Posts Tagged ‘Intentionality’

Social norms and the inevitable drive towards stabilization

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Even though shared intentionality does not presuppose any kind of social norms, there is always and inevitably a drive towards normative stabilization involved in any kind of social activity. Let us consider an example. Imagine you and me regularly meeting for a walk on Sunday afternoons. At first, we just happened to run into each other, we discovered that we had individually together planned to walk the same way, and so it came that we took our walk .
Without there being any kind of agreement between us, the same happened again on the following Sunday. We met at the same time at the same place. Nevertheless, there was still no social normativity involved in our shared intentional activity at that point. No one felt obliged to come again on the next Sunday, or on any of the following Sundays, and no one felt entitled to an explanation from the part of the other if the other did not show up. There was no social normativity involved in our shared intentional activity whatsoever.
Yet on the third or fourth Sunday at the latest depending on circumstances such as the cultural environment and the personality of the participants the situation will have started to change. Under normal circumstances, I will feel obliged to tell you other if I know that I cannot do my part to our shared Sunday afternoon walk, and I will feel entitled to an explanation if all of a sudden, you do not show up at the usual place and time.
Now the shared intentional activity socially normative practice.

The clou of this whole story is the following: Social normativity arises out of shared intentionality. Social normativity does not originally come from some reciprocal ascription of obligations and entitlements, but simply from shared intentionality.

From some old notes
(no original source has been recorded)