Humans, it is often claimed, are rational, linguistic, cultural, or moral creatures. What these characterizations may all have in common is the more fundamental claim that humans are normative animals, in the sense that they are creatures whose lives are structured at a fundamental level by their relationships to norms. The various capacities singled out by talk of rational, linguistic, cultural, or moral animals might then all essentially involve an orientation to obligations, permissions, and prohibitions. And, if this is so, then perhaps it is a basic susceptibility or proclivity to normative or deontic regulation of thought and behaviour that enables humans to develop the various specific features of their life form. This volume of essays investigates the claim that humans are essentially normative animals in this sense.
The Normative Animal? On the Anthropological Significance of Social, Moral and Linguistic Norms - Foundations of Human Interaction
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