Cognitivism and Non-Cognitivism Approaches in Legal Realm

13 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015

See all articles by Suman Acharya

Suman Acharya

Tribhuvan University - National Law College; Nepal Rastra Bank

Date Written: June 1, 2015


Cognitivists believe that morality is the standard of evaluation whereas non-cognitivists believe that the matters of morality are highly metaphysical and such issues cannot be either established true or erroneous. Cognitivism is central theme of value, evaluation and judgment based on certain standard whereas non-cognitivism is science that seeks factual expressions. Cognitivism is valued knowledge whereas non-cognitivism is verified knowledge. They are not only the matter of linguistic expression but also the matter of subjective and objective expressions. Cognitivism is subjective expression whereas non-cognitvism is objective expressions. In legal realm, natural law school is based on cognitivism approach whereas legal positivism including logical positivism stands for non-cognitivism. The tradition of non-cognitivism in law began with the application of philosophy of David Hume. Gradually, other legal positivists have accepted it. Scandinavian realists’ stands for logical positivism or empiricism and also in a favor of non-cognitivism approach because they are skeptical on metaphysical concept. They are not reluctant to reject any concept of ownership, possession, rights and duties as they are highly metaphysical concept.

Keywords: Cognitivism, non-cognitvism, empericism, subjectivism, objectivism

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Suman, Cognitivism and Non-Cognitivism Approaches in Legal Realm (June 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Suman Acharya (Contact Author)

Tribhuvan University - National Law College ( email )


Nepal Rastra Bank ( email )


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