Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Professor S. Najm
The purpose of this essay is to analyse the problem of the rational justification of value judgments. To a large extent, I have used Taylor's account of the technique of justification (verification, validation, vindication, and rational choice of a way of life), as this is presented in his book, Normative Discourse. To a lesser extent, I have also used Baier's account of the technique of validation, as it is presented in his book, The Moral Point of View.
I have attempted to show that it is possible to justify value judgments, despite the logical dichotomy between factual statements and evaluative statements. 'Justification' is taken as proof of correctness: that is, a statement is said to be justified if it is proven to be correct. On Taylor's technique, justification is possible, although only incompletely so. It is possible to prove that a value judgment is the correct one to make from within the perspective provided by a given way of life. Justification cannot be complete since the adoption of the perspective cannot be justified. On Baier's technique of validation, complete justification can be achieved: once it has been shown that an evaluatum meets the criteria in terms of which it was judged, and that these criteria are relevant (valid) for judging that object since the object must meet these criteria in order effectively to realize its purpose, nothing more needs to be shown. Although Baier's account allows for complete justification while Taylor's allows for only incomplete justification, Baier's account cannot be used to replace that of Taylor. They are appropriate in different contexts. While Baier's account of validation is appropriate for judgments of use-value, Taylor's account is appropriate for value judgments other than those of use-value. Accordingly, justification is possible using either technique, although complete justification may be possible only in the context of judgments of use-value.
Hartley, Ross Morley, "The Problem of the Justification of Value Judgments With Reference to the View of Taylor, in Normative Discourse" (1975). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 518.