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The Evolved ApprenticeHow Evolution Made Humans Unique$
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Kim Sterelny

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016797

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016797.001.0001

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From Skills to Norms

From Skills to Norms

Chapter:
(p.151) 7 From Skills to Norms
Source:
The Evolved Apprentice
Author(s):

Kim Sterelny

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262016797.003.0007

This chapter has three objectives. First, it critiques moral nativism, especially the version that is modelled on Chomsky’s linguistic nativism, showing that moral nativists massively understate the richness of children’s moral experience, and showing that they have no credible account of the relationship between reflective and reactive morality. Second, it develops a positive account of moral cognition and moral learning, in some ways similar to the new wave sentimentalist accounts of Prinz and Nichols. The account recognises the importance of prosocial emotions and our biological preparation for norm learning, but it also recognises the active role of children as they probe their normative environment, and the very rich and highly organised social input children experience. Third, it uses the example of norm learning (not just moral norms) to show how the basic apprentice learning model can be extended from skill learning to more declarative and explicit, less procedural and implicit, cognitive capacities.

Keywords:   Moral nativism, moral grammar, poverty of the stimulus arguments, norms, moral sentimentalism, John Mikhail, Marc Hauser, norm learning

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