chapter  1
20 Pages

Constitutive, Prescriptive, Technical, or Ideal? On the Ambiguity of the Term “Norm”

WithSara Heinämaa

The chapter starts by pointing out that the terms “normative” and “norm” operate in several different senses in contemporary phenomenology. It distinguishes between three main contexts in which these terms are used today: first, analyses of the basic structures of intentionality; second, investigations of interested perception and the dynamics of appearing; and third, discussions of the experiential grounds of ethics. In these three contexts, the terms “norm” and “normative” are used in different meanings and with different connotations. The basic ideas of regulation, rule-following, and correctness are implied by all usages, but the types of rules and the types of correctness at issue vary. In order to organize the field, the chapter distinguishes between six different and mutually irreducible senses of the term “norm” and identifies several ambiguous usages in which these senses conflate. The chapter ends by suggesting a practical solution for the specification of phenomenological discourses on normativity.