Mindreading and the cognitive architecture underlying altruistic motivation

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67 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying altruistic motivation, one central question is the extent to which the capacity for altruism depends on the capacity for understanding other minds, or 'mindreading'. Some theorists maintain that the capacity for altruism is independent of any capacity for mindreading; others maintain that the capacity for altruism depends on fairly sophisticated mindreading skills. I argue that none of the prevailing accounts is adequate. Rather, I argue that altruistic motivation depends on a basic affective system, a 'Concern Mechanism', which requires only a minimal capacity for mindreading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-455
Number of pages31
JournalMind and Language
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language

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