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Applied Discussion 1: Normative & Descriptive Claims

In this Module, you have learned the difference between normative claims and descriptive claims. This is an extremely important distinction to make, as we will rely on this distinction throughout the course. Before we move on to learning about and discussing a wide range of ethical theories, I'd like you to master this distinction. In your initial post, you must do the following:

  1. Give an example of a normative claim and explain why it is a normative claim.

  2. Give an example of a descriptive claim and explain why it is a descriptive claim.

Option 1

An example of a normative claim is: “If you wanted to pass the exam, you should have studied harder.” This clearly represents a normative claim due to the fact that it is making a value judgment by implying that having put more effort into studying would have generated a higher score on the test. On the other hand, an example of a descriptive claim would be – “Paul is under 5 feet tall”; this clearly represents a descriptive claim because it is a promptly shared intuition of the facts of this case. It is presenting an explanation of how Paul is which signifies the notion of a descriptive claim.

Option 2

A claim is a statement that could be true or false. A claim can fall into two categories: a descriptive claim or a normative claim. A Descriptive claim says something about what is or what could be and it doesn't involve a value judgment. An example of a descriptive claim can be, "Maria is wearing high heels" because is asserting what is and not what ought to be. A normative claim is making assertions about what something is ought to be and cannot stand on its own without consideration. An example of a normative claim can be "Maria should not wear high heels to go to the park" because is referencing other values like what people should do or what ought to be the case.

Option 3

The following is a normative claim:

If you want to get a raise at work then you should show your managers that you are dedicated to your work.

This is a normative claim because showing work ethic to your managers should influence them to want to give you a raise, but this is not always how it works. Some managers just might not personally like you and this bias could cause you not to get a raise despite your obvious dedication to your job.

The following is a descriptive claim:

The ulna bone in the arm is aligned with the pinky finger in humans.

This is a descriptive claim because it describes how something is in the world. In the anatomy of humans, the side of the arm that the ulna is on is the same side as the pinky.

Option 4

Normative claims are statements that asserts something that could be either true or false. In addition, normative claims express how the world ought to be according to a person's judgemental value.


Death penalty should be legal in countries with high rate of crimes and violence.

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is the best trilogy of all time.

The descriptive claims is an assert that Such and Such IS the case, describing specifically why IS the way it is or how world is in reality.


I had pancakes and coffee this morning

My height is 5'9 feet tall

I am 24 years old.

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