Street 's Challenge For Realism Essay

1082 Words Jun 10th, 2016 null Page
2. Street’s Challenge for realism

In (Street 2006) Sharon Street put forward a powerful epistemological argument against moral realism. In this context moral realism is understood as the position that i) some of our moral claims are true and ii) they are true independently of the beliefs of the moral agents. The major premise she assumes is the correctness of the Darwinian picture of the world and the conclusion is, in effect, that if we accept evolution theory, then moral realism as defined before, is undermined.
The argument starts with the claim that the evolutionary history of our species has affected tremendously the moral norms that we accept. This is the first Darwinian premise of the argument and is, I think, an uncontroversial empirical truth. Of course, there is no universally accepted theory on which exactly were the ways that evolution influenced morality. One may ask for example: did the evolutionary history shaped the content of the moral values that we share today or it affected only the cognitive mechanisms that we use for making moral judgments? In any case, the claim here is very weak and its correctness does not bear on the evolutionary details. The goal of the argument is to debunk the moral realism and, the strategy is to assume that moral realism is true and then try to derive a highly non-plausible conclusion from that. The first step says is to consider the relation between the independent moral truth and the evolutionary forces that…

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