By Shaun Nichols
Ethics, Vol. 124, No. 4 (July 2014), pp. 727-749
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Article DOI: 10.1086/675877
The rise of empirical moral psychology has been accompanied by the return of debunking arguments in ethics. This is no surprise since debunking arguments often depend on empirical premises about the beliefs under consideration. As we learn more about our moral psychology, we put ourselves in a position to develop more empirically informed debunking arguments.
In this essay, I will start by distinguishing different forms of debunking arguments, and I will adopt a particular, psychologically oriented, approach to debunking. On the type of debunking argument that I will promote, one attempts to undercut the justificatory status of a person’s belief by showing that the belief was formed by an epistemically defective psychological process. There are natural ways to develop such debunking arguments in metaethics, I’ll contend; but in normative ethics, debunking arguments face greater obstacles.
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