There are moral facts that they make certain statements true, statements such as “Doing A1 is wrong,” “Doing A2” is permissible, and so on. The way to test whether evolutionary intuitionism is a plausible theory is to see whether the results are plausible. If it forbids something that nobody thinks is wrong, there’s a problem. If it requires something that everybody thinks is optional, then it has a problem. If it permits something that nobody thinks should be allowed, it has a problem.
The way things are set up, there has to be a correspondence between the moral facts posited and our moral intuitions, because the theory says that the facts cause our intuitions. This is an important point. Ultimately, all moral theories have to pass the intuitive plausibility test. Evolutionary intuitionism is the only theory that says why it has to.
We have extended foundational attitudes that depend on our being able to desire to avoid injury, and to prefer our family and friends to strangers when we cannot fulfil our obligations to all.
The theory says we should minimize the number of deaths that occur. It says that we should minimize the number of and the seriousness of injuries to others. It is a matter of minimizing rather than maximizing because it’s all a matter of relationships rather than quanta of value that we possess.
It says that we do not have to die or suffer serious injury to ourselves in order to achieve these goals. The end does not justify all means. On the other hand, it says that it would be great if we sacrificed ourselves voluntarily.
It says that nobody’s preferences are more important than anybody else’s, everything else being equal. It says that we can help family and friends before we help strangers, if we cannot help all of them. It says that we should co-operate when helping others if that is necessary. It says that we have to be willing to take risks for others that are at least as great as the risks we take for our own purposes. It says that we do not have to put up with villains and that we can kill them if absolutely necessary to save the innocent. If threatening them beforehand is impossible, we can retaliate afterwards. It says that we can kill others to save our own lives if they threaten our lives and we have no other choice but we cannot harm them if they do not threaten our lives. It says that abortion is wrong unless continued pregnancy is a serous threat to the life or health of the mother. It does not say anything in particular about sex but the fact that nobody’s preferences are always more important than anyone else’s means that women should not be subordinate to men.
Overall, the results are reasonable enough. There is no point in trying to achieve a higher standard. Our intuitions are liable to be distorted because we seldom believe all relevant truths and we seldom avoid believing all relevant falsehoods, and ignorance and error can influence our intuitions.
Copyright Brian Zamulinski.