Differences Between a Normative and Empirical Theory

There are various theories that attempted to explain and understand various social events and social issues. Two of these theories include the normative and the empirical theories. In order to understand these concepts, it may be best to know their definitions. The normative theory involves the evaluation of things based on the labels of what is good and what is bad. The desirability then of an approach is determined by the observable judgments on its implications.
On the other hand, empirical theory involves the use of observations according to concrete evidence so that things can be explained with accuracy and precision. One of the most important applications of the normative and empirical theory is on the rule making aspect of a democracy. According to Craig, there “may be different models of democracy”. However, in our society, we are often confused with the normative and empirical aspects of democracy.
As regards democracy, one can still say that in order to achieve the true essence of a democratic community, the empirical approach is at most desirable. It is not enough that the precepts proposed by the concept of democracy dictates how and to what extent we achieve democracy. Rather, it is important that we also rely on empirical data and concrete evidence to determine how and to what extent the proposed democratic policies can affect the lives of the people who believe in the concept of democracy.

Historical data proves that mistakes as regards democracy involved the normative theory of democracy wherein our leaders tend to have been swayed and decided only in accordance with what democracy should and ought to be rather on what the community actually needs and the state of things. In the normative theory, it is often the aim to evaluate things rather than explain things. In this regard, it is often the case that under the normative theory, concrete actions are not determined in order to resolve issues.
This is not true in case of the empirical theory because by more than just evaluating things, explaining the various social phenomenons enables our leaders to create deeper understanding of things so that it can be resolved according to democratic principles. Democratic theory is empirically desirable as much as it allows the people to explain things so that they can freely act on it. The democratic set up is best for the community because it allows people to, individually create an evaluation and understanding of things by trying to explain the root causes of the problems.
In addition, under the concept of democracy, it is best that decisions be based not only on the basis of what is best for a certain group but for the whole community. The practice of democracy should not cause to undermine other democratic rights of others. This is commonly what is reflected in the United States politics because specific policies especially on wars are now reflections of the voice of the people, or a product of free deliberations to determine their applicability and reasonableness.
It is unfortunate to think that the democratic principles are now tainted with the long stretch of power of politics and officialdom. Many our seemingly democratic leaders, neglect democratic end in exchange of their personal intentions. We should not forget that a true democratic government is a government for the people, by the people and of the people. The centralization of government especially of decision making does not reflect the true nature of a democratic state.

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