ‘Genealogical Debunking Arguments’—is now commonplace. But how might ‘the availability of an empirically confirmed moral genealogy that nowhere…presupposes’ the truth of our moral beliefs ‘neutralize’ whatever ‘epistemological benefit-of-the-doubt that might have been extended to’ them? In this chapter, it is argued that there appears to be no satisfactory answer to this question. The problem is quite general, applying to all arguments with the structure of Genealogical Debunking Arguments aimed at realism about a domain. The Benacerraf–Field Challenge for mathematical Platonism affords an important special case.

Keywords:   Keywords: debunking, realism, defeat, Benacerraf, Street, indispensability, ethics, moral realism, Platonism

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