Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 567–581

Debunking morality: evolutionary naturalism and moral error theory

  • Hallvard Lillehammer

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025568525832

Cite this article as:
Lillehammer, H. Biology & Philosophy (2003) 18: 567. doi:10.1023/A:1025568525832


The paper distinguishes three strategies by means of which empirical discoveries about the nature of morality can be used to undermine moral judgements. On the first strategy, moral judgements are shown to be unjustified in virtue of being shown to rest on ignorance or false belief. On the second strategy, moral judgements are shown to be false by being shown to entail claims inconsistent with the relevant empirical discoveries. On the third strategy, moral judgements are shown to be false in virtue of being shown to be unjustified; truth having been defined epistemologically in terms of justification. By interpreting three recent error theoretical arguments in light of these strategies, the paper evaluates the epistemological and metaphysical relevance of empirical discoveries about morality as a naturally evolved phenomenon.

R.D. Alexander Evolutionary Naturalism Moral Error Theory Moral Objectivity M. Ruse R. Wright 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hallvard Lillehammer
    • 1
  1. 1.King's CollegeCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK

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