Chapter

Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality

Daniel Kelly and Stephen Stich

in Collected Papers, Volume 2

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199733477
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949823 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.003.0014
Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality

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This chapter compares two theories about the cognitive architecture underlying morality. One theory, proposed by Sripada and Stich (2006), posits an interlocking set of innate mechanisms that internalize moral norms from the surrounding community and generate intrinsic motivation to comply with these norms and to punish violators. The other theory—called the M/C model—posits two distinct mental domains, the moral and the conventional, each of which gives rise to a characteristic suite of judgments about rules in that domain and about transgressions of those rules. The chapter gives an overview of both theories and of the data each was designed to explain. It goes on to consider a growing body of evidence that suggests the M/C model is mistaken. That same evidence, however, is consistent with the Sripada and Stich theory. Thus, the M/C model does not pose a serious challenge for the Sripada and Stich theory.

Keywords: morality; cognitive architecture; moral norms; intrinsic motivation; mental domain

Chapter.  10265 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

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