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:
Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality

Show Summary Details


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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.