Prescriptive and Descriptive Arguments

Descriptions “describe”—they depict the “what is” of a statement. Prescriptions “prescribe”—they express the “what ought to be” of a statement. When approaching controversial or emotionally charged subjects, critical thinkers are mindful of the different roles that facts and values play in people’s judgments and the different roles they play in different kinds of judgments. This assignment will help deepen your understanding of those distinctions.

To see how an issue can be approached using a descriptive or prescriptive argument, review these examples. Descriptive and prescriptive arguments are considered in the lecture pages for Module 3.

Based on your understanding of descriptive and prescriptive arguments, respond to the following:

  • Identify a topic of interest for which arguments of different perspectives can be created.
  • Construct one original descriptive argument and one original prescriptive argument for the topic you select.
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