No need to get up from the armchair (if you’re interested in debunking arguments in metaethics)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several authors believe that metaethicists ought to leave their comfortable armchairs and engage with serious empirical research. This paper provides partial support for the opposing view, that metaethics is rightly conducted from the armchair. It does so by focusing on debunking arguments against robust moral realism. Specifically, the article discusses arguments based on the possibility that if robust realism is correct, then our beliefs are most likely insensitive to the relevant truths. These arguments seem at first glance to be dependent on empirical research to learn what our moral beliefs are sensitive to. It is argued, however, that this is not so. The paper then examines two thought experiments that have been thought to demonstrate that debunking arguments might depend on empirical details and argues that the conclusion is not supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-590
Number of pages16
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Volume23
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Armchair philosophy
  • Evolutionary debunking
  • Insensitivity
  • Moral autonomy
  • Robust moral realism

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