A Taxonomy of Rules: Authority, Dangers, and Possibilities

by Friedman, Muriel Rebecca

Abstract (Summary)
Rules, originally a means toward group solidarity, are the alternative to the need for ongoing physical dominance. Seemingly omnipresent in modern life, rules can be overt or subtle, explicit or tacit, rigidly enforced or overlooked. They may clash with our autonomy. This thesis names and explores different functional types of rules: safety, personal, socio-cultural, legal-religious, and technical. Rules in general are discussed from social and ethical theoretical viewpoints and using ideal type methodology. Understanding that there are different types of rules and the authority behind them makes it easier to determine ones obligations to follow them, especially with the notion of prima facie duties. A century after Max Weber wrote of his admiration--and fear--of bureaucratic authority, we should be alarmed at the march toward bureaucratic, algorithmic rule by a rule that, in its attempts toward fairness and certainty, in fact dominates us by turning us into standardized machines rather than thoughtful, intuitive, creative people.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Celia Winkler; Ramona Grey; Dane Scott

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:interdisciplinary studies


Date of Publication:04/28/2009

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