Moral Motivation and Metacognition

Mark Rowlands

in Can Animals Be Moral?

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199842001
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979844 | DOI:
Moral Motivation and Metacognition

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The other difference that effective critical scrutiny of motivations brings is an alteration in the cognitive structure of motivation. This takes the form of metacognition: higher-order thoughts about one's motivations. This chapter argues that metacognitive abilities are not the sort of thing that could yield control over motivations. The very issue of control that arises at the first-order level of motivations also arises at the metacognitive level. To suppose otherwise is to assume that something miraculous happens in the move from first order to metalevel. This fallacy is labeled the “miracle-of-the-meta.” The fallacy is motivated and explained by way of discussion of higher-order thought models of consciousness.If the arguments of chapters 6 and 7 are correct, we have no workable account of the connection between scrutiny and control (and hence between control and both normativity and morality). The SCNM schema breaks down at the S-C stage.

Keywords: critical scrutiny; metacognition; consciousness; higher-order thoughts; situationism

Chapter.  7095 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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