Norm-Supporting Emotions: From Villages to Complex Societies

  • Cristina Bicchieri
  • Erik Thulin


How do socially imposed rules develop into internalized pro-social codes? In the article “From Bodo Ethics to Distributive Justice”, Russell Hardin discusses one of the central themes of his work: How we “export” social order from a small, insular community to a large, anonymous society. In Bodo’s small village, everyone knows everyone else, interactions are face-to-face, and people live relatively isolated from other communities. In this context, the social norms developed by the community are easily enforceable. But what about large, anonymous societies, where monitoring is difficult and costly and sanctioning transgressions carries a greater risk? When unobserved, only someone with an inner motivation to behave in a socially beneficial way will continue to obey the informal rules. How such an inner motivation develops is a topic of debate in moral philosophy and psychology, especially whether pro-social decisions are a matter of rationality or are driven by emotions. Supporters of the emotional drivers of pro-social behavior argue that anger and empathy play an essential role. In this chapter, we will focus on the role of these emotions in compensatory and sanctioning behavior.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Bicchieri
    • 1
  • Erik Thulin
    • 2
  1. 1.Philosophy and Psychology DepartmentsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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