The Ontogenetic Foundations of Epistemic Norms
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.
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