Year of Award
Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS)
Department or School/College
Interdisciplinary Studies Program
Celia Winkler, Ramona Grey
business ethics, ethics, rule types, rules, social theory
University of Montana
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 one’s 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.
Friedman, Muriel Rebecca, "A Taxonomy of Rules: Authority, Dangers, and Possibilities" (2009). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 41.
© Copyright 2009 Muriel Rebecca Friedman