Development is guided by multiple norms, and further normativities emerge in development. This should be a commonplace observation – after all, it characterizes the core dialectic of developmental processes – but normativity is instead a perplexing and sometimes desperately ignored aspect of development. I will address some reasons why normativity is so perplexing, reasons that begin with Parmenides, and, therefore, that have a rather long history. Within the framework of that historical and conceptual diagnosis of the problem, I explore a model of the emergence of normativity. Finally, I will illustrate with several examples of emergent normativity in learning and development.
These emergent normativities include the normativity of truth and falsity that constitute representation and the – so I argue – related instrumental normativity of motivation, that of success and failure that guide learning, and the positivity and negativity of emotions. Within that outlined framework, I show how higher level motivations, such as curiosity, aesthetic motivation and competence motivation, emerge.
Studies of the mind and person – including psychology, including especially developmental psychology – suffer from a problematic conceptual framework that stems from the pre-Socratics, has dominated Western thought since that time and that makes fundamental theoretical understanding, especially regarding the mind and persons, impossible. I will outline this problematic framework, and show how it renders the normativity of mind and development naturalistically inscrutable. I begin with Parmenides.