The Justification of Value Judgments

Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No. 2014/9

36 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by Jaap Hage

Jaap Hage

Maastricht University - METRO Institute

Date Written: February 25, 2014


This article discusses the justification of value judgments. It distinguishes between monological approaches, according to which justification is a single a-temporal argument, and procedural approaches according to which justification is a process stretched out in time, and very often consists of a kind of dialogue between the proponent of a thesis and an audience which the proponent aims to convince. The article uses the procedural approach to elucidate how an argument can be presented in, for example, a scientific paper.

Within the category of monological approaches, a distinction is made between argumentation in the form of a deductively valid argument or at least something similar, and argumentation based on balancing reasons for and against a thesis. Special attention is paid to the issues that arise from the fact that value judgments are supervenient, can be universalized and presuppose a standard which has no truth value. Comparative value judgments, stating that one alternative is better than some other alternative, or even the best, also receive special attention.

Keywords: coherence, dialogue, foundationalism, justification, naturalistic fallacy, reason, universalizability, value judgment, weighing

Suggested Citation

Hage, Jaap, The Justification of Value Judgments (February 25, 2014). Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No. 2014/9. Available at SSRN: or

Jaap Hage (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - METRO Institute ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD

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