Topic description / abstract:
In this talk, I will layout a research roadmap for understanding some key aspects of human normative cognition. This roadmap aims to clarify the connection between the human psychology for social norms and the emergence of cultural complexity and large-scale cooperation in our species. The talk will be divided into two parts. In the first part, I will propose that this form of norm psychology was the result of the coevolution of ape-like capacities for instrumental rationality and distinctively human capacities for what is known as ‘shared intentionality’. This coevolutionary process allowed the emergence of a capacity to share normative standards with others, but it also led to different forms of normative disagreement. In the second part, I will put forward a research agenda that aims to understand the consequences that the underlying psychology of moral disagreement has for the expansion of cooperation in large, culturally complex societies. Social norms are known to play a key role in the emergence and maintenance of human cooperation. But normative disagreement has destabilizing effects. Here, I put forward two psychological factors that may drive those effects: our metanormative intuitions about the objectivity of normative disagreement, and the carry-over effects that disagreement in a normative domain may have on other social domains.
Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera recently completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Australian National University supervised by Professor Kim Sterelny. He has been Research Student in Professor Yoshiyuki Hirono’s lab at the University of Tokyo and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology under Professor Michael Tomasello’s supervision. He was Writing-Up Fellow at the KLI in 2016. His research focuses on the intersection between biology and psychology, and their philosophical implications. Most of his previous work has been concerned with issues about normative cognition, with a secondary interest in causal and physical cognition. As a KLI Postdoctoral Fellow, he is currently working on normative disagreement and its role in the emergence of large-scale cooperation and cultural complexity in humans.