Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Debunking Arguments from Insensitivity

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of International Journal for the Study of Skepticism

Heightened awareness of the origins of our moral judgments pushes many in the direction of moral skepticism, in the direction of thinking we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments on a realist understanding of the moral truths. A classic debunking argument fleshes out this worry: the best explanation of our moral judgments does not appeal to their truth, so we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments. But it is unclear how to get from the explanatory premise to the debunking conclusion. This paper shows how to get from here to there by way of epistemic insensitivity. First, we reconstruct Richard Joyce’s evolutionary debunking argument from insensitivity. Second, we raise epistemological difficulties for Joyce’s argument. Third, we develop and defend a new debunking argument from insensitivity.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tennessee, Martin


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Becker K. (2008). Epistemology Modalized . New York: Routledge.
2. Becker K., (2012). “"Methods and How to Individuate Them".” In Becker, and Black (Vol 2012), 8198.
3. Becker K.,, and Black T. (eds.), (2012). The Sensitivity Principle in Epistemology . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
4. Bedke M., (2014). “"No Coincidence?”" In Shafer-Landau (Vol 2014), 103125.
5. Blackburn S. (1993). Essays in Quasi-Realism . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
6. Blackburn S., (Forthcoming). “"Justification and Explanation in Mathematics and Morality".” In Shafer-Landau R. (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics .
7. Clarke-Doane J. (2012). “"Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge",” Ethics Vol 122: 313340.
8. Copp D.,, and Zimmerman D., (eds.). (1984). Morality, Reason, and Truth . Totowa, nj: Rowman and Allanheld.
9. Feinberg J., and Shafer-Landau R., (eds.). (2013). Reason and Responsibility . 15th ed. Boston, ma: Wadsworth.
10. Goldberg S., (ed.). (2007). Internalism and Externalism in Semantics and Epistemology . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
11. Goldberg S., (2012). “"Sensitivity from Others".” In Becker, and Black (Vol 2012), 4365.
12. Goldman A. (1986). Epistemology and Cognition . Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press.
13. Harman G. (1977). The Nature of Morality . New York: Oxford University Press.
14. Henderson D.,, and Horgan T.,. (2007). “"Some Ins and Outs of Transglobal Reliabilism".” In Goldberg (Vol 2007), 100130.
15. Hieke A.,, and Leitbeg H. (eds.), (2009). Reduction, Abstraction, and Analysis . Ontos Verlag.
16. Hills A., (2009). “"Supervenience and Moral Realism".” In Hieke, and Leitbeg (Vol 2009), 163177.
17. Huemer M. (2005). Ethical Intuitionism . New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
18. Joyce R. (2001). The Myth of Morality . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
19. Joyce R. (2007). The Evolution of Morality , Cambridge, ma: mit Press.
20. Joyce R., (2013). “"The Evolutionary Debunking of Morality".” In Feinberg, and Shafer-Landau (Vol 2013), 527534.
21. Leiter B. (2001). “"Moral Facts and Best Explanations",” Social Philosophy and Policy Vol 18: 79101.
22. Luper-Foy S. (ed.). (1987). The Possibility of Knowledge: Nozick and His Critics . Totowa, nj: Rowman & Littlefield.
23. Mackie J.L. (1977). Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong . New York: Penguin.
24. Majors B. (2007). “"Moral Explanation",” Philosophy Compass Vol 2: 115.
25. McGrath S. (2009). “"The Puzzle of Pure Moral Deference",” Philosophical Perspectives Vol 23: 321344.
26. Mogensen A. (2014). “"Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics".” D. Phil Thesis. University of Oxford.
27. Nichols S. (2004). Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
28. Nozick R. (1981). Philosophical Explanations . Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press.
29. Pollock J. (1976). Subjunctive Reasoning . Reidel: Dordrecht.
30. Railton P. (1985). “"Moral Realism",” Philosophical Review Vol 95: 163207.
31. Ridge M. (2007). “"Anti-reductionism and Supervenience",” Journal of Moral Philosophy Vol 4: 330348.
32. Ridge M., (2008). “"Moral Non-Naturalism".” In Zalta E.N. (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition).
33. Ruse M. (1986). Taking Darwin Seriously . Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
34. Shafer-Landau R. (2003). Moral Realism: A Defence . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
35. Shafer-Landau R. (ed.). (2014). Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 9 . Clarendon: Oxford University Press.
36. Sinnott-Armstrong W. (2006). Moral Skepticisms . New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
37. Sommers T.,, and Rosenberg A.. (2003). “"Darwin’s Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life",” Biology and Philosophy Vol 18: 653668.
38. Sperber D. (1996). Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach . Cambridge, ma: Blackwell.
39. Street S. (2006). “"A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value",” Philosophical Studies Vol 127: 109166.
40. Sturgeon Nicholas,. (1984). “"Moral Explanations".” In Copp, and Zimmerman (Vol 1984), 4978.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation