In positivist philosophy, normative is contrasted with its antonym, positive, when describing types of theories, beliefs, or statements. A positive statement is a falsifiable statement that attempts to describe ontology. A normative statement, on the other hand, is a statement regarding how things should or ought to be. Such statements are impossible to prove or disprove, thus forever banishing them from the world of the scientific.
Normative statements are nevertheless an integral part of our lives, in terms of prioritizing our goals, and organizing and planning thought and action. It is often very hard to separate normative from positive propositions.
In standards jargon, normative means "considered to be a prescriptive part of the standard". For example, many standards have an introduction, preface, or summary that are considered non-normative, as well as a main body that is considered normative. "Compliant" is defined as "complies with the normative sections of the standard"; an object that complies with the normative sections but not the non-normative sections of a standard is still considered to be in compliance.
Last updated: 05-16-2005 20:52:30