Meaning of Positive science : Positive science mainly explains ‘what is’. It deals with things as they are and explains causes and efforts without making value judgements whether it is right or wrong. In other words, Positive science only describes things as they actually are. It is concerned with the actual. It deals with theoretical aspects. Thus positive science may be called as pure science.
Meaning of Normative Science : Normative science is concerned with “what ought to be or should be”. It is concerned with the ideals. It explains whether a thing is good or bad. It lays down policies and rules to achieve what is considered to be good. It evaluates the things. Thus normative science may be called as applied science. For example, when we analyze the causes for poverty, Economics becomes a Positive science. But if we discuss whether poverty is good and what policies should be followed to remove poverty, Economics is a Normative science.
Is Economics A Positive Or Normative Science?
According to Robbins and his followers, Economics is a Positive science and therefore neutral between ends. The economists is not concerned with whether the ends are good or bad. The economist should only say what consequences are likely to follow with certain actions. He should not say whether these actions are desirable or not. For example, Economists should simply say that wine satisfies a human want and therefore it has utility. But he should not say that drinking of wine is bad or good. But now-a-days the practical utility of subject has increased considerably. Economist speaks also about what is good and what is bad. Thus, Economics is both a positive and science.