Understanding social norms and constitutive rules: Perspectives from developmental psychology and philosophy

Ingar Brinck
Lund University
An experimental paradigm that purports to test young children’s understanding of social norms is examined. The paradigm models norms on Searle’s notion of a constitutive rule. The experiments and the reasons provided for their design are discussed. It is argued that the experiments do not provide direct evidence about the development of social norms and that the concepts of a social norm and constitutive rule are distinct. The experimental data are re-interpreted, and suggestions for how to deal with the present criticism are presented that do not require abandoning the paradigm as such. Then the conception of normativity that underlies the experimental paradigm is rejected and an alternative view is put forward. It is argued that normativity emerges from interaction and engagement, and that learning to comply with social norms involves understanding the distinction between their content, enforcement, and acceptance. As opposed to rule-based accounts that picture the development of an understanding of social norms as one-directional and based in enforcement, the present view emphasizes that normativity is situated, reciprocal, and interactive
Keywords Social norm  Constitutive rule  Rule game  Compliance  Intersubjectivity  Situated normativity
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-015-9426-y
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Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.

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Citations of this work BETA

Social Deontics: A Nano‐Level Approach to Human Power Play.Melisa Stevanovic - 2018 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 48 (3):369-389.
The Social Roots of Normativity.Glenda Satne - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):673-682.
Dialogue in the making: emotional engagement with materials.Ingar Brinck & Vasudevi Reddy - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (1):23-45.
Persons and Affordances.Patrizio Lo Presti - forthcoming - Ecological Psychology.

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