AbstractThe fruitfulness and the necessity of the distinction between values and norms and as principles are investigated by way of the theory of political development, the legal philosophical issue surrounding natural law and positivism and the views of Habermas. In political developmental theory questions centring on value gained legitimate relevancy under the influ ence of the post-behaviorist approach. The quest for cultural universalia or values as principles became important in this sphere because it seems to be the only way to escape from the syndrome of modernity. Through the rejection of the oppositions and one-sidedness of legal positivism and natural law and with the aid of the distinction between values, norms and principles the productive contribution of this spurious dilemma is high lighted and a clearer delineation is given of the concepts legal develop ment and structural violence. In conclusion Habermas's distinction between norms and meta-norms is investigated critically and immanent contradictions in his views are pointed out. The central place which this issue has in his thought can be seen as a confirmation of the importance of this distinction. It is relevant for all the normative disciplines which - in contrast to the natural sciences - focus on the role of linguistic, social, ethical, legal and artistic norms valid for human societies.
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