Normative - Tips
In philosophy, normative is usually contrasted with positive
(i.e. descriptive) or explanatory when describing types of theories, beliefs, or
propositions. Descriptive (or constative) statements are falsifiable statements
that attempt to describe reality. Normative statements, on the other hand,
affirm how things should or ought to be, how to value them, which things are
good or bad, which actions are right or wrong.
It is only with David Hume in the 18th century that philosophers began to
take cognizance of the logical difference between normative and descriptive
statements and thinking, although Socrates had emphatically established it more
than two thousand years before. There are several schools of
thought regarding the status of normative statements and whether they can be
rationally discussed or defended. Among these schools are the tradition of
practical reason extending from Aristotle through Kant to Habermas, which
asserts that they can, and the tradition of emotivism, which maintains that they
are merely expressions of emotions and have no rational content.
Normative statements and norms, as well as their meanings, are an integral
part of human life. They are fundamental for prioritizing goals and organizing
and planning thought, belief, emotion and action and are the basis of much
ethical and political discourse.