Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Egdar Morscher"

Titel: The Descriptive-Normative Dichotomy and the So Called Naturalistic Fallacy
Autor: Egdar Morscher
Seite: 317-337

Investigating the genesis and justification of norms in a theoretical way requires a clear-cut distinction between normative and descriptive discourse. From a philosophical perspective, the descriptive-normative dichotomy can itself be understood either in a descriptive (or ’reportive’) or in an normative (or ’stipulative’) way. In the first case such a dichotomy is understood as the factual border between descriptive and normative discourse in a given language; exploring this border is a hermeneutic enterprise. In the other case it is understood as a boundary between descriptive and normative discourse to be implanted in a language which is developed in order to fit certain purposes, in particular theoretical purposes; this implanting procedure is a matter of regimentation. In this paper I will deal shortly with the first question of hermeneutics and then in more detail with the second question of regimentation. In the final part of the paper I will distinguish different types of naturalistic fallacies resulting from disregarding descriptive-normative dichotomies.

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