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Two Worlds on the Brink of Colliding

Alexander Max Bauer and Malte Ingo Meyerhuber


Many people today may see empirical research (say, e. g., empirical social sciences) and normative theory (say, e. g., ethics) as two distinct fields that either have little to no relation to each other, or which, if they do, seem to be at tension constantly. The conflict both areas experience today, it is argued, can be traced back to certain historical developments, such as the advent of modern sciences. Against this background, some exemplary historical arguments, debates, and developments are highlighted. After that, two positions regarding this relation are elaborated upon more deeply. Lastly, some systemic interdependencies between the two fields are illustrated and potential influences between empirical research and normative theory are explored.

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