Debunking, Supervenience, and Hume's Principle

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Debunking arguments against both moral and mathematical realism have been pressed, based on the claim that our moral and mathematical beliefs are insensitive to the moral/mathematical facts. In the mathematical case, I argue that the role of Hume’s Principle as a conceptual truth speaks against the debunkers’ claim that it is intelligible to imagine the facts about numbers being otherwise while our evolved responses remain the same. Analogously, I argue, the conceptual supervenience of the moral on the natural speaks presents a difficulty for the debunker’s claim that, had the moral facts been otherwise, our evolved moral beliefs would have remained the same.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1103
Number of pages22
JournalCanadian journal of philosophy
Issue number8
Early online date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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© 2019 Canadian Journal of Philosophy. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Hume’s principle
  • Mathematics
  • evolutionary debunking
  • metaethics
  • supervenience

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