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NORMATIVE AND DESCRIPTIVE STATEMENTS

MORAL EDUCATION 1 MR 1351 D PROGRAM PERSEDIAAN IJAZAH SARJANA MUDA PERGURUAN PENGAJIAN CINA AMBILAN JULAI 2010 Tengku Zahiri Tengku Abd Wahab

Normative and Descriptive


V.Grassian (1981) says that attempts to give coherent or logical, systematic and justifiable answers to moral questions are called normative ethics Moral ethics focuses on normative statements which have implications on human behaviour Hence normative statements is a value judgement that is good or bad, wrong or correct,acceptable or unacceptable. Example : Abortion is a normative statement

Normative ethics differ from philosophical studies about morals, which contain a statement on the meaning and logic of moral language (V.Grassian 1981) A normative statement is usually in the form of value judgement There are various types of moral judgements or ethics (W.K Frankena 1973) Moral judgements can be divided into either special or general

In a moral judgements we can say that a certain action or type of action is morally good or bad, correct or wrong, obligatory or non-obligatory, necessary or unnecessary to carry out Such a judgementis called a judgement of moral obligation or deontic judgement We can discuss matters that are not actions nor types of action concerning persons, their motives,aims, behavioural traits or nature

Similarly we can also say there are morally good, bad, virtuous, vicious, responsible, blameworthy, saintly,despicable and so on Evaluation of this sort is called moral value judgement or aretaic judgement

Normative statements : Deontic and Aretaic judgements

Normative statements about deeds/actions

Good/Bad Correct/Wrong Obligatory/Not Obligatory Necessary/Unn ecessary

Judgements of Moral obligation (Deontic judgement)

Normative Statements about people,their motives,aims,b ehaviour/nature

Good/Bad Noble/Wicked Responsible/Bl ameworthy Saintly/Despica ble

Judgements of Moral Values (Aretaic judgements)

Consider this example : The public should not buy and sell shares with the intention of gambling This statement is an example of of deontic judgement because gambling is a matter or practice that is unacceptable in the eyes of the law or religion As people with morals, the public is advised not to buy and sell shares with a desire to gamble but the way and the desire are morally unacceptable

Hence, it is obligatory that we dot not get ourselves involved in gambling An example of a normative statement with aretaic judgement is : A smart investor will not gamble in the buying and selling of shares This statement actually evaluates and discusses the personality of a smart investor, connecting him to the way he invests in the stock market ; that he does not gamble when he engages in share buying-selling activities

We can make assumption that this investor perhaps only deals in strong share counters and that he probably feels more secure and profitable to do so This practice is consideration smart and doest not constitute gambling This statement of aretaic judgement does not touch on a persons obligation, it merely evaluates moral attributes, i.e the non gambling smartness of an investor

Normative statements do not also involve moral value judgements Value judgements of the non-moral domain evaluate matters other than those mentioned earlier They maybe connected with cars,art,experience, forms of government, etc We can say whether these are good or bad, necessary or unnecessary We do not intend to say they are morally good or bad. In other word they are free from moral values

1. Normative Statements with moral judgements


Special Judgement of Moral Obligation (Deontic judgements or obligations) I do not like to despise anyone You need to be a dedicated teacher What Ahmad has done is wrong My father is a kindhearted penghulu He is always responsible in his work You ought to be fined General We need to keep our promise All dictators deceive their people All human beings need the right to freedom A good person does not cheat Jealousy is an ignoble motive Benovelence is a noble quality

Moral Value judgements (Aretaic judgements)

2. Normative statements with non-moral Judgements


Special Judgement of Moral Obligation (Deontic judgements or obligations) You need to be a new pair of shoes You only need to buy tickets for this concert You really should sleep earlier General To make a table, you use nail, not scoth tape A good method is to send troops into the battlefield To answer correctly, candidates must read the questions carefully Pleasure is good in itself Democracy is the best form of government Sweet food is not healthy

Moral Value judgements (Aretaic judgements)

That car is good His life is not happy I did not brush my teeth in the correct way

Apart from normative statements with moral and non-moral judgement, we have just discussed we can identify normative statements which directly affect human behaviour. For example : Wives cannot keep secrets from their husbands; therefore a wife must tell her husband all matters concerning herself We also have normative statements in the form of direction or orders, i.e to direct or order an individual or the public to obey law, e..Parents must be respected

Non Normative statements are known as descriptive statements and they are not concerned with judgement of moral values For example : In Malaysia, reshuffling the cabinet is the prerogative of the Prime Minister This is a descriptive statement which is valueneutral It merely explains a fact pertaining to the situation in Malaysia without any moral judgement It is factual and do not relate to any value judgement

Sometimes we can change a non-normative statement into a normative statement about the same matter as below :
No. Matter Non-Normative Normative

1
2

General Election
Suicide

Fewer people registering as voters


Suicide case has increased

Good citizens must register as voter


Killing oneself as a personal sacrife is permitted Pornography is banned in campus Always obey the orders of your parents

3 4

Pornography Parents

Pornography tarnishes life in campus Parents have authority in the family