The distinction between rms and facts is long-standing in providing a challenge for psychology. Norms exist as directives, commands, rules, customs and ideals, playing a constitutive role in human action and thought. Norms lay down 'what has to be' (the necessary, possible or impossible) and 'what has to be done' (the obligatory, the permitted or the forbidden) and so go beyond the 'is' of causality. During two millennia, rms made an essential contribution to accounts of the mind, yet the twentieth century witnessed an abrupt change in the science of psychology where rms were typically either excluded altogether or reduced to causes. The central argument in this book is twofold. Firstly, the approach in twentieth-century psychology is flawed. Secondly, rms operating interdependently with causes can be investigated empirically and theoretically in cognition, culture and morality. Human development is a rm-laden process.
Leslie Smith is Professor Emeritus, Lancaster University and is currently based in the Lake District as a freelance researcher. Jacques Voneche is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Geneva and Director of the Archives Jean Piaget.