The Ontogenetic Foundations of Epistemic Norms

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In this paper, I approach epistemic norms from an ontogenetic point of view. I argue and present evidence that to understand epistemic norms - e.g., scientific norms of methodology and the evaluation of evidence - children must first develop through their social interactions with others three key concepts. First is the concept of belief, which provides the most basic distinction on which scientific investigations rest: the distinction between individual subjective perspectives and an objective reality. Second is the concept of reason, which in the context of science obligates practitioners to justify their claims to others with reasons by grounding them in beliefs that are universally shared within the community. Third is the concept of social norm, which is not primarily epistemic, but provides children with an understanding of norms as collective agreements. The theoretical argument is that all three of these concepts emerge not from just any kind of social interaction, but specifically from social interactions structured by the human species' unique capacities for shared intentionality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • September 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 301 - 315

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1750-0117

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1742-3600

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/epi.2019.50

Citation Source

  • Scopus