noun[mass noun] Philosophy
The doctrine that the meanings of ethical or aesthetic terms and statements are purely descriptive rather than prescriptive, evaluative, or emotive.
- That's why I don't like the standard distinction between descriptivists and prescriptivists - descriptivism is what you should do when writing a dictionary, prescriptivism when writing a style guide.
- The robust version of descriptive philosophy of science derives from, or superimposes upon, the conclusions of modest descriptivism, a theory about evaluative practice.
- In practice, dictionaries take a middle course between wholehearted descriptivism and prescriptive edicts.
- Example sentences
- It is clear that in rejecting the descriptivist assumption he rejects the conception of the mind as a domain of real ‘processes and states’ which it is the business of a scientific psychology to investigate and tell us about.
- This doesn't show that the expression is not being used emotively in the second premise; a descriptivist can agree to that.
- And the one obvious answer, which is to defer to people who create dictionaries, who are linguistic professionals, runs into the fact that they're almost all descriptivists these days.
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: de|scrip¦tiv|ism
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