The emotional dog gets mistaken for a possum

Saltzstein and Kasachkoff (2004) critique the social intuitionist model (Haidt, 2001), but the model that they critique is a stripped-down version that should be called the “possum” model. They make three charges about the possum model that are not true about the social intuitionist model: that it includes no role for reasoning, that it reduces social influence to compliance, and that it does not take a developmental perspective. After I defend the honor of the social intuitionist model, I raise two areas of legitimate dispute: the scope and nature of moral reasoning, and the usefulness of appealing to innate ideas, rather than to learning and reasoning, as the origin of moral knowledge. I present three clusters of innate moral intuitions, related to sympathy, hierarchy, and reciprocity.
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