Difference between Legal and Moral Norms

Legal vs. Moral Norms

What is difference between legal and moral norms? Only an abnormal person can live completely away from others. The isolated man and woman cannot subsist. Their own nature drives them to seek the company of their fellow men. Since each individual comes to the world, he needs the support and protection of his parents and all those around him. Below this post is actually all about the difference between legal and moral norms.

Difference between Legal and Moral Norms

In adulthood, a person cannot meet their needs, nor develop physically and intellectually, but is through their relationship with others. Well said Aristotle: “he who can live only because he is self-sufficient or is a savage or is a god.”

Life in society is the natural condition of people, but that life in society requires an organization and an order; needs to be regulated and regulated, otherwise anarchy and disorder would impede the development of society. To avoid such situations, an order is required and compliance with that order is an obligation.

Among all those regulations by which people seek to regulate behavior, so that everyone can live in peace, without doing harm to others; there are two very important types of norms: legal norms and moral norms. Below we will see the differences between the two.

Legal Norms

They are defined as the set of rules or precepts that are imposed on the behavior of human beings living in society, and whose compliance is usually mandatory in most cases.

They constitute the principle of law, the system by which human acts are ordered so that they conform to the demands and needs of society. The legal norms are subscribed to social characteristics, which all the individuals (or at least most of them) that make up a society, have accepted. But it is added the obligatoriness to get their precepts to be obeyed.

Since such standards are possible to be complied with, certain qualified persons are given the authority to set in motion the coercive apparatus and impose a sanction. But, fundamentally, the main function of any legal rule is to suggest a certain behavior; to try to guide and regulate human activity, as well as to press upon the human conscience the threat of punishment or punishment that must merit any conduct contrary to what has been established by it.

Moral Norms

Just as the law seeks to regulate human behavior, so moral norms are imperative; but to differences of the legal ones; are not mandatory.

The social organization does not rest completely on the law, because morality also intervenes in that purpose. But the perception of the moral is very subjective and has multiple factors to determine what the true moral standard. Some authors argue that moral norms are very difficult to identify and there is very little clarity in determining which norms should be taken as moral. For example: respect parents.

The prescriptions of morality refer only to the conscience of each individual, who violates them is not exposed to any punishment or material pressure, can only incur scorn or rejection on the part of society. Moral norms are spontaneous and have a subjective character, arise from the subject’s own consciousness; so they are unilateral and autonomous.

Key Differences between Legal and Moral Norms

  • The moral norm is subjective, while the legal one is objective.
  • The moral norm is unilateral, but the legal one is bilateral.
  • The moral norm demands an internal behavior, but the legal one demands an external behavior.
  • The moral norm has ideal validity, while the legal one has material value.
  • The moral standard is autonomous, while the legal one is heteronomous.
  • The legal norms require mandatory compliance, but not moral.
  • With moral standards there is no authority to observe its compliance, but in the case of legal ones there is.