• Philippe Biermann

    Theoretical Philosophy

    © Philippe Biermann

Philippe Biermann, M.A.

Doctoral student/Research assistant at the chair of theoretical philosophy

© Philippe Biermann

Department of Philosophy
PO Box 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld

Office: X-A4-250
Office hours: by arrangement



PhD Project

© Crawford Jolly at Unsplash

In my PhD project I set out to investigate a currently widely discussed variety of argument, running under the label "evolutionary debunking arguments" (EDAs). The general idea of EDAs is that we can undermine our justification and confidence in certain beliefs by appealing to evolutionary psychology. Especially certain beliefs in realism, like moral realism, colour realism, and the like are targeted by such beliefs. The reasoning of debunkers is the following: let us assume there are objective facts about a certain matter. If we can show that our beliefs about these matters are a result of mental mechanisms that are heavily influenced by natural selection, and that the evolutionary success of these mechanisms is completely independent of whether the resulting beliefs are true or false, we have good reasons to suspect that our beliefs about these matters are very suspicious and should not be relied upon. Thus, we have either empirical grounds for skepticism or the start of a reductio against realism.

In my thesis I will on the one hand try to formalize and generalize this argumentative strategy. Part of that task is to specify which features of an ontological domain make a domain susceptible for evolutionary debunking strategies and which features rule debunking strategies out. On the other hand, I apply my general argument to various domains.