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#N003: Three Different Categories of Norms

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4/23/2014 4:00:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Richard Joyce describes three categories of norms in "The Myth of Morality." A fourth one has been suggested by others, but I will not talk about the additional one here, provided that it may cause confusion.

They are the categorical, hypothetical and institutional.

Categorical norms: They are completely external to the desires, objectives and institutional commitments of an agent.

Hypothetical: They are conditional and based on one's desires and aims. For instance, "If I want to relieve myself from pain, I should take my medication" whereby taking medication is means to relieve yourself from pain; a particular end.

Institutional: Given by an institution of some sort and affecting individuals with a commitment to such institution. For instance, when playing basketball in an officially-held tournament, it would be unethical to have a defense player sit on the basket, although that wouldn't be unethical if you do it alone in your backyard.