Types of Norms and Kinds of Normativity

The project Types of Norms and Kinds of Normativity has two closely related core themes. The first consists in working out a differentiation between important types of norms (e.g. standards, ideals, instrumental and constitutive norms). Starting with a critical discussion of Henrik v. Wright’s and Herbert Schnädelbach’s typologies of norms, we try to bring out some fundamental problems in classifying norms. As a second step, we aim at solving at least some of these problems. The core claim of this attempt says that a detailed description of various practices of criticizing   each other should be the basis of differentiating kinds of normativity – and thereby types of norms.


The investigations within the second core theme of our project are linked to the differentiations between types of norms and turn to the concept of normativity with the aim of analysing the meaning of this concept in a preferably comprehensive manner. Since the concept of normativity is obviously a theoretical concept without a colloquial fixed meaning, such an analysis must track down its uses in philosophical contexts. This task faces the difficulty of being confronted with possibly too different uses, since the concept of normativity currently plays a prominent role in many, often only loosely connected debates falling within the scopes of practical as well as theoretical philosophy. Hence, these different uses should be worked out and be explicitly distinguished in the first place. At the same time our conceptual work has a systematic perspective and should not end with simply registering different uses. Above all we aim at answering the systematically decisive question whether the concept of normativity in the end disintegrates into several, hardly linked concepts, or whether a sort of basic meaning can be found possibly suited for grounding an instructive continuum of uses.


People in this project:

  • Project director / contact
    • Schmidt, Thomas, Prof. Dr. | Profile
    • Willaschek, Marcus, Prof. Dr. | Profile
  • Project members
    • Koob, Fedja, M.A. (former member) | Profile
    • Reuter, Gerson (former member) | Profile
    • Schütze, Oliver (former member) | Profile

Publications of this project:

  • Maier, Andreas (2011): „Torture. How denying Moral Standing violates Human Dignity“, in: Kaufmann et al. (ed.): Violations of Human Dignity. Springer 2011
    Details | Link to full text
  • Schmidt, Thomas; Parker, Michael (2010): Religion, Theologie und Naturwissenschaft / Religion, Theology, and Natural Science (RThN), Band 20: Pascal Boyer, The Fracture of an Illusion. Science and the Dissolution of Religion, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2010.
  • Reuter, Gerson (2011): Konstitutive Regeln - normativ oder nicht? Ein Blick auf ihre Rolle in Praktiken, Normative Orders Working Paper 03/2011.
    Details | Link to full text | urn:nbn:de:hebis:30-100922
  • Schmidt, Thomas (2010): “Absolutheit und Unbedingtheit. Idealistische und pragmatistische Strategien der Gottesrede”, Philosophisches Jahrbuch, 117. Jg., II/2010, 339-350.
  • Schmidt, Thomas (2010): „Der Sinn von Unbedingtheit. Skizzen zu einem nachmetaphysischen Begriff des Absoluten“, in: Edmund Runggaldier/Benedikt Schick (Hg.), Letzbegründungen und Gott, Berlin/NewYork 2010, 100-114.
  • Schütze, Oliver (2009): Naturalismus und Normativität. In Becker, Alexander; Detel, Wolfgang (Hrsg.): Natürlicher Geist, Beiträge zu einer undogmatischen Anthropologie. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2009, S. 165- 188.
  • Willaschek, Marcus (2012): “Normativität und Autonomie. Über Verpflichtungen als Handlungsgründe”, in Die Welt der Gründe. Proceedings des XXII. Deutschen Kongresses für Philosophie, hg. v. J. Nida-Rümelin und E. Özmen, Hamburg: Meiner 2012, 353-364
  • Willaschek, Marcus (2012): “The Non-Derivability of Kantian Right from the Categorical Imperative: A Response to Nance”, in: International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20-4 (2012), 557-564
  • Willaschek, Marcus (2010): „Disjunctivism (Part 1)“, in: Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 13, 3 (2010) (mit Beiträgen von Fabian Dorsch, Matthew D. Conduct, Matthew Soteriou und John McDowell)


Sense of Doubt. Resisting Oblivion

A scientific-artistic projet of the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" with the video exhibition memórias inapagáveis in the Metzlerpark, Museums Angewandte Kunst. Opening, 10. September 2015, 19 Uhr. For further information and programme: click here...

Trailer of "Sense of Doubt. Resisting Oblivion"

Upcoming Events

7 October 2015, 4pm

"Sense of Doubt. Resisting Oblivion". A scientific-artistic project of the Cluster of Excellence "Normative Orders" with the video exhibition memórias inapagáveis: Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther (Professor of Legal Theory, Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Co-Director of the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders”). Guided tour with the curator. More...

7 October 2015, 5pm

"Sense of Doubt. Resisting Oblivion". A scientific-artistic project of the Cluster of Excellence "Normative Orders" with the video exhibition memórias inapagáveis. Lecture. 
Prof. Dr. Christoph Menke (Professor of Practical Philosophy with a concentration on the Philosophy of Law and Political Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders”). Kunst – Experiment – Leben. More...

7 December 2015, 4.15pm

Protest - Widerstand - Aufstand. Streit um politische Ordnungen

Robin Celikates, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Transnationaler Ungehorsam? Irreguläre Migration als politische Praxis

Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Campus Westend
Seminarhaus SH. 5.101

Presented by:
Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders"

For further information: click here...

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New full-text Publications

Wörsdörfer, Manuel, Hennig, Alicia (2015):

Challenging Voluntary CSR-Initiatives – A Case Study on the Effectiveness of the Equator Principles, Normative Orders Working Paper 01/2015. More...

Günther, Klaus (2014):

Normativer Rechtspluralismus - Eine Kritik, Normative Orders Working Paper 03/2014. More...