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Norms

(2,005 words)

Author(s): Michaels, Axel | Alexy, Robert | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Social norms are the interiorized but controlled rules of conduct of a social group. They include rules and standards for decency and mores, that is, for religious, moral, and right behavior. Unlike ideals or values, norms are mostly specific and concrete. There are various theories of the meaning of norms; most widely accepted is the thesis that norms serve the development of social controls and group solidarity or cultural identity. Validity is generally claimed for religious and moral norms by appeal to a religious authority (gods, saints), to history or tradition (Ancestors, forefathers), or to their universality (Natural law, Human rights) For some, norms are binding because it is God’s will (theo­nomic moral positivism); for others, because they have been promulgated by human beings, such as kings (anthroponomic moral positivism). The theological and philosophical basis of norms…