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Descriptive Vs Normalative.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Julia Nefsky

Descriptive Vs Normalative Descriptive Claim: Claim about what is the case Normative Claim: Claim about how things should be. Examples of Descriptive Claims: Whales are fish, Obama is the president of USA Example of Normative Claims: -Eat a lot of leafy greens, It is wrong to break a promise when keeping it is inconvenient They can be true, false or debatable(ie: Salsa vs Ketchup) -Morality is a normative Domain about how things ought to be or how one should act. Normative Epistemic Claims: Claims about what one should believe, how one ought to reason(epistemic = concerning knowledge). Claims about how one ought to reason. Epistemic Claims: Concerns knowledge Moral claims are: a) Normative rather than descriptive: they concern how things outht to be, rather than how things are. b) They are a particular kind of normative claim. Not all normative claims How can we investigate Moral Questions? -Chief tool cannot be experiment or observation -We cannot settle normative questions empirically -We cannot infer normative claim from a purely descriptive claim and cannot go from “is to “ought”. -Psychologu, sociology, anthropology: can describe not only how people behave but also what people believe about how they ought to behave For Example: Sociologists might be able to tell us while 90% of Canadians eat meat, ony 70% beliee that eating meat is morally ok. -But this, by itself, does not tell us if it is morally ok, only what people believe about these topics. -We cannot investigate these questions empirically, but can give arguments that start from uncontroversial and try to reason from them with more controversial claims. What is an argument? Not a fight but propositions justifiying a conclusion, the proposition the argument is trying to establish or justify An argument contains premises and a conclusion, Example: One should not cause tremendous pain just for one’s own amusement. Putting kittings in boiling water causes them tremensndous pain. One should not put kittens in boiling water just for one’s own amusement. Two Ways an Argument can Go Wrong. 1-False premises 2-Falty inferences: moves an argument makes from the premises
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