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What is Moral Folk Theory?


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#1    coberst

coberst

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:08 PM

What is Moral Folk Theory?

The attempt to seek knowledge presupposes that the world unfolds in a systematic pattern and that we can gain knowledge of that unfolding. Cognitive science identifies several ideas that seem to come naturally to us and labels such ideas as “Folk Theories”.

The Folk Theory of the Intelligibility of the World
The world makes systematic sense, and we can gain knowledge of it.

The Folk Theory of General Kinds
Every particular thing is a kind of thing.

The Folk Theory of Essences
Every entity has an “essence” or “nature,” that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.

The consequences of the two theories of kinds and essences are:

The Foundational Assumption of Metaphysics
Kinds exist and are defined by essences.

We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians.  We, in fact, assume that things have a nature thereby we are led by the metaphysical impulse to seek knowledge at various levels of reality.  

Cognitive science has uncovered these ideas they have labeled as Folk Theories.  Such theories when compared to sophisticated philosophical theories are like comparing mountain music with classical music.  Such theories seem to come naturally to human consciousness.

What is Moral Law Folk Theory?

Moral Law Folk Theory, encoded within objectivist philosophy, holds “that there are absolute moral laws, that they can be discovered by reason, and that they can be applied directly and objectively to real situations.”

SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) claims and I agree that “it is morally irresponsible to think and act as though we possess a universal, disembodied reason that generates absolute rules, decision-making procedures, and universal or categorical laws by which we can tell right from wrong in any situation we encounter.”

Folk Theories are based upon the book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh

Moral Law Folk Theory is based upon the book by Mark Johnson Moral Imagination






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