Explaining social norm compliance. A plea for neural representations
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- Colombo, M. Phenom Cogn Sci (2014) 13: 217. doi:10.1007/s11097-013-9296-0
How should we understand the claim that people comply with social norms because they possess the right kinds of beliefs and preferences? I answer this question by considering two approaches to what it is to believe (and prefer), namely: representationalism and dispositionalism. I argue for a variety of representationalism, viz. neural representationalism. Neural representationalism is the conjunction of two claims. First, what it is essential to have beliefs and preferences is to have certain neural representations. Second, neural representations are often necessary to adequately explain behaviour. After having canvassed one promising way to understand what neural representations could be, I argue that the appeal to beliefs and preferences in explanations of paradigmatic cases of norm compliance should be understood as an appeal to neural representations.