Marc Hauser's eminently readable and comprehensive book Moral Minds is revolutionary. He argues that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Experience tunes up our moral actions, guiding what we do as opposed to how we deliver our moral verdicts.
In Moral Minds, Hauser sketches an outline for a theory of an innate moral capacity in humans. Using Noam Chomsky's theory of language in h ...more
Ok, I did not. But another interesting point is this: Hauser in this book attempts to argue that we got an innate moral grammar, like Chomsky's grammar of language. However, at this, he really fails even with fabricated evidence - so a double fail really.
I gave it two stars bec ...more
I've read bigger, thicker, and denser nonfiction texts, but for some reason this book was one of those that just continually drew itself out. I fell back to all of the usual tactics involved in reading a book that just never fully engages you: pick up other books to read simultaneously, read it in short, 3-page segments, forced reading sessions with the primary goal of "just finishing it finally" ...
That said, I find it to be a little bit disappointing considering that this boo ...more
Nonetheless, the very subject of morality is, or should be, a universal human concern so i was interested in his theories on the matter.
Hauser essentially makes distinctions between the deontological, 'Kantian' creature, where morality is rules rather than outcome based; the 'Humean' creatu ...more
From Publishers Weekly
How do humans develop their capacity to make moral decisions? Harvard biologist Hauser (Wild Minds) struggles to answer this and other questions in a study that is by turns fascinating and dull. Drawing on the linguistic theories of Noam Chomsky, Hauser argues that humans have a universal moral grammar, an instinctive, unconscious tool kit for ...more
28 Empathy moves as a form of contagion, like a game of emotional tag. [It spreads more easily by personal contact.:]
97 A social norm functions as a group marker, a signature of shared beliefs.
133 Machismo dominates in the South, leading to a culture of honor.
135 In the South, not only are people more likely to respond aggressively to insult, but they expect others to respond violently to insult.
137 There are innate d ...more
Using the model of language and its development and acquistion, he shows how underlying the cross-cultural variation seen expressed in soclal norms throughou ...more
Hauser frames the book as a debate between Kantian (pure reason) and Humian (pure emotion) ideas about the base of ethics, and finds each inadequate alo ...more
When I browsed through before buying, I flipped to a section in which moral dilemmas are discussed. There are several what-would-you-do scenarios, and it analyzes what answers people often give and the likely reasons wh ...more
That's a fa ...more
This book dives through moral philosophy, cognitive psycology, and evolutionary biology. It is such a successful combination of all of them that I cannot place it.
P.S.: Is any one on the forum a socilogical student? It would be interesting to learn how the social sicence field response to the emerging influence of 'evolution' perspective on human behaviors.
I found the book a bit long and wordy, however. Hauser seemed to provide a lot of detail but failed to make it clear how his examples support his argument.