CCEA The Emergence and Evolution of Social Norms
The Project
Science has now moved from an Age of Reductionism to an Age of Emergence. Robert Laughlin

University of Bucharest. Department of Philosophy

204 Splaiul Independentei Sector 6, Bucharest 060024 Phone: +40 21 318 15 56, +40 21 318 29 74 Fax: +40 21 318 52 89

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Evolution and The Theory of Games
Evolution and The Theory of Games
Freedom Evolves
Freedom Evolves
Governing the Commons
Governing the Commons
Natural Justice
Natural Justice
The Evolution of Cooperation
The Evolution of Cooperation
The Grammar of Society
The Grammar of Society
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The Project

The study of norms has always been a major field of philosophical reflection. But, especially over the last twenty years, the development of the evolutionary games theory has provided researchers with a conceptual and theoretical toolkit that was inaccessible to the traditional moral philosopher. Our project aims to contribute to the contemporary critical debate over the attempts to model the emergence of interaction norms in an evolutionary fashion. Our theoretical approach follows three main research directions. 

First, we will contribute to the critical analysis of the logical and conceptual presuppositions that underlie recent evolutionary models of norm emergence. 

Secondly, the project aims to investigate and classify the contemporary developments in social sciences that make use of such models. Our hypothesis is that we witness one of the rare moments of convergence in the history of science when political theorists, moral philosophers and social scientists have at their disposal the same set of theoretical instruments and obtain complementary results.

Thirdly, the project tries to explore the philosophical implications of the possibility to achieve a rigorous model of norm emergence in the context of dynamic and complex interactions such as those that take place in virtual environments.

Main Hypotheses

The main hypotheses of our project is that evolutionary approaches to norms provide the conceptual framework for the convergence of developments in various social sciences. A number of subordinate questions and hypothesis stem from this general notion:

  • the functionalist explanations of norms, coupled with the use of evolutionary modeling, make possible the revival of a Humean approach in meta-ethics;
  • the reconstruction of the concepts of rationality and emergence assumed by evolutionary models has profound implications for the development of a integrative project  for the epistemologies of different social sciences;
  • the virtual interactions and computerized simulations provide a hoped-for testing ground for theories which try to account for the structure and results of real-life interactions between human agents;
  • the formal models of the evolutionary approaches to norms yield fruitful and often surprising applications in practical fields such as the management of ethics in organizations, organizational culture, security studies or the understanding of virtual communities.

Published at 18.11.2010
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University of Bucharest. Department of Philosophy
Project financed by CNCSIS, code TE_61, no 22/2010
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