Social Learning View is akin to moral skepticism
Moral realists truly believe that elimination of factual disagreements will lead to moral
Are they right in this view?
Brandt and Hopi
- Brandt was arguably the first experimental philosopher of t
Interpreting Mills Harm Principle?
What counts as harm?
- A punch
- Destroying work
Harder to define
- Disgusting behavior?
- Burning religious texts?
- Defacing religious icons?
What does harm mean?
Does there have to be an identifiable v
Men interested in a long term mate should prefer a woman with a high reproductive
Men interested in a short term mate should prefer a woman with high fertility.
What would happen to a gene that leads females to want many sexual partners?
It would not make her have many more childrenthat kind of gene would not spread as
rapidly throughout the population.
Runaway sexual selecti
Language Acquisition Device
- Input from the environmentLADGrammar of the language
- The mental mechanism that is responsible for the acquisition of language, is a
special purpose mechanism
o It cant be
- Empiricism: almost everything in the mind gets in through the senses or
- B.F Skinner believed that all creatures are born with some innate ability to learn
- Noam Chomsky is a p
The genes that we have now were shaped in a very different environment of our
ancestorswe have stone age minds in a modern brain! There is a mismatch in the
environments. This may be why not every male has an overwhelming urge to co
Moral Philosophy Meets Cognitive Science
The BIG Picture
A Reminder About the Overall Structure of the Argument
VI. How Cognitive Science can contribute to the debate
B. The answer I want to explore with you is that Cognitive Science can help us assess
Social Learning & Religion
I. Two ways to learn
A. A contest between 2 volunteers
1. The winner gets $1.00
2. I have hidden the money in on the stage
3. Whoever finds it first gets to keep it
4. The contest illustrates the difference between
TRIAL & ERROR
D. Cultural Relativism
1. Cultural relativists ALSO think that moral claims are TRUE or FALSE
2. However, they also believe that the truth or falsehood of a moral claim must be
relativized to a cultural group (or a time or a location)
3. One way of unders
III. An Alternative Hypothesis: Harris explanation of the disappearance of
A. One of the most systematic and pervasive changes in moral outlook in history is
the rejection of cannibalism
1. As Harris makes clear, cannibalism was once widely pr
Forthcoming in Symons, J. and Garzn F. (eds.) The Routledge Companion
to Philosophy of Psychology, Routledge
Nativism has a long intellectual heritage going back at least as far as Plato and the claim
that we possess
Cognitive Science 253
Sex Differences & The Explanation Proposed By Evolutionary Psychology
I. Sex & Gender
A. We will follow the widespread practice of using sex as a term for
biological categories and gender as a term for socially
I. Why study the diversity of foods eaten by different groups of people?
A. Because its fun!
B. Because I think it provides a way of introducing ideas and distinctions that will be
important in our discussion of moral diversity
C. One of th
Cognitive Science 253
Sex Differences (In Mating Strategies) & the Explanation Proposed by
Parental Investment Theory
A. Some traits we share with all mammals
1. eggs are much bigger than sperm & more costly to pr
1) Darwins Theory of Natural Selection
Evolution is change over time. Charles Darwin modeled his theory of natural selection
on artificial selection. The three factors necessary in that process include genetic
variation in the animals, inheritance of gene
To an extent that is unprecedented in other species, we acquire
other information rich mental states
that are similar in content to the mental states of the people around us
and the contents of the mento
1) Rogue Memes/Viruses of the Mind
As the idea or package of information spreads, it can change slightly. If a change makes
the new idea more tasty or attractive, the idea spreads throughout society even faster.
A hypothetical example:
The idea th
The Unbearable Accuracy of Stereotypes
If the claim if that stereotypes are completely invalid, it can be disproved.
"Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Bias and Self-Fulfilling
Bias and self-fulfilling p
F. How emotions and desires to avoid paternity uncertainty that were shaped by
natural selection can interact with new technologies in the 21st century
V. And Finally Evolutionary Psychology in the Real World
A. The evolutionary question:
1. Cryptic ovula
Oldest text is the Vedas
Focus on the text, Upanishads
Truth seekers went to the forest.
The Greeks believed that thinking is part of the soul (psyche)
In Hindu philosophy, if something has parts, it cant be eternal.
V. Some Important Ideas in Cognitive Science
B. Nativism: There is lots of innate information in the mind/brain
1. For the first 60 years of the 20th century, psychologists believed that
most of the information in the mind is learned from the
Everyone prefers certain foods to others
There are certain foods that people would not eat under normal circumstances
What exactly is a moral judgment?
What are we saying or doing when we make a moral judgment?
These are central que
III. The Theory of Natural Selection
E. The Focus on Genes
1. About 50 years ago, W. D. Hamilton added a major new element to
the theory of natural selection by noting that natural selection will
favor traits that
Class Exercise #1
What are some really obvious differences in these two groups?
o Why do these differences exist?
o Do any of these differences have implications for social policy issues?
Sex Differences and the Explanation Proposed by Evolutionary Psychology
Though it is widely agreed that biological sex does not determine gender, there is
a great deal disagreement about
o What does determine gender
o How many gen