Justification Under Uncertainty

41 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012

See all articles by Re'em Segev

Re'em Segev

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 24, 2012


There is a controversy as to the moral status of an action in the face of uncertainty concerning a non-moral fact that is morally significant (according to an applicable moral standard): According to the objective conception, the right action is determined in light of the truth, namely the actual state of affairs (regarding the pertinent fact), whereas according to the subjective conception, the right action depends on the epistemic state of the agent, namely her (justified) belief (concerning the pertinent fact). A similar debate concerns the law, with respect to uncertainty regarding a legally significant fact. In this paper, I argue that moral and legal normative concepts are ambiguous and include two aspects: The ideal aspect, which is concerned with the constitutive feature of the normative standard, and the pragmatic aspect, which determines the correct action under uncertainty. With regard to each aspect, a different conception is appropriate: The objective conception should govern the ideal aspect and the subjective conception the pragmatic aspect. And the relevant aspect (and therefore the appropriate conception) depends on the question under consideration regarding the pertinent normative standard: what is its constitutive feature or whether an action is right (according to the applicable normative standard) in the face of uncertainty.

Keywords: Justification, Moral, Legal, Objective, Subjective, Constitutive, Pragmatic

Suggested Citation

Segev, Re'em, Justification Under Uncertainty (February 24, 2012). Law and Philosophy, Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 523-563, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2143432

Re'em Segev (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905

HOME PAGE: http://en.law.huji.ac.il/people/reem-segev

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics