David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology Volume 1. MIT Press (2008)
One of the most influential arguments in contemporary philosophy and cognitive science is Chomsky's argument from the poverty of the stimulus. In this response to an essay by Chandra Sripada, I defend an analogous argument from the poverty of the moral stimulus. I argue that Sripada's criticism of moral nativism appears to rest on the mistaken assumption that the learning target in moral cognition consists of a series of simple imperatives, such as "share your toys" or "don't hit other children." In fact, the available evidence suggests that the moral competence of adults and even young children is considerably more complex and exhibits many characteristics of a well-developed legal code, including abstract theories of crime, tort, contract, and agency. Since the emergence of this knowledge cannot be explained by appeals to explicit instruction, or to any known processes of imitation, internalization, socialization and the like, there are grounds for concluding it may be innate. Simply put, to explain the development of intuitive jurisprudence in each individual, we must attribute unconscious knowledge and complex mental operations to her that go well beyond anything she has been taught.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Bryce Huebner, Susan Dwyer & Marc D. Hauser (2009). The Role of Emotion in Moral Psychology. Trends in Cognitive Science 13 (1):1-6.
Similar books and articles
Stephen Laurence & Eric Margolis (2001). The Poverty of the Stimulus Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (2):217-276.
Shaun Nichols (2005). Innateness and Moral Psychology. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 353--369.
Kim Sterelny (2010). Moral Nativism: A Sceptical Response. Mind and Language 25 (3):279-297.
Susan Dwyer (2006). How Good is the Linguistic Analogy? In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind, Vol. 2: Culture and Cognition. Oxford University Press.
Stephen Grain, Andrea Gualmini & Paul Pietroski (2005). Brass Tacks in Linguistic Theory. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind. Oxford University Press. 1--175.
Stephen Crain, Andrea Gualmini & Paul M. Pietroski (2005). Brass Tacks in Linguistic Theory: Innate Grammatical Principles. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 1--175.
Joel W. Lidz & S. Waxman (2004). Reaffirming the Poverty of the Stimulus Argument: A Reply to the Replies. Cognition 93 (2):157-165.
Susan Dwyer, How not to argue that morality isn't innate: Comments on Jesse Prinz's “is morality innate?”.
H. P. P. Lotter (2011). Poverty, Ethics and Justice. University of Wales Press.
John M. Collins (2003). Cowie on the Poverty of Stimulus. Synthese 136 (2):159-190.
Alison M. Jaggar (2013). Does Poverty Wear a Woman's Face? Some Moral Dimensions of a Transnational Feminist Research Project. Hypatia 28 (2):240-256.
Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (2013). In Defense of Nativism. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):693-718.
John Mikhail (2009). Moral Grammar and Intuitive Jurisprudence: A Formal Model of Unconscious Moral and Legal Knowledge. In B. H. Ross, D. M. Bartels, C. W. Bauman, L. J. Skitka & D. L. Medin (eds.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 50: Moral Judgment and Decision Making. Academic Press.
Added to index2011-09-26
Total downloads22 ( #89,177 of 1,410,004 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #46,150 of 1,410,004 )
How can I increase my downloads?