chapter  4
31 Pages

Social Animals and Non-Instrumental Norms

ByMark Okrent

Humans and many non-human animals are responsive to organic instrumental norms in a rational way, even if we humans are instrumentally rational to a greater extent than any other creature on earth. This chapter differentiates between teleological-instrumental norms and the prima facie non-instrumental kinds of norms to which humans are also responsive by consistently using 'should' for the instrumental style of normative evaluation and 'ought' for the non-teleological. For humans are primates and descended from a long line of primates, and primates are, by and large, social animals. Ethological studies have shown pretty conclusively that a primate's occupancy of a social position is correlated with acting in accordance with the behavior associated with that position. The differences between humans and the other primates reflect the fact that we humans are sensitive to what might be called a different order of non-instrumental norm than are our primate cousins.