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norm

norm, authoritative rule or standard by which something is judged and on that basis approved or disapproved. Examples of norms include standards of right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, and truth and falsehood. Several fields of philosophy, especially ethics, aesthetics, and logic, evaluate such rules; in sociology, social and institutional norms, more communal and less formal than laws, are studied in relation to conformity, and to anomie or normlessness. See also Émile Durkheim.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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