What Is Normative Science in Philosophy?


Diego Sanchez

Normative science is a branch of philosophy that deals with the study of values, ethics, and morals. It is concerned with how things ought to be rather than how they are. Normative science focuses on evaluating the rightness or wrongness of actions, beliefs, and attitudes based on ethical and moral principles.

The Nature of Normative Science

Normative science is often contrasted with descriptive science. Descriptive science is concerned with the study of how things are in the world, while normative science is concerned with how things should be. For example, descriptive science might study the behavior of animals in their natural environment, while normative science might ask whether it is morally right for humans to use animals for food.

Ethics and Morality

Ethics and morality are two important concepts in normative science. Ethics refers to a system of moral principles that guide behavior.

Morality refers to a set of beliefs about what is right and wrong. Both ethics and morality are concerned with evaluating actions based on their effects on individuals and society as a whole.


Values are another important concept in normative science. Values refer to beliefs or attitudes that an individual or society holds about what is important or desirable. Values can be influenced by cultural norms, religious beliefs, personal experiences, and other factors.

The Importance of Normative Science

Normative science plays an important role in shaping our understanding of what is right and wrong. It helps us evaluate our own behavior as well as the behavior of others. Normative science also provides a framework for making ethical decisions in complex situations.

Examples of Normative Science

There are many examples of normative science in everyday life. Some examples include:

  • Evaluating the ethical implications of new medical technologies
  • Assessing the morality of political decisions
  • Determining the right course of action in a business or legal dispute
  • Examining the values that underlie social norms and cultural practices


In conclusion, normative science is an important branch of philosophy that helps us evaluate our values, ethics, and morals. By examining what is right and wrong, we can make better decisions and live more fulfilling lives. Whether we are evaluating new technologies, making political decisions, or simply interacting with others, normative science provides a valuable framework for understanding our world.