David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York 353--369 (2005)
Although linguistic nativism has received the bulk of attention in contemporary innateness debates, moral nativism has perhaps an even deeper ancestry. If linguistic nativism is Cartesian, moral nativism is Platonic. Moral nativism has taken a backseat to linguistic nativism in contemporary discussions largely because Chomsky made a case for linguistic nativism characterized by unprecedented rigor. Hence it is not surprising that recent attempts to revive the thesis that we have innate moral knowledge have drawn on Chomsky’s framework. I’ll argue, however, that the recent attempts to use Chomsky-style arguments in support of innate moral knowledge are uniformly unconvincing. The central argument in the Chomskian arsenal, of course, is the Poverty of the Stimulus (POS) argument. In section 1, I will set out the basic form of the POS argument and the conclusions about domain specificity and innate propositional knowledge that are supposed to follow. In section 2, I’ll distinguish 3 hypotheses about innateness and morality: rule nativism, moral principle nativism, and moral judgment nativism. In sections 3-5 I’ll then consider each of these hypotheses in turn. I’ll argue that while there is some reason to favor rule nativism, the arguments that moral principles and moral judgment derive from innate moral knowledge don’t work. The capacity for moral judgment is better explained by appeal to innate affective systems rather than innate moral knowledge. In the final section, I’ll suggest that the role of such affective mechanisms in structuring the mind complicates the standard picture about poverty of the stimulus arguments and nativism. For the affective mechanisms that influence cognitive structures can make contributions that are neither domain general nor domain specific
|Keywords||Cognition Innateness Linguistics Mind Moral Psychology Nativism|
|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
John Mikhail (2007). Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.
Stephen M. Downes (2013). No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits. Biological Theory 8 (1):15-19.
Richard Joyce (2013). Irrealism and the Genealogy of Morals. Ratio 26 (4):351-372.
Similar books and articles
Glen Hoffmann (2009). Nativism. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):303-315.
Andy Clark (1993). Minimal Rationalism. Mind 102 (408):587-610.
Steven Gross & Georges Rey (forthcoming). Innateness. In Eric Margolis, Richard Samuels & Stephen Stich (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press
John Mikhail (2008). The Poverty of the Moral Stimulus. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology Volume 1. MIT Press
Glen Hoffmann (2009). Nativism: In Defense of the Representational Interpretation. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (27):303-315.
J. Fodor (2001). Doing Without What's Within: Fiona Cowie's Critique of Nativism. [REVIEW] Mind 110 (437):99-148.
John M. Collins (2005). Nativism: In Defense of a Biological Understanding. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):157-177.
William Ramsey & Stephen P. Stich (1990). Connectionism and Three Levels of Nativism. Synthese 82 (2):177-205.
Susan Dwyer, How not to argue that morality isn't innate: Comments on Jesse Prinz's “is morality innate?”.
Brian J. Scholl (2005). Innateness and (Bayesian) Visual Perception: Reconciling Nativism and Development. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads101 ( #30,762 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)15 ( #48,707 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?