Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors



First Advisor

Kate Nolfi


Darwinian Dilemma, realism, anti-realism, evolution, morality, evaluative beliefs


Several philosophers have constructed arguments that rely crucially on the thesis that evolution influences moral beliefs. These arguments are called evolutionary debunking arguments, and are meant to “debunk” our moral beliefs, i.e. show that they’re unjustified, by undermining the processes by which those beliefs came about. This thesis will focus on evolutionary debunking arguments, and, more specifically, on an argument called the Darwinian Dilemma. I have chosen to specifically discuss the Darwinian Dilemma (which will be called the DD henceforth) because of all evolutionary debunking arguments, it poses the biggest threat to the metaethical view of realism. The aim of this thesis is to evaluate realism in light of the challenges exposed by the Darwinian Dilemma. To do so, I first identify the challenges the Darwinian Dilemma exposes for realism and I introduce the desideratum of universal normativity. I then evaluate realism in light of those challenges to determine whether realism can successfully respond to the Darwinian Dilemma and avoid the threat of evaluative skepticism.