Changing Normative Textures How Discourse-Ethics Meets the Challenge of Historicism

  • Matthias Kettner
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP)


Normative theories in philosophical ethics rarely invest much effort into scrutinising the very idea of a norm. Norms are usually conceived of as rules with some sort of prescriptive force, or as action guides whose actionorienting content is open to inspection and to some measure of reflective control. Underlying such surface variations in the received view of a norm is a tendency to regard norms as kinds of templates (mental, physical, or otherwise) of performance, resident in agents. Norms are thought to be what determines unilaterally what kinds of thought or action accord with them. They are alleged to guide practice while themselves being independent of the practice they guide and hence without being modified by the practice to which they are taken to be applied. This tendency to view a norm as an isolate locus of unilateral determination is epitomised in the not uncommon view of “principles” as highly abstract norms which determine, but are not determined by, whatever it is that they are held to be principles of. The philosophical elaboration of the common view of norms as templates has led to many perplexities among which is perhaps most conspicuous the question of how there can be evaluation, justification, and rectification of such unilaterally determining entities.


Business Ethic Moral Judgement Moral Responsibility Moral Reason Discourse Ethic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

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  • Matthias Kettner

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