Sunday, April 28, 2013

normative and descriptive

Normativity ("ought" statements, as contrasted with descriptive "is" statements) is nothing more than an expression of desire with regard to a particular state of affairs, that one would like that state of affairs to be X as often as possible, as opposed to the W, Y, Z, and maybe imperfectly, inconsistently X, that it is. Normativity is a complaint. When spoken, the purpose is to externalize the impetus for action, with oneself as a starting point. Normativity means using ideas to make the world more to one's liking, however valid that liking may be. The self is always right.

Even those of us who warn against narrative use it. Anti-narrative is narrative. We just want to use it in a way that's not primarily self (or own-group) serving. We want to make the descriptive normative.

Descriptive statements happen when we don't care, or pretend not to.

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