In Kurt Bayertz & Neil Roughley (eds.), The normative animal? On the anthropological significance of social, moral and linguistic norms. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

Humans are normative beings through and through. This capacity for normativity lies at the core of uniquely human forms of understanding and regulating socio-cultural group life. Plausibly, therefore, the hominin lineage evolved specialized social-cognitive, motivational, and affective abilities that helped create, transmit, preserve, and amend shared social practices. In turn, these shared normative attitudes and practices shaped subsequent human phylogeny, constituted new forms of group life, and hence structured human ontogeny, too. An essential aspect of human ontogeny is therefore its reciprocal nature regarding normativity. This chapter reviews recent evidence from developmental psychology suggesting that, from early on, human children take a normative attitude toward others’ conduct in social interactions, and thus a collectivistic and impersonal perspective on norms. We discuss to what extent our closest living primate relatives lack normative attitudes and therefore live in a non-normative socio-causal world structured by individual preferences, power relationships, and regularities.
Keywords Normativity  Social norms  Social-cognitive development  Morality  Child development  Comparative psychology  Primates  Moral development
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