The Use of Meta-Ethics in Adjudication
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
This article responds to Jeremy Waldron's claim that the truth or falsity of moral objectivism makes no difference to the arbitrariness, or otherwise, of adjudication (the 'no-difference thesis'). I start by outlining the way in which I believe objectivism and its opponents should be distinguished, before setting out Waldron's arguments in favour of the no-difference thesis. I then consider a number of ambiguities in that thesis, before criticizing several attempts by Michael Moore to respond to Waldron's arguments. Having cleared the way for a new consideration of this issue, I argue that-depending on which interpretation of them we accept-Waldron's arguments: (i) misrepresent the nature of the debate between objectivists and anti-objectivists; (ii) beg the question by asserting that objectivism is wrong rather than irrelevant; or (iii) rely upon an indefensible account of political justification. Finally, I offer an example of how the truth or falsity of objectivism can have implications for adjudication, by suggesting two ways in which it may affect the legitimacy of judicial review.
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