Norms in Social Interaction : Semantic, Epistemic, and Dynamic

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This dissertation examines people’s understanding of and action according to norms. Two models are distinguished: a cognitive and a non-cognitive model.

The cognitive model is characterized by requiring for people to understand norms and each other, and to act accordingly, that they have higher-order mental states whose propositional contents refer to the mental states of others and from these infer beliefs about what is normative and intentions to act accordingly. On the other, non-cognitive model, understanding norms and others and to act accordingly is understood as an embodied, situated, ecological, and enacted know-how. Such knowledge does not imply that people entertain mental states with propositional contents that something is a norm or that someone is in a certain mental state, from which they infer what to do; instead it presupposes certain embodied activities in the context of particular situations in social environments that people together participate in enacting. In this manner of learning by way of participation people can be said to know how to act together in accord to norms even if they do not know that that is what they do and even if they cannot state that an action is normative. This means that people can be understood to have an understanding of norms and each other, and to act accordingly, in circumstances that do not meet the conditions required on the cognitive model.

The first four papers venture the task of developing a non-cognitive model for how to understand how people understand norms and each other, and act accordingly. It is argued that the non-cognitive model is in several respects an imrpovement on the cognitive model.

The last two papers examine, respectively, the claims that meaning and belief are essentially normative in the sense that from some word or expression having meaning and from some mental state being a belief one can directly derive oughts for how to use the word or expression or whether to have, revise, or abandon the belief. Both claims are argued against. Nevertheless, it is argued that at least meaning can be understood to presuppose certain normative properties in patterns of use, such that one can be recognized as a speaker if and only if one can be understood as committing oneslef and to be entitled to certain further claims, and as entitling others to hold one to be so committed and to critize, or commit to, what one is saying depending on whether they reject or accept it. This means that if one is not recognized as committed-entitled to certain claims then one is not recognizable as a speaker––once one is, though, there is nothing in particular that one ought or ought not say. It follows from this normativity claim that there is nothing essentially right or wrong with the use of any expression, but something is recognizable as a meaningful expression if and only if it commits and entitles speaker and hearers to further expressions.
Tilldelande institution
  • Teoretisk filosofi
  • Brinck, Ingar, handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2016 feb. 4
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-87833-67-0, 978-91-87833-66-3
StatusPublished - 2015

Bibliografisk information

Defence details

Date: 2016-02-04
Time: 10:15
Place: Sal B251, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Kiverstein, Julian D
Title: Dr
Affiliation: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Nederländerna


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Filosofi, etik och religion


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