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On What MattersVolume Three$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198778608.001.0001

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Street’s Meta-Ethical Constructivism

Street’s Meta-Ethical Constructivism

Chapter:
(p.264) 50 Street’s Meta-Ethical Constructivism
Source:
On What Matters
Author(s):

Derek Parfit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198778608.003.0015

This chapter considers an evolutionary debunking argument, which states that, because our normative beliefs were greatly influenced by natural selection, these beliefs were caused in ways that were unrelated to their truth. When we know that our beliefs were caused in such ways, these beliefs cannot be justified. The chapter rejects that argument. Though our normative beliefs were influenced by natural selection, this influence was not great enough to give strong support to the evolutionary debunking argument. Furthermore, the chapter questions the suggestions that the causal origins of our normative beliefs could not epistemically undermine these beliefs, and that, in responding to the skeptic's argument from disagreement, we can deny that it makes a difference whether, in ideal conditions, we would in fact have similar normative beliefs.

Keywords:   meta-ethical constructivism, evolutionary debunking argument, natural selection, normative beliefs, relativism

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