Fusion of Descriptive and Normative Propositions. The Concepts of ‘Descriptive Proposition’ and ‘Normative Proposition’ as Concepts of Degree

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I introduce the concept of ‘fused descriptive and normative proposition.’ I demonstrate that and how this concept has a basis in reality in lawyers' propositions de lege lata, and I point out that and why we do not find fused modality in language qua language, morals and the relationship between parents and children. The concept of ‘fused descriptive and normative proposition’ is of interest in a number of contexts, inter alia in relation to law, cf. the debate about the status of lawyers' propositions de lege lata (“exactly what kind of propositions are lawyers' propositions about what is the law?”), and in relation to philosophy, cf. the debate about the relationship between ‘the is‘ and ‘the ought.’ As a consequence of the reality basis and interest of this concept, I see the concepts of ‘descriptive proposition’ and ‘normative proposition’ as the extreme points on a graduated dimension, from the purely descriptive to the purely normative.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9337.00154

Affiliations: University of Oslo, Department of Public and International Law, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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