There are fundamental differences between the explanation of scientific change and the explanation of technological change. The differences arise from fundamental differences between scientific and technological knowledge and basic disanalogies between technological advance and scientific progress. Given the influence of economic markets and industrial and institutional structures on the development of technology, it is more plausible to regard technological change as a continuous and incremental process, rather than as a process of Kuhnian crises and revolutions.
Corballis suggests that fully vocal communication was invented by modern humans between 170,000 and 50,000 years ago. Because this new form of communication did not require hand gestures, he wondered whether this may have facilitated the development of lithic manufacture. I cast doubt on this interesting notion but offer an enhanced version that may have more potential.
In this paper we compare two theories about the cognitive architecture underlying morality. One theory, proposed by Sripada and Stich (forthcoming), 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, which we call the M/C model was suggested by the widely discussed and influential work of Elliott Turiel, Larry Nucci and others on the “moral/conventional task”. This theory (...) 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. We give an overview of both theories and of the data each was designed to explain. We go 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, we conclude that the M/C model does not pose a serious challenge for the Sripada and Stich theory. (shrink)
I argue that the arguments brought by Counsel for M to the English Court of Protection are morally problematic in prioritising subjective interests which are the result of ‘consistent autonomous thought’ over subjective interests which are the result of a more limited cognitive perspective.