On Normative Order

Neil MacCormick

in Institutions of Law

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780198267911
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191714832 | DOI:

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

 On Normative Order

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This chapter argues the importance of understanding the idea of normative — the idea is of our having ways to differentiate right from wrong in what we do, of having common or overlapping conceptions of what one ought to do in various recurring situations. Human beings are norm-users, whose interactions with each other depend on mutually recognizable patterns that can be articulated in terms of right versus wrong conduct, or of what one ought to do in a certain setting. Understanding this use of norms precedes understanding any possibility of deliberately creating relevant norms that are to become patterns for behaviour. However, deliberate creation of norms also occurs. Norm-usage can acquire a more formal character, indeed, can become ‘institutionalized’. To understand this is to understand the transition into institutional normative order, and thus law.

Keywords: law; normative order; institutionalization; norm-usage; conduct

Chapter.  5389 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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