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The Innate Mind, Volume 3Foundations and the Future$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332834

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332834.001.0001

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Some Innate Foundations of Social and Moral Cognition

Some Innate Foundations of Social and Moral Cognition

17 Some Innate Foundations of Social and Moral Cognition
The Innate Mind, Volume 3

Karen Wynn

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the innate basis of social cognition in young infants. It reviews evidence showing that infants not only have a set of innate expectations regarding the behaviour of inanimate objects, but also a set of expectations about the properties and likely behaviour of intentional agents. It discusses recent evidence showing not only that young infants' understanding of agency is genuinely mentalistic in character (in particular, involving ascriptions of goals and intentions to agents, rather than just behavioural tendencies), but also that they evaluate agents and their actions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ from an early age.

Keywords:   infants, social cognition, intentional agents, social actions, social world, physical world

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