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Peer Review #1.doc

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Queen's University
Political Studies
POLS 110
Jonathan W Rose

This is a very well explained article written by R. Kenneth Godwin. He clearly distinguishes between normative and empirical statements using clear and easy to understand examples. Both normative and empirical statements are used to study political science. Both these statements may confuse students at times. Simply put, normative statements are value statements or opinions, and empirical statements are facts. In other words, normative statements are what "should or ought" to be like, and empirical statements are "what is." There are no right or wrong answers for normative questions. Another important feature of normative and empirical statements are hypotheses, which is an assertion that empirical evidence can either support or reject. They are one important category of empirical statements. (Godwin) The point of this article is to explain the difference between these two statements, which Godwin does with great accuracy. He uses many examples to explain the difference between the two statements, so it is fair to say that the point was excellently made. I, myself was not entirely sure what both these terms meant before reading this article but was left with no doubts after reading it. The most persuasive part of the article is when Godwin connected normative and empirical statements in logical arguments. He mentions that every time you argue with someone and you both disagree, both of you are making a value judgement. (GodwinBasically, you can summarize your argument with three statements, two normative and one empirical. (Godwin) For example, suppose you and your friend argue over whether schools should teach "intelligent design" as well as evolution. Suppose the question was asked whether a fundamentalist Christian, who rejects the theory of evolution, should be allowed to each biology in public high school. If you answered no, your three statement argument might look like this: 1)I would like it students knew the scientific information conceding how humans evolved. (normative preference) 2)Stu
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