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Debunking arguments in mathematics and ethics

Location
Metallurgy and Materials (GA03)
Dates
Wednesday 6 December 2017 (16:00-17:00)

Mathematics and Philosophy Seminar

The talk (including discussion) will last approximately one hour and will be followed by refreshments. All welcome. 

Abstract

Evolutionary debunking arguments present an epistemological challenge to nonreductive moral realism, holding that our most plausible story of the origins of our moral beliefs undermines any justification the realist may otherwise think they have for believing that our moral beliefs track the moral truths, realistically construed.  David Enoch presents the debunker's challenge as a special case of a general epistemological challenge to realism that he models on Hartry Field's version of the Benacerraf problem for mathematical platonism.  In particular, the problem is that robust realist views according to which the mathematical and moral facts are neither causally nor explanatorily responsible for our mathematical and moral beliefs will have difficulty explaining the correlation that they take to exist between our beliefs and the mathematical and moral facts.  Given this link between this special case challenge to moral and mathematical realism (via the evolutionary origin of our moral and mathematical beliefs) and the general Benacerraf-Field epistemological challenge, I will present a new response to the Benacerraf-Field challenge on behalf of the platonist, modelled on Enoch's strategy in defense of robust moral realism.

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