Mindreading and the cognitive architecture underlying altruistic motivation

Mind and Language 16 (4):425-455 (2001)
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Abstract

In recent attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying altruistic motivation, one central question is the extent to which the capacity for altruism depends on the capacity for understanding other minds, or ‘mindreading’. Some theorists maintain that the capacity for altruism is independent of any capacity for mindreading; others maintain that the capacity for altruism depends on fairly sophisticated mindreading skills. I argue that none of the prevailing accounts is adequate. Rather, I argue that altruistic motivation depends on a basic affective system, a ‘Concern Mechanism’, which requires only a minimal capacity for mindreading

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Shaun Nichols
Cornell University

Citations of this work

Empathy and the Value of Humane Understanding.Olivia Bailey - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):50-65.
The mad, the bad, and the psychopath.Heidi L. Maibom - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):167-184.
Empathy.Karsten Stueber - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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