Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Normative Statements are not Objective or Subjective

The statements which express moral, political, and aesthetic ideals are neither subjective nor objective—they are normative. The subjective statements represent the matters of personal taste and feelings; for example: “I like black coffee,” “The political situation makes me feel sad,” “Modern art is rubbish.” The objective statements are logical and descriptive; for example: “The dog is barking,” “2+2=4,” “Lenin was the founder of the Soviet Union." The normative statements are the statements of value—they are not verifiable and it is impossible to connect them to personal states of the mind; for example: “Liars are sinners,” “Honesty is the best policy,” “Capitalism is better than socialism,” “Rembrandt was a great artist.” The quest of the philosophers, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, to develop a fully-rational (based on an entirely objective criteria) system of morality, politics, and art has proved to be a spectacular failure because it was based on a misunderstanding of the nature of normative statements. Where do normative statements come from? It is hard to say with certainty, since normative statements are a part of the religious, philosophical, and cultural knowledge of mankind whose origin can be traced to the ancient and the prehistoric times.

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