The evolution of the moral sentiments and the metaphysics of morals

Francis Allhoff

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    So-called evolutionary error theorists, such as Michael Ruse and Richard Joyce, have argued that naturalistic accounts of the moral sentiments lead us to adopt an error theory approach to morality. Roughly, the argument is that an appreciation of the etiology of those sentiments undermines any reason to think that they track moral truth and, furthermore, undermines any reason to think that moral truth actually exists. I argue that this approach offers us a false dichotomy between error theory and some form of moral realism. While accepting the presuppositions of the evolutionary error theorist, I argue that contract-based approaches to morality can be sensitive to those presuppositions while still vindicating morality. Invoking Stephen Darwall's distinction between contractualism and contractarianism, I go on to offer an evolutionary-based contractarianism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-114
    Number of pages18
    JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of the moral sentiments and the metaphysics of morals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this