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Forgiveness is institutionally mediated, not an isolable modular output

  • Don Ross (a1)

Abstract

McCullough et al. recognize that revenge and forgiveness jointly constitute a functional strategic complex. However, they model the halves of the complex as outputs of modules selected for regulating dyadic relationships. This is backwards. Forgiveness is a culturally evolved institution that can be exapted for use in dyadic contexts; it would be cheap talk among dyads were it not for the shadow of society.

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Guala, F. (2012) Reciprocity: Weak or strong? What punishment experiments do (and do not) demonstrate. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35(1):159.
Ross, D. (2004) Meta-linguistic signalling for coordination amongst social agents. Language Sciences 26:621–42.
Ross, D. (2005) Economic theory and cognitive science: Microexplanation. MIT Press.
Ross, D. (2006) The economics and evolution of selves. Journal of Cognitive Systems Research 7:246–58.
Ross, D. (2007) H sapiens as ecologically special: What does language contribute? Language Sciences 29:710–31.
Ross, D. (2012) Special human vulnerability to low-cost collective punishment. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35(1):3738.

Forgiveness is institutionally mediated, not an isolable modular output

  • Don Ross (a1)

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