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Evolution and MoralityNOMOS LII$
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James E. Fleming and Sanford Levinson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814771228

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814771228.001.0001

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The Two Faces of Morality

The Two Faces of Morality

How Evolutionary Theory Can Both Vindicate and Debunk Morality (with a Special Nod to the Growing Importance of Law)

(p.31) 2 The Two Faces of Morality
Evolution and Morality

Robin Bradley Kar

NYU Press

This chapter differentiates “vindicating” from “debunking” evolutionary explanations of moral judgment, arguing that there is a specific set of circumstances in which people would be entitled to conclude that their capacities for moral judgment have at least a partial vindication. A vindicating explanation helps people see why the particular facts that form the subject matter of a given class of judgments are the right ones to have the special authority that they typically grant them in their lives. On the other hand, a debunking explanation reveals that people are psychologically disposed so as to treat certain classes of judgments with an authority that they cannot accept upon considered reflection. These two explanations also highlight an important difference between people's cognitive capacities in different circumstances of employment.

Keywords:   vindicating explanations, debunking explanations, moral judgment, cognition, evolutionary explanations

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