The social roots of normativity
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This paper introduces the Special Issue: ‘The Roots of Normativity. Developmental, Comparative and Conceptual issues’. The contributions collected in this volume aim to present a picture of contemporary accounts of normativity that integrate philosophy and developmental and comparative psychology and purport to provide the reader with new insights regarding a classical debate about what makes us human: being governed by norms and being able to orient ourselves in the light of them. This introduction presents a broad picture of the issues at the heart of traditional discussions on normativity and lays out a set of conditions which a proper account of normativity should meet. In so doing the main common themes that unify these papers are brought to the fore. In particular, all of them share the idea that human-specific norms are themselves social. Once questions concerning the evolution of normative capacities and their development are considered, however, they pose - so it is argued - specific challenges to an account of normativity. While the traditional approaches fail to face such challenges, it is the main aim of the papers in this Special Issue to meet them. In concluding, a brief overview of each paper is provided.
KeywordsHuman normativity Social norms Development Non-human primates Normative behavior Phylogeny
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