Friday, September 15, 2006

Interview with Marc Hauser

American Scientist interviewed cogntive primatologist Marc Hauser by e-mail about his new theory of "moral grammer."

"Can you describe what you mean by a moral grammar?"

[Hauser]: "The core idea is derived from the work in generative grammar that [MIT linguist Noam] Chomsky initiated in the 1950s and that the political philosopher John Rawls brought to life in a short section of his major treatise A Theory of Justice in 1971. In brief, I argue that we are endowed with a moral faculty that delivers judgments of right and wrong based on unconsciously operative and inaccessible principles of action. The theory posits a universal moral grammar, built into the brains of all humans. The grammar is..."

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