One promising way to investigate the genealogy of norms is by considering not the origin of norms, but rather what makes certain norms more likely to prevail. Emotional responses, I maintain, constitute one important set of mechanisms that affects the cultural viability of norms. To corroborate this, I exploit historical evidence indicating that sixteenth-century etiquette norms prohibiting disgusting actions were much more likely to survive than other sixteenth-century etiquette norms. This case suggests more broadly that research on cultural evolution should pay greater attention to the role of emotion systems in cultural transmission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science