Cristiano Castelfranchi

NeuroNorms: Toward a Non-Reductionist Approach. What to Look for and Not to Look for in the Brain

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We cannot understand how norms work and are socially effective without modeling how norms are represented and work in our minds: how they succeed in giving us goals and regulating our behavior. Neuroscience should not just give us a brain "cartography" of our behaviors and subjective states. In order for neuroscience not to be reductionist, it shouldn't try to "bypass" psychology and its process models but should explain the neural implementation of these mechanisms. There are various and complementary normative attitudes and "minds". So even the brain representation of norms should be in part different. Moreover, I discuss "free will" as a crucial "mental institution". This social assumption and convention is necessary and effective not only as a rule for the ascription of "responsibility" but also because it has a real impact on our conduct and its shaping. The mind in general is an institutional construct, an "as if" entity; and institutions are not external to minds but are mental contents and structures.


  • Psychology of Norms
  • Normative Minds
  • Neuro Reductionism
  • Free Will
  • Mental Institutions


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