[From English descriptive: represented in words by reference to actual qualities; derived from Latin describere: to copy off or transcribe.]

  1. (ethics) The view that ethics merely represents or describes how human beings act in real life and that ethics cannot prescribe normative human values. English philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) and Italian political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) are often characterized as descriptivists. The opposing view is prescriptivism.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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