Where Law and Order Start: The Genesis of Boundaries and Norms

Journal of Moral Education 11 (2):101-111 (1982)
Abstract This paper deals with the asymmetrical manner in which people perceive norms: sometimes these are seen as mere restraints, and sometimes??from a higher viewpoint??they can be seen as constituent elements in the structure of a group. A model of this is offered from ethology??the process of boundary stabilization in a nesting colony of gulls. Symbolic activity is often associated with such boundaries and this too has a two?level appearance. The creative achievement of language is discussed. A parallel is then elaborated (using a passage from Michael Polanyi) between the work of a scientist (who articulates in language the working principles of natural phenomena) and that of a judge (who articulates the hidden tensions, principles and values at work in human society). Polanyi's account of tacit and explicit knowledge is then seen to be similar to Ronald Dworkin's view of the judicial process. This is in marked contrast to the still popular ?positivist? view of law. An educational corollary is important: that extensive practical experience of the processes of order, in family, school etc., is an essential precondition for any theoretical discussion of values, principles or rules
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DOI 10.1080/0305724820110205
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References found in this work BETA
Michael Polanyi (1958). Personal Knowledge. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Michael Polanyi (1975). Meaning. University of Chicago Press.
T. S. Kuhn (1980). The Essential Tension. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):359-375.

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