The normative/descriptive distinction in methodologies of business ethics
Attacking the traditional claim instigated by David Hume that there is a clear distinction between facts and values, or the descriptive and the normative, Werhane argues that this distinction between descriptive—or, what is—and normative—or, what ought to be—is misleading. In business ethics, at least, not only do these two concepts themselves overlap, but also the language in which we refer to these positions also frequently overlaps. Descriptive or behavioral business ethics has normative intent, and normative business ethics depends on descriptive case analyses for their subject matter. Thus, there is an interdependence between behavioral and normative business ethics that is sometimes ignored in the academic literature.Original publication: Werhane, Patricia H. "The Normative/Descriptive Distinction in Methodologies of Business Ethics." Business Ethics Quarterly, (1994) 4: 175–180. ©1994 Reprinted with permission.
Werhane, P. (2019)., The normative/descriptive distinction in methodologies of business ethics, in D. Bevan & R. W. Wolfe (eds.), Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 21-25.
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