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Workshop: Responsibility, norm-psychology, and social cohesion

When:Tu 30-05-2023
Where:Oude Kijk in t Jatstraat 42, Groningen

Recent philosophical work on responsibility and blame, argues that one function of holding people responsible for their acts and decisions is to enhance social cohesion. Blaming sends a message that cultivates moral agency and shared moral awareness, which in turn improves interpersonal relationships. This view is in line with theories from evolutionary anthropology that stress the adaptive function of norm psychology. Norm psychology is widely regarded as a major contribution to evolved mechanisms that enhance social cohesion, and regulate collaboration. These views from philosophy and evolutionary anthropology are in tension, however, with approaches in conflict-resolution studies and therapy, which are critical of blame and fault-finding. Within these domains, blaming is considered to jeopardize communication, damage interpersonal relations as well as personal growth.

This workshop reconsiders to what extent and in what ways our practices of holding each other to norms help secure social cohesion. Can the above three approaches be reconciled? Are there different notions of social cohesion at play, and if so, which? And what might these three disciplines learn from each other?

See the programme for all information.

Everyone is welcome to attend (parts of) the workshop! If you'd like to attend, please email Daphne Brandenburg (d.d.brandenburg