A collection of essays assessing the origins of various rule-based systems including, but not limited to, morality, rationality and justice from the perspectives of both philosophy and psychology. The Reader will learn about diverse cognitive and neurocognitive phenomena responsible for the emergence of these normative orders such as imitation, time preferences and the dual-processing mind. Furthermore, the contributions include different philosophical insights into the genealogy of norms.
Bartosz Brożek, Antonino Rotolo, Wojciech Załuski, Tomasz Żuradzki, Corrado Roversi, Bram Heerebout, Łukasz Kurek, Mateusz Hohol, Katarzyna Eliasz, Łukasz Kwiatek
Jerzy Stelmach, Bartosz Brożek, Łukasz Kurek.
Facts and Meaning: How a Rich Ontology Facilitates the Understanding of Normativity
Imitation and the Emergence of Normative Orders
Emergence of Conventions, Norm Compliance, Social Emotions: An Agent-based Simulation Perspective?
The Psychological Bases of Primitive Egalitarianism. Reflections on Human Political Nature
The Necessary Condition of the Emergence of Just Normative Orders: Non-Domination versus Simple Equality
Emotions and the Emergence of Morality
Time-Biases and Rationality: The Philosophical Perspective on Empirical Research about Time Preferences
Łukasz Kwiatek, Mateusz Hohol.
The Emergence of Symbolic Communication: From the Intentional Gestures of Great Apes to Human Language
Legal Metaphoric Artifacts
Difficult Heredity: Cassirer and Hägerström on the Mythical Origin of Legal Concepts
Editing: AEDDAN SHAW
Cover design: MARIUSZ BANACHOWICZ
Layout: MIROSŁAW KRZYSZKOWSKI
Publication Supported by The John Templeton Foundation Grant "The Limits of Scientific Explanation"
© Copyright by Copernicus Center Press, 2016
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It is hardly a matter of dispute that normativity is at the root of the debates in many areas of contemporary philosophy. There are at least two reasons why this is the case. First of all, rule-based systems are fundamental to many areas of human conduct. There exist various normative orders pertaining to, inter alia, ethics, morality, law, rationality, and language. As a consequence, philosophical accounts of these phenomena, which disregard the question of their normative dimension, are incomplete. Secondly, rule-following behavior is notoriously difficult to conceive in naturalistic terms. Since naturalism – which may be described as an understanding of philosophy as continuous with science – is probably the most preeminent among the current philosophical ‘-isms’, numerous thinkers regard normativity as one of the most serious, if not the most pressing, problems in the quest to construct a fully satisfactory naturalistic worldview.
The typical strategies to tackle the problem of normativity include ontological investigations concerning the nature of norms, epistemological inquiries pertaining to their content, and psychological explorations into their role in regulating human behavior. The overarching goal of the present volume is to consider the emergence of normativity. We believe that such an endeavor should not only shed new light on the above-mentioned ontological, epistemological, and psychological problems, but also bring to the fore some important but often neglected aspects of the normativity question.
The volume opens with a chapter by Jaap Hage, Facts and Meaning. How a Rich Ontology Facilitates the Understanding of Normativity, which provides an ontological framework, which may account for the emergence of normative facts. The pivotal element of the framework is the category of reason-based facts. Reasons are mind-dependent facts, because they have inherent meaning: language both makes it possible that there exist reason-based facts and it determines what these facts are about. Such a rich ontology allows the author to develop a theory of reasons for acting. Because reasons for acting are understood as dispositions to motivate behavior, it is a factual matter whether somebody should – or ought to – behave in a certain way. A person being disposed to be motivated by a reason is the crucial requirement for the emergence of the fact that this person should – or ought to – behave according to the reason. Importantly, the author distinguishes between personal reasons, social reasons and rule-based reasons, the latter two supporting the claim to universality associated with normativity.
The following chapter, Imitation and the Emergence of Normative Orders by Bartosz Brożek, aims at uncovering the importance of imitation as the mechanism enabling the emergence of normative orders. The author begins with providing an evolutionary argument for imitation as the only ability of human being, which could explain the intensity of cultural transmission observed in humans as compared with other primates. The analysis leads to identifying the benefits of imitation as a social learning strategy, which include minimizing the learning cost, accumulation of behavioral improvements over many generations, and allowing for generating novel patterns of conduct by the means-ends recombination. However, imitation provides an explanation of the emergence of simple, rudimentary rules only. Rudimentary rule-following, on the other hand, constitutes a scaffolding for fully-fledged normative behavior.
Antonino Rotolo, in The Emergence of Conventions, Norm Compliance, Social Emotions: An Agent-based Simulation Perspective, provides an overview of the logic- and simulation-based accounts of norm-governed agency. The chapter focuses on the role of three types of factors in the agents’ social adaptation vis a vis an uncertain environment: the emergence of conventions, norm internalization and punishment, as well as the role of guilt in norm compliance.
Wojciech Załuski’s chapter, The Psychological Bases of Primitive Egalitarianism. Reflections on Human Political Nature, is devoted to the problems of the existence and the character of human political nature. The author argues that the investigations of the psychological bases of egalitarianism – which is the standard structure of the earliest human societies – can provide valuable insights into the problem under consideration. The analysis of various possible hypotheses about the psychological bases of primitive egalitarianism leads Załuski to the claim that the aversion of hybris hypothesis – according to which an important element in the psychology supporting egalitarianism is the human tendency to feel an aversion to persons who believe in their superiority over other persons – provides the most plausible explanation of egalitarianism.
The goal of Marta Soniewicka’s chapter, The Necessary Condition of the Emergence of Just Normative Orders: Non-Domination versus Simple Equality, is to assess the importance of domination and dominance as the negative condition of the emergence of just normative orders. The author claims that it is the source of the inequality which determines whether given inequality is wrong, and domination is the main source of wrong inequalities. Soniewicka compares two approaches to reducing inequalities, the non-domination approach and the simple equality approach, and observes that only the former achieves its goal as it cuts deeply into the fabric of society, calling into question the very criteria of the distribution of goods. The latter, on the other hand, not only affirms the existing social order, but also cripples it.
Łukasz Kurek, in Emotions and the Emergence of Morality, provides an analysis of the multifaceted link between emotions and morality. The author begins by identifying the conceptual relationship between emotions and moral responsibility, according to which ascriptions of moral responsibility have an important emotional component. He then proceeds to discuss the available empirical evidence pertaining to the role of emotions in the ascription of responsibility. The resulting outlook on morality is that it is subjective in nature – i.e. constructed by moral agents – and the chapter ends with an attempt to refute certain arguments against morality thus understood.
In the following chapter, Time-biases and Rationality: The Philosophical Perspective on Empirical Research About Time Preferences, Tomasz Żuradzki carries out a philosophical analysis of the recent findings in empirical economics and psychology pertaining to various time-based preferences. The analysis aims at determining whether these preferences are at odds with the norms of rationality. The author argues that contrary to the prevailing opinion, it is not obvious that certain time biases violate rationality. The chapter concludes with an account of how time-based preferences influence the emergence of normative orders such as law and morality.
Łukasz Kwiatek, in The Emergence of Symbolic Communication: From the Intentional Gestures of Great Apes to Human Language, provides an explanation of how human language evolved from the gestural communication present in great apes. He assesses the crucial problems in the current research in animal communication, in particular the issue of whether the great apes’ skills in transmitting information can be convincingly described as communicative or even linguistic. The author defends this conclusion, which allows him to claim that the evolution of these skills was an essential stage in the emergence of human language. The chapter ends with a consideration of the normativity of language from the perspective of animal communication.
The final two chapters explore the issue of the emergence of law. Corrado Roversi’s Legal Metaphoric Artifacts includes an analysis of legal institutions as artifacts. The artifacts are understood as imitating the natural, pre-social reality of human beings. The author argues that because legal artifacts have this feature, the connection between the normativity of law and the factual order is more intricate than it is often assumed. Subsequently, referring to various legal institutions, he provides an elaborate account of institutional mimesis: the mechanism of mirroring the structure of the natural world in legal artifacts.
In Difficult Heredity: Cassirer and Hägerström on the Mythical Origin of Legal Concepts, Katarzyna Eliasz compares the theories of the origin of legal concepts developed by Ernst Cassirer and Axel Hägerström. Both theories assume the mythical origin of legal concepts; however, they adopt different understandings of “myth”. The differences between Hägerström’s and Cassirer’s insights may be viewed as a special case of a more universal conflict between, respectively, naturalistic and humanistic explanations of the development of culture.
The chapters collected in this volume have been written within the research project The Limits of Scientific Explanation, carried out at the Copernicus Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Kraków and sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.
University of Maastricht
[a] The author thanks Gustavo Arosemena and Stefano Bertea for their useful comments on a draft version of this paper.
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