Rule (guideline)

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A rule is a guideline derived from certain regularities, gained from experience and knowledge , stipulated by agreement and binding for a certain area . The word rule appears as a Latin loan word regula, regile around the 9th century in Old High German (from Latin regula "scale, guideline") and was formed in Middle High German to rule, rule . A collection of rules is called a set of rules or regulations .

Examples of this are rules for social behavior ( behavioral norm ), for example traffic rules , behavior or game rules and maxims . Process and communication rules in politics and data transmission are generally referred to as protocol . In the secondary meaning convention , standard , rule denotes an agreement that one should adhere to according to the general opinion.

Sociology and ethics to rules in the sense of guidelines

From a sociological point of view, one often speaks of the reproduction of rules or norms that live on because they are followed . Seen in this way, there is a close connection between the existence of rules and the people who obey them.

Those who stick to the rules don't have to justify themselves (or stay in the race). This is relevant for any kind of competition and assessment of a professional approach. The question of where rules come from or who issues them (and whether they are recognized) is examined by Jean Piaget using the example of the game of marbles (see: “The moral judgment of children”, first chapter). He watches children play and lets them not only explain the rules to you, but also where they come from and whether they can be changed. Piaget attributes the validity and compliance of the rules to the problem of respect for the group and respect for oneself. This idea fits in with Niklas Luhmann's sober statement , for whom moral communication consists in telling the other person the conditions on which one makes the allocation of respect dependent.

In ethics , the special case of laws is known that are presented as valid without anyone having to draw up them. According to Kant, for example , the general moral law is valid a priori for all rational beings.


  • Kathrin Kunkel-Razum (eds.), Anette Auberle: Duden: German universal dictionary. 5th revised edition, Dudenverlag, Bibliographisches Institut & FA Brockhaus AG, Mannheim 2003, ISBN 3-411-05505-7 .
  • Maik Vierling: Anomalies in Organizations. A study of the paradox of rule violations in organizations. Publishing house Dr. Kovac̆, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8300-6449-7 .

Web links

Wikiquote: Rule  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Rule  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Duden: German Universal Dictionary. Keyword rule.