Evaluative vs. Deontic Concepts
Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The International Encyclopedia of Ethics
How to Cite
Tappolet, C. 2013. Evaluative vs. Deontic Concepts. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .
- Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
Ethical thought is articulated around normative concepts (see normativity). Standard examples of normative concepts are good, reason, right, ought, and obligatory. Theorists often treat the normative as an undifferentiated domain. Even so, it is common to distinguish between two kinds of normative concepts: evaluative or axiological concepts (from the Latin valores or the Greek axios, both meaning that which has worth), such as good, and deontic concepts (from the Greek deon, meaning that which is binding), such as ought. The basic idea behind the distinction, which is a generalization of the traditional opposition between value and duty, is that there is a difference between terms that are used to assess the worth of things and to express states such as approval or disapproval, on the one hand, and terms that are used to tell us what to do and not to do, on the other.