KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Thomas Poelzler
KLI Colloquia
Moral Realism, Evolution, and Folk Metaethics
2017-10-12 15:00 - 2017-10-12 16:30
Organized by KLI

Topic description:

Moral realists believe that there are objective moral truths. This presentation addresses two related issues at the interface between moral realism, evolution, and folk metaethics. First, I attempt to clarify and assess the underlying empirical hypothesis of Joyce’s recent evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism, i.e., the hypothesis that moral judgements are explained by natural selection. Second, I attempt to clarify and advance the methods of psychological research on folk moral realism (by developing general guidelines for such research and suggesting a new experimental design meant to best satisfy these guidelines). Both of these contributions have the potential to advance our understanding of morality in important respects.


Biographical note:

Thomas Pölzler is a post-doc researcher and lecturer at the Philosophy Department of the University of Graz, Austria. His main areas of research are metaethics and moral psychology. In particular, he is interested in the validity and metaethical relevance of empirical studies on morality (such as studies on folk moral realism, the evolution of morality, and moral judgements’ relation to emotions). Further research interests include the philosophy of Albert Camus, intergenerational justice, environmental ethics, and basic needs. His articles have been published in journals such as Synthese, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, and South African Journal of Philosophy. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript which is under contract with Routledge, entitled “Moral Reality and the Empirical Sciences”.