Evolutionary Theory and Morality: Why the Science Doesn't Settle the Philosophical Questions
|dc.contributor.author||FitzPatrick, William J.|
|dc.description.abstract||Four decades ago, E.O. Wilson famously declared that “the time has come for ethics to be removed temporarily from the hands of the philosophers and biologicized." One still finds Wilson’s idea echoed frequently in popular science writing today. While I’m not going to deny that evolutionary biology and other sciences have important things to tell us about morality, I think there is a lot of confusion about what exactly they can tell us, and how much they can tell us. My aim here is first to make some distinctions and sort out some issues, and then to examine one overreaching claim in particular, about the explanation of our moral beliefs by appeal to evolutionary causal influences. That is a claim used by some philosophers to argue that evolutionary biology somehow forces on us either a skeptical or a purely subjectivist understanding of morality. I will explain why I think this is misguided and is a poor use of science in philosophy.|
|dc.title||Evolutionary Theory and Morality: Why the Science Doesn't Settle the Philosophical Questions|
|dc.contributor.organization||University of Rochester|
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Philosophic Exchange is published by the Center for Philosophic Exchange, at the College at Brockport. The Center for Philosophic Exchange was founded by SUNY Chancellor Samuel Gould in 1969 to conduct a continuing program of philosophical inquiry, relating to both academic and public issues. Each year the Center hosts four speakers, and each speaker gives a public lecture that is intended for a general audience. These lectures are then published in this journal.