Normativity as ‘parasitic’ behavior

We need to tackle the following issues properly if we want to get a handle on normativity and its relation to a configuration of learning.

1.1. Normativity cannot be the product of ethical learning. If it were that, say, by being a biological inheritance, then normative thinking would be the form of all ethics and my claim is that it is not so.

1.2. Nevertheless, we need to explain the success of the normative mode of thinking. That is, almost all aspects of human existence appear susceptible to the process of ‘norming’ and this process is also capable of expressing our ethical judgments about issues. This suggests that normativity exemplifies a ‘parasitic’ behavior: it can infect different learning process and their products. Put differently: it is capable of piggybacking upon different learning processes.

1.3. Normativity itself (i.e. the process of norming) must be the product of some or another learning process. Let us call that the ethical learning. It must, however, be the product of this learning process in a special set of circumstances. So, one possible hypothesis will go in the following direction: when ethical learning is exercised in the presence of some religion or another, the process of norming comes into existence. It can then spread deep and wide as long as the conditions that constitute (or define) the special set continue to exist or obtain.

1.4. For norming to ride piggyback upon other learning processes, normativity must be indifferent to the content of the products of the learning processes. In other words, it must have a very formal characteristic. Yet, this formal characteristic ends up distorting the product of those learning processes it rides piggyback on.

1.5. Subsequent to this, we can find out how and where it is located in the configuration of learning and the mechanisms of its reproduction. I do think that Law plays a very important role in the process of enabling normativity to ride piggyback or in enabling it to spread wide and deep. How it does this, is something I have some idea about but I need to give it more thought than I have given it so far.

2. I think that deriving normativity directly from an EI account that religion is fails. In fact, because of this, it will become difficult to relate normativity to a configuration of learning. Religion and a normativity derived from it will have to shown to bring about a configuration of learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *