Philosophical Topics

Volume 50, Issue 1, Spring 2022

Inferentialism on Naturalized Grounds

Bernhard Weiss
Pages 55-82

From Tools to Rules
The Evolution of Rule Following

The paper is interested in likely routes for the evolution of normative practice, which, it is here assumed, is a necessary precursor to the development of language. It argues that each normative practice requires a policing practice, consisting of, at least, moves of commendation, condemnation, and retraction, and it contrasts policing with mere monitoring practice. So the evolution of norms can be seen to be the development of policing from mere monitoring practice. It conjectures that a likely site for such a development to take place is in the active transmission of technology, notably, toolmaking technology. Using data and observations drawn from the archaeological record and the psychology of mimicry, it attempts to illustrate the likely emergence of policing practices.