ENV222: Jan 9, 2014.
Analytical vs Prescriptive Arguments
• Analytical arguments are framed by facts, while prescriptive arguments are framed by
• Analytical arguments are framed into “are” or “is” statements, while prescriptive
arguments are framed into “ought” statements. Arguments about what “is” the cause
versus what “ought” to be done given the analytical argument.
• In school we tend to focus on analytical arguments (empirical facts) where the rest of the
world runs on prescriptive arguments (The news has a way of tying values to the
empirical facts in order to judge what we should do).
Carl Folke vs the Economist Magazine
• Folke argues that the government can solve the issues and must intervene but with
• The economist (right wing liberal views) argues that the market with fix itself and
vouches for less state intervention
• Prof. MacDonald agrees with Folke however the market must also be involved in the
solution thus we need to tackle changing both the state and the market economy in
order to come up with a viable long term solution
Environmental Problems are Tied to Human Problems
• The two are interchangeable ie) poverty – the solution to poverty is also w