Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442
Fall 2007 Voltaire's Coffee with Professor Eli Cox, Marketing
Mon, September 17, 2007 • 6:30 PM • Carothers Residence Hall/Joynes 007A. Enter from Quad Courtyard--east door.
Drawing on the linguistic theories of Noam Chomsky, Hauser argues that humans have a universal moral grammar, an instinctive, unconscious tool kit for constructing moral systems. For example, although we might not be able to articulate immediately the moral principle underlying the ban on incest, our moral faculty instinctually declares that incest is disgusting and thus impermissible. Hauser's universal moral grammar builds on the 18th-century theories of moral sentiments devised by Adam Smith and others. Hauser also asserts that nurture is as important as nature: 'our moral faculty is equipped with a universal set of rules, with each culture setting up particular exceptions to these rules.' All societies accept the moral necessity of caring for infants, but Eskimos make the exception of permitting infanticide when resources are scarce.