Normative Debates

  • Frames

A normative debate is an informal thing that nurses coherence to remain between a dynamic community’s ethos and its formal regulation. Economic argument is an organic part of normative debates, but not the only one. The law and the moral values and the communication infrastructures that are nursed in a community are organic parts too. Normative debates rest on what is considered to be true, but lead to what is considered right. They contribute to any form of institutional decision making, be it legislative (e.g., in parliaments), scientific (e.g., peer review), economic (e.g., price setting) or social (e.g., by joining⁄leaving⁄fighting⁄supporting a community’s mission). In such debates four different value types (solidarity/identity, order/security, wealth/capabilities, independence/access to knowledge) are concurrently evaluated. This inclusive evaluation is essential for an institution’s fitness. With growing specialization, normative debates tend to become elitist affairs and their institutions can then only be sustained when trusted not to be (used as) a source for corruption. Both individual and institutional agents take part in several, diverse normative debates and thus have to take these institutions’ cultures (or thought styles) seriously. Concurrently so.