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Collected Papers, Volume 2Knowledge, Rationality, and Morality, 1978-2010$
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Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.001.0001

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Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality

Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality

(p.326) 14 Two Theories About the Cognitive Architecture Underlying Morality
Collected Papers, Volume 2

Daniel Kelly

Stephen Stich

Oxford University Press

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

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