Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Evolutionary debunking arguments, commonsense and scepticism
Contributor(s): Boucher, Sandy C  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021-12
Early Online Version: 2020-07-17
DOI: 10.1007/s11229-020-02782-1
Handle Link:
Abstract: Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) seek to infer from the evolutionary origin of human beliefs about a particular domain to the conclusion that those beliefs are unjustified. In this paper I discuss EDAs with respect to our everyday, commonsense beliefs. Those who seriously entertain EDAs for commonsense argue that natural selection does not care about truth, it only cares about fitness, and thus it will equip us with beliefs that are useful (fitness-enhancing) rather than true. In recent work Griffiths and Wilkins argue that this is a mistake. Fitness-tracking and truth-tracking are not rival, but rather potentially complementary, hypotheses about the function of our cognitive belief-forming systems. It may be that those systems maximise fitness by tracking the truth. I argue that while they are right about the standard EDAs for commonsense, the threat of evolutionary scepticism remains, because cognitive systems whose function is to track the truth may still be highly unreliable. I propose an alternative, Moorean approach to vindicating our commonsense picture of the world and dispelling the threat of scepticism. Once this has been established, however, we may appeal to evolution to explain the good fit between our cognition and the world. I thus propose that an evolutionary explanatory project ought to replace the troubled evolutionary justificatory project. This ought to be appealing to those such as Griffiths and Wilkins who seek a naturalistic non-sceptical account of our commonsense beliefs and their origins.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Synthese, v.198, p. 11217-11239
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-0964
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 220206 History and Philosophy of Science (incl. Non-historical Philosophy of Science)
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 500305 Epistemology
500204 History and philosophy of science
500317 Philosophy of science (excl. history and philosophy of specific fields)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280119 Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Files in This Item:
2 files
File Description SizeFormat 
Show full item record
Google Media

Google ScholarTM



Items in Research UNE are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.