Evolutionary debunking arguments and the explanatory scope of natural selection

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An influential species of evolutionary debunking argument (EDA) against moral realism holds that since cumulative natural selection (likely) shaped the contents of our moral beliefs, those beliefs do not count as knowledge. Critics have taken issue with a range of empirical, epistemic, and metaphysical assumptions that EDAs are said to rely on, which has engendered a complex debate over whether and to what extent the debunking challenge succeeds. However, recently it has been argued that we can reject EDAs without having to enter this thicket of issues. EDAs supposedly fail at the outset, by trading on a glaring misunderstanding about the scope of natural selection explanations. I argue that this objection to EDAs fails, and itself rests on a mistaken view of natural selection explanation and its relation to justification.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSynthese
Volume198
Pages (from-to)6009–6024
Number of pages16
ISSN0039-7857
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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