What Is Normative Approach?

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In the vast landscape of philosophy, ethics, and social sciences, various approaches exist to examine and analyze human behavior, values, and norms. One such lens through which scholars and thinkers explore moral and social issues is the normative approach. In this blog post, we will delve into the essence of the normative approach, its key principles, and its significance in shaping ethical frameworks and societal standards.

What Is Normative Approach?

The normative approach is a philosophical and ethical perspective that seeks to establish norms, standards, or guidelines for human behavior. Unlike descriptive approaches that focus on describing or explaining observed behavior, the normative approach is prescriptive in nature. It aims to determine what ought to be, offering a framework for evaluating actions, decisions, and societal structures based on a set of principles or values.

Key Principles Of The Normative Approach:

  1. Prescriptive Nature: The normative approach is inherently prescriptive, providing recommendations or directives on how individuals and societies should behave. It addresses questions of morality, ethics, and values, suggesting what is right or wrong.
  2. Moral Standards: Central to the normative approach is the establishment of moral standards. These standards serve as a guide for individuals and communities to navigate ethical dilemmas and make principled decisions.
  3. Universal Principles: Normative theories often aspire to articulate universal principles that apply across cultures and contexts. While recognizing cultural diversity, these principles aim to identify fundamental moral truths that transcend specific circumstances.
  4. Ethical Evaluation: Normative frameworks are employed to ethically evaluate actions, policies, and societal structures. They provide a basis for judging the moral merit of choices and behaviors.

Examples Of Normative Approaches:

  1. Deontology: Deontological ethics, associated with philosophers like Immanuel Kant, is a normative approach that emphasizes the inherent moral value of certain actions, regardless of their consequences. It posits that some actions are intrinsically right or wrong based on universal principles.
  2. Consequentialism: Consequentialist theories, such as utilitarianism, fall under the normative approach by asserting that the morality of an action is determined by its outcomes. The focus is on maximizing overall happiness or well-being.
  3. Virtue Ethics: Virtue ethics, rooted in the works of Aristotle, takes a normative stance by emphasizing the development of virtuous character traits. It suggests that individuals should strive to embody virtues such as courage, honesty, and compassion.

Significance Of The Normative Approach:

  1. Moral Guidance: The normative approach provides individuals and societies with a moral compass, offering guidance on how to make ethical decisions and navigate complex moral landscapes.
  2. Policy and Governance: Normative theories influence the development of laws, policies, and governance structures. They shape societal expectations and standards for just and fair practices.
  3. Ethical Discourse: The normative approach fosters ethical discourse, encouraging discussions about values, principles, and the foundations of moral reasoning. It contributes to a deeper understanding of ethical dilemmas and challenges.
  4. Personal Development: On an individual level, the normative approach can serve as a tool for personal development, prompting individuals to reflect on their values, make principled choices, and cultivate virtues.


The normative approach, with its emphasis on prescribing moral standards and guiding ethical decision-making, plays a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of what is right, just, and virtuous. As individuals and societies grapple with complex ethical questions, the normative approach provides a framework for thoughtful reflection and principled action, contributing to the ongoing dialogue about the foundations of morality and the pursuit of a just and ethical world.


What Is The Meaning Of Normative Approach?

The Normative Approach is a value based approach to building communities, based on the assumption that all people have a need to belong, want to have a sense of purpose, and want to experience success.

What Is The Normative Approach To Political Theory Answer?

While empirical political theory is concerned with ‘what is,’ normative political theory is concerned with ‘what ought to be. ‘ In other words, normative political theory is concerned about how the world should be and focuses on the exploration of values and what should be done based upon those values.

What Is Meant By Normative Theory?

normative theory Hypotheses or other statements about what is right and wrong, desirable or undesirable, just or unjust in society. The majority of sociologists consider it illegitimate to move from explanation to evaluation.

What Are The Characteristics Of Normative Approach?

The normative approach to political science begins with a set of principles or norms in mind and examines political reality in light of those principles or norms. It comes at politics firmly attached to a point of view and generally seeks to argue from that point of view.

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