1. Of or concerned with the judgment principles of right and wrong in relation to human action and character.  2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.  3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous.  4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.  5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory.  6. Based upon strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than upon the actual evidence: a moral certainty. . . .




  1. Conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality.  2. In accordance with fact, reason, or truth; correct: the right answer.  3. Fitting, proper, or appropriate: It is not right to lie.  4. Most favorable, desirable, or convenient: the right time to act.  5. In a satisfactory state or condition: put things right.  6. Being in good mental or physical health or order.  7. Intended to be worn facing outward or toward an observer: the right side of the dress.  8.  ARCHAIC. Genuine; not spurious. . . . 




  1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.  2. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct.  3. Virtuous conduct.  4. A rule or lesson in moral conduct. . . .




 . . .

14.  a. Of moral excellence; upright: a good man. b. Benevolent; kind: a good soul. c. Loyal; staunch: a good Republican.  15.  a. Well-behaved; obedient: a good child. b. Socially correct; proper: good manners. . . .





A particular use of a term is NORMATIVE when the term is used in a way that has ACTION-GUIDING [PRESCRIPTIVE/ PROSCRIPTIVE] force.  Some terms commonly used normatively are:  ought; duty; obligation; right; wrong; permissible; and forbidden.  When applied to actions, appropriate and inappropriate are typically normative.  [Note that not all NORMATIVE uses are MORAL uses.  For example, ought can be used in a NON-MORAL, PRUDENTIAL sense, as in:  One ought to eat nutritious foods.]


When a term is used normatively, we will call it (in that particular use) a NORMATIVE TERM.



A use of a term is EVALUATIVE when the term is used to express approval or disapproval.  Some terms commonly used evaluatively are:  good; bad; excellent; and awful.  When a term is used evaluatively, we will call it (in that particular use) an EVALUATIVE TERM. 

[Note that EVALUATIVE TERMS can express moral approval or disapproval, but can also express other types of non-moral approval or disapproval (e.g., The statement that apples taste good is a non-moral evaluative statement).]

NORMATIVE/EVALUATIVE STATEMENTS are statements that include at least one NORMATIVE/EVALUATIVE TERM.  For example, moral statements about what one ought or ought not to do (e.g., the statement that one ought not to steal or the statement that one ought to tell the truth) are NORMATIVE, because they contain the NORMATIVE term ought.  [Note that not all normative statements are moral.  See above, for an example of a normative prudential statement.]


PURELY DESCRIPTIVE TERMS are terms that are used in a way that is NOT NORMATIVE and NOT EVALUATIVE.  [Note that almost any term CAN be used normatively or evaluatively, but many terms typically are not.  Can you think of an example?] 


PURELY DESCRIPTIVE STATEMENTS are statements that contain only PURELY DESCRIPTIVE terms (no NORMATIVE or EVALUATIVE terms).  [Normative/Evaluative statements can contain SOME Purely Descriptive terms, but Purely Descriptive statements cannot contain ANY Normative/Evaluative terms.]