SOPhiA 2017

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Objectivity of Adjudication and Metaethics
(Philosophy of Law, English)

The aim of the paper is to consider suitability of tools offered by contemporary metaethics for solution of some issues in theory of adjudication stemming from apparent role moral reasoning plays in legal reasoning. These questions may be raised independently of the stance on nature of law one adheres to. In some cases (interpretivism, natural law theories or inclusive positivism), even the content of legal norms may depend on the content of moral norms, whereas in the case of exclusive positivism, though the content of legal norms is independent of the content of moral norms, the latter may nonetheless be relevant e.g. when legal norms expressly refer to them, when the law alone does not determine one right answer or when it is necessary to use non-textual methods of interpretation.

If moral reasons indeed to some extent determine adjudication, than objectivity of the adjudication may arguably depend on some form of moral realism. This paper will attempt to assess whether the adoption of "modest" metaethical stances, which do not require strong metaphysical assumptions is sufficient to defend the objectivity of moral reasoning appearing in the justifications of judicial decisions.

Neil MacCormick's early theory of interpretation is to be used as a reference point. This theory includes so called "second-order justification", which is based on the consequentialist arguments and the requirements of consistency and coherence, thereby seem to rely on reasoning similar to moral one. An attempt will be made to answer the question whether accepting the account of moral reasoning characteristic for "modest" metaethical positions allows the "second-order justification" to be non-arbitrary.

Chair: Florian Wieczorek
Time: 10:35-11:05, 15 September 2017 (Friday)
Location: HS E.002

Filip Gołba 
(Jagiellonian University, Polska)

PhD candidate in Department of Legal Theory at Jagiellonian University with primary research interest in philosophy of law.

Testability and Meaning deco