Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Norms and Values. The role of social norms as instruments of value realisation

Date: May 8 - 10, 2008

Organizers: Michael Baurmann (Düsseldorf), Geoffrey Brennan (Canberra), Robert Goodin (Canberra)

Values are constitutive for the self-conception of individuals and groups. Identifying with fundamental values generates substantial aims and commitments for social communities and their members. In this context social norms play a central role: they are motivational drivers, aligning people's behaviour with the values it is supposed to serve socially. The central aim of the interdisciplinary workshop was to increase our understanding of how norms manage or fail to realize individual and collective values. The contributions combined the resources of philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, and law. Key topics on a conceptual level included the relations between morality and convention, social norms, sanctions and laws, and between norms of evaluation and norms of conduct. The evolution, efficacy and alteration of norms were discussed from the empirical perspectives of experimental studies, theories of dispositional behaviour, rational choice approaches and simulation models. Finally, contributions on the interplay between individual and social values in the context of collective choices and societal change completed the conference program.

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