Stalnaker argues that, while the two-dimensional framework can be used to give expression to the claims associated with rigidiﬁed descriptivism, it cannot be used to support that position. He also puts forward some objections to rigidiﬁed descriptivism. I agree that rigidiﬁed descriptivism cannot be supported by appeal to the two-dimensional framework. But I think that Stalnaker’s objections can be avoided under a descriptivism that introduces a causal as well as a descriptive element – a descriptivism (...) in which the relevant descriptions are allowed to be, not only rigidiﬁed, but anchored in causal exposure to referents. (shrink)
Kripke’s most important arguments in Naming and Necessity against the description theory of reference of proper names are the arguments from ignorance and error concerning names of historical figures. The aim of this paper is to put forward a reply to these arguments. The answer to them is grounded on the development of one component of the version of the description theory proposed by the authors that are regarded as the classical contemporary advocates of this theory, namely Searle and Strawson; (...) one of the targets of Kripke’s arguments is precisely the version of the description theory of reference submitted by these authors. The development of that component results in a sort of description theory of reference not affected by Kripke’s arguments from ignorance and error concerning the names of historical figures, deferential descriptivism. (shrink)
This article systematically challenges Kripke's modal argument and Soames's defence of this argument by arguing that, just like descriptions, names can take narrow or wide scopes over modalities, and that there is a big difference between the wide scope reading and the narrow scope reading of a modal sentence with a name. Its final conclusions are that all of Kripke's and Soames's arguments are untenable due to some fallacies or mistakes; names are not “rigid designators”; if there were rigid designators, (...) description(s) could be rigidified to refer fixedly to objects; so names cannot be distinguished in this way from the corresponding descriptions. A descriptivist account of names is still correct; and there is no justification for Kripke's theory of rigid designation and its consequences. (shrink)
Descriptivism in the ontology of art is the thesis that the correct ontological proposal for a kind of artwork cannot show the nascent ontological conception of such things embedded in our critical and appreciative practices to be substantially mistaken. Descriptivists believe that the kinds of revisionary art ontological proposals propounded by Nelson Goodman, Gregory Currie, Mark Sagoff, and me are methodologically misconceived. In this paper I examine the case that has been made for a local form of descriptivism (...) in the ontology of art: a form that does not quarrel with the possibility of revisionism in matters of ‘fundamental metaphysics’, but which argues that special features of the arts make descriptivism in this particular sphere obligatory. David Davies, Andrew Kania and Stephen Davies are local descriptivists in this sense. I argue that the burden of proof lies with the local descriptivist, but that this burden is too heavy for him to carry. Specifically, it emerges that the only way in which the local descriptivist can motivate his position is by arguing that our artistic practices determine the art ontological facts: a thesis that local descriptivists typically appeal to, but have not been able to argue for successfully. My conclusion is that the methodological debate in the ontology of art should now proceed by focussing on the case for global descriptivism: i.e. that form of descriptivism that opposes the possibility of revisionism in ontological matters across the board. (shrink)
Normativism, the approach that judges human rationality by comparison against normative standards, has recently come under intensive criticism as unsuitable for psychological enquiry, and it has been suggested that it should be replaced with a descriptivist paradigm. My goal in this paper is to outline and defend a meta-theoretical framework of such a paradigm, grounded rationality, based on the related principles of descriptivism and (moderate) epistemic relativism. Bounded rationality takes into account universal biological and cognitive limitations on human rationality. (...) Grounded rationality accepts universal constraints but adds cognitive variability: Within-individual variability (dual processing), and individual as well as cultural differences. I discuss the implications of grounded rationality to dual processing, proposing that investing limited cognitive resources in analytic processing might be less instrumentally rational for individuals with low cognitive ability. (shrink)
I argue that mental descriptivism cannot be reasonably thought superior to rival theories on the grounds that it can (while they cannot) provide an elegant account of reference failure. Descriptivism about the particular-directed intentionality of our mental states fails when applied to desires. Consider, for an example, the desire that Satan not tempt me. On the descriptivist account, it looks like my desire would be fulfilled in conditions in which there exists exactly one thing satisfying some description only (...) Satan satisfies (call it the Satanic Description). However, against this analysis, it is clearly compatible with desiring that Satan not tempt me that I also desire that there exist nothing satisfying the Satanic Description. The descriptivist has room for maneuver here, but the cost of accommodating this phenomenon is that the descriptivist shall no longer be able to use her theory to ameliorate the possibility of reference failure. (shrink)
David Sosa, Michael Nelson, and Jason Stanley have recently offered a series of interesting and provocative challenges to Kripke's modal arguments against Descriptivism. In this paper I explore these challenges and some of the issues to which they give rise. I argue that, in the end, all three challenges fail.
Ethical descriptivism is the view that all ethical properties are descriptive properties. Frank Jackson has proposed an argument for this view which begins with the premise that the ethical supervenes on the descriptive, any worlds that differ ethically must differ also descriptively. This paper observes that Jackson's argument has a curious structure, taking a linguistic detour between metaphysical starting and ending points, and raises some worries stemming from this. It then proposes an improved version of the argument, which avoids (...) these worries, and responds to some potential objections to this version of the argument. (shrink)
I investigate the widely held view that fundamental musical ontology should be descriptivist rather than revisionary, that is, that it should describe how we think about musical works, rather than how they are independently of our thought about them. I argue that if we take descriptivism seriously then, first, we should be sceptical of art-ontological arguments that appeal to independent metaphysical respectability; and, second, we should give fictionalism about musical works—the theory that they do not exist—more serious consideration than (...) it is usually accorded. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This paper considers Kripke's (1972, 1980) modal arguments against descriptivism about proper names, the descriptivist reply that the meaning of a name is given by a description involving the modifier ‘actually’, and Kit Fine's (1994) distinction between necessary and essential attributes. It explains how Kripke's modal arguments can be recast in essentialist terms by appealing to Fine's distinction, and it argues that the resulting essentialist arguments are immune to the abovementioned descriptivist reply to the original modal arguments.
In this paper, I argue against Millian Descriptivism: that is, the view that, although sentences that contain names express singular propositions, when they use those sentences speakers communicate descriptive propositions. More precisely, I argue that Millian Descriptivism fares no better (or worse) than Fregean Descriptivism: that is, the view that sentences express descriptive propositions. This is bad news for Millian Descriptivists who think that Fregean Descriptivism is dead.
Contrary to frequent declarations that descriptivism as a theory of how names refer is dead and gone, such a descriptivism is, to all appear- ances, alive and well. Or rather, a descendent of that doctrine is alive and well. This new version—neo- descriptivism , for short—is suppos- ..
This paper proposes a new, stronger version of the cluster theory of proper names. It introduces a meta-identifying rule that can establish a cluster's main descriptions and explain how they must be satisfied in order to allow the application of a proper name. At the same time, it preserves some main insights of the causal-historical view. With the resulting rule we can not only give a more detailed reply to the counter-examples to descriptivism, but also explain the informative contents (...) of proper names and why they are rigid designators in contrast with descriptions.1. (shrink)
The work of Kripke, Putnam, Kaplan, and others initiated a tradition in philosophy that has come to be known as anti-descriptivism. I argue that when properly interpreted, Wilfrid Sellars is a staunch anti-descriptivist. Not only does he accept most of the conclusions drawn by the more famous anti-descriptivists, he goes beyond their critiques to reject the fundamental tenant of descriptivism—that understanding a linguistic expression consists in mentally grasping its meaning and associating that meaning with the expression. I show (...) that Sellars’ alternative accounts of language and the mind provide novel justifications for the anti-descriptivists’ conclusions. Finally, I present what I take to be a Sellarsian analysis of an important anti-descriptivist issue: the relation between metaphysical modal notions (e.g., possibility) and epistemic modal notions (e.g., conceivability). The account I present involves extension of the strategy he uses to explain both the relation between physical object concepts (e.g., whiteness) and sensation concepts (e.g., the appearance of whiteness), and the relation between concepts that apply to linguistic activity (e.g., sentential meaning) and those that apply to conceptual activity (e.g., thought content). (shrink)
In response to Kripke's modal argument contemporary descriptivists suggest that referring terms, e.g., ‘water’, are synonymous with actually-rigidified definite descriptions, e.g., ‘the actual watery stuff’. Following Scott Soames, this strategy has the counterintuitive consequence that possible speakers on Perfect Earth cannot be ascribed water-beliefs without beliefs about the actual world. Co-indexing the actuality and possibility operators has the equally untoward result that possible speakers on Twin Earth are ascribed water-beliefs. So, Soames's dilemma is that the descriptivist can account for either (...) Twin Earth or Perfect Earth but not both. In response, this paper argues that since ‘actual’ is an indexical, the content of water-beliefs is egocentric, and so if the descriptivist avails herself of relativized propositions as the content of such beliefs, she is able to account for both Twin Earth and Perfect Earth. The lesson is that we have to tread carefully when making inferences about the contents of beliefs from the semantics of belief-reporting sentences that contain actually-rigidified expressions. (shrink)
Mill is a detractor of the view that proper names have meanings, defending in its place the view that names are nothing more than (meaningless) marks. Because of this, Mill is often regarded as someone who anticipated the theory of direct reference for names: the view that the only contribution a name makes to propositions expressed through its use is the name's referent. In this paper I argue that the association is unfair. With some gentle interpretation, Mill can be portrayed (...) as someone who is a Millian in the sense he most cares about (names are meaningless marks) but a descriptivist in so far as he takes the determinants of reference to be properties in the possession of speakers. I contend that this view is not only one that Mill comes close to holding, but, in light of the reasons that (nearly) led him to such a view, one that is worth taking seriously on its own terms. (shrink)
There are two major semantic theories of proper names: Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference. According to Semantic Descriptivism, the semantic content of a proper name N for a speaker S is identical to the semantic content of a definite description “the F” that the speaker associates with the name. According to Direct Reference, the semantic content of a proper name is identical to its referent. As is well known, Semantic Descriptivism suffers from a number of drawbacks first (...) pointed out by Donnellan (1970) and Kripke (1972).1 The first difficulty is semantic: in many cases, the definite description that S associates with N (if it denotes) denotes an entity other than the referent of N. The second difficulty is epistemic: in many cases, contrary to what Semantic Descriptivism predicts, an utterance of “N=the F” does not semantically express a proposition that is knowable a priori. And the third difficulty is modal: although Semantic Descriptivism entails that the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance of “N=the F” is metaphysically necessary, in many cases the relevant proposition is actually metaphysically contingent. Direct Reference faces three main difficulties of its own. First, there is the problem of cognitive significance (or, as it has come to be known, Frege’s Puzzle): if the content of a proper name is its referent, then different proper names have the same content, and hence utterances of “N=M” and “N=N” semantically express the same proposition; yet these two utterances differ in cognitive significance, and it would seem 1 that utterances semantically expressing the same proposition should not differ in cognitive significance. Second, there is the problem of substitution: if the content of a proper name is its referent, then co-referential proper names should be intersubstitutable in propositional attitude contexts salva veritate; yet linguistic intuitions suggest that substitution of co-referential proper names in such contexts often fails to preserve truthvalue.. (shrink)
Metalinguistic descriptivism is the view that proper names are semantically equivalent to descriptions featuring their own quotations (e.g., ?Socrates? means ?the bearer of ?Socrates??). The present paper shows that Millians can actually accept an inferential version of this equivalence thesis without running afoul of the modal argument. Indeed, they should: for it preserves the explanatory virtues of more familiar forms of descriptivism while avoiding objections (old and new) to Kent Bach's nominal description theory. We can make significant progress (...) on Frege's puzzle and Plato's beard without committing ourselves one way or the other on the semantic values of proper names. The view on offer can also be motivated by analogy with Tarski's schema T, inviting the idea that the equivalence between a name and the associated nominal description has more to do with the semantics of representational locutions than it does with names per se. My response to the modal argument exploits the Kripkean distinction between reference at a world and reference in a world, and can be accepted by metalinguistic descriptivists and Millians alike. (shrink)
We offer an empirical assessment of description theories of proper names. We examine empirical evidence on lexical and cognitive development, memory, and aphasia, to see whether it supports Descriptivism. We show that description theories demand much more, in terms of psychological assumptions, than what the data suggest; hence, they lack empirical support. We argue that this problem undermines their success as philosophical theories for proper names in natural languages. We conclude by presenting and defending a preliminary alternative account of (...) reference from a developmental perspective. (shrink)
Scott Soames (2002) has recently developed and defended strategies for (i) accounting for the meaning of Millian terms, and (ii) extending Kripke's insights from proper names to natural kind terms. In this paper I argue that if we accept these strategies, and their implausible assumptions and consequences, then we can present a novel defence of descriptivism for at least some natural kind terms – those for substances – on that basis. The conclusion, then, will be that there is just (...) no motivation for being a Soamesian Kripkean for an important class of natural kind terms. (shrink)
In Naming and Necessity Saul Kripke offers a number of arguments in order to show that no descriptivist theory of proper names is correct. We present here a certain version of descriptivist theory -we will characterize it as an individual-use reference-fixing descriptivist theory that appeals to descriptions regarding how a name is used by other speakers. This kind of theory can successfully answer all the objections Kripke puts forward in Naming and Necessity. Such sort of descriptivist theory is furthermore compatible (...) with the picture about reference that Kripke presents. It also seems to be able to account for some phenomena that are difficult to explain on Kripke’s view (the existence of informative identity statements and true negative singular existential statements). (shrink)
It is generally thought that <span class='Hi'>Searle</span>'s cluster theory of the sense of a proper name was soundly refuted by Kripke in Naming and Necessity. This paper challenges this widespread belief and argues that the observations made by Kripke do not show that <span class='Hi'>Searle</span>'s version of descriptivism is false. Indeed, charitably interpreted, <span class='Hi'>Searle</span>'s theory retains considerable plausibility.
Abstract: By focusing on contributions to the literature on function ascription, this article seeks to illustrate two problems with philosophical accounts that are presented as having descriptive aims. There is a motivational problem in that there is frequently no good reason why descriptive aims should be important, and there is a methodological problem in that the methods employed frequently fail to match the task description. This suggests that the task description as such may be the result of “default descriptivism,” (...) a tendency to take considerations that make sense of a practice to be the very considerations that generate it. Although such hypotheses are frequently quite plausible, the fact of the matter may not be very important for the pursuits of philosophers. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of operationalism and its corollary, descriptivism, on Paul Samuelson's revealed preference theory as it developed between 1937 and 1948. Samuelson urged the disencumbering of metaphysics from economic theory. As an illustration, he showed how utility could be operationally redefined as revealed preference, and, furthermore, how from hypotheses such as maximizing behavior, operationally meaningful theorems could be deduced, thereby satisfying his demand for a scientific, empirical approach toward consumer behavior theory. In this paper I discuss (...) the ensuing debate during the 1950s and 1960s on Samuelson's operationalism that raised doubts about its efficacy. In addition, I argue that certain concepts (revealed preference, equilibrium) and theorems (e.g., weak and strong axioms) that are supposedly operational in revealed preference theory, lack operational meaning, not withstanding their mathematical implications. Finally, I suggest that, although Samuelson's methodological rhetoric did not correspond with his implicit aprioristic theorizing, he possibly thought that his methodology and theorizing would converge in the long run. (shrink)
This paper has two purposes: the first is to critically examine Kripke’s well-known arguments against Descriptivism and suggest that they are not as decisive as many have thought; the second is to argue that proper names do encode descriptive information of various kinds, that such information may be truth-conditionally significant, and hence that a name’s truth-conditional contribution is not limited to its referent.
We propose a critique of normativism, deﬁned as the idea that human thinking reﬂects a normative system against which it should be measured and judged. We analyze the methodological problems associated with normativism, proposing that it invites the controversial “is-ought” inference, much contested in the philosophical literature. This problem is triggered when there are competing normative accounts (the arbitration problem), as empirical evidence can help arbitrate between descriptive theories, but not between normative systems. Drawing on linguistics as a model, we (...) propose that a clear distinction between normative systems and competence theories is essential, arguing that equating them invites an “is-ought” inference: to wit, supporting normative “ought” theories with empirical “is” evidence. We analyze in detail two research programmes with normativist features – Oaksford and Chater’s rational analysis and Stanovich and West’s individual differences approach – demonstrating how, in each case, equating norm and competence leads to an is-ought inference. Normativism triggers a host of research biases in the psychology of reasoning and decision making: focusing on untrained participants and novel problems, analyzing psychological processes in terms of their normative correlates, and neglecting philosophically signiﬁcant paradigms when they do not supply clear standards for normative judgement. For example, in a dual-process framework, normativism can lead to a fallacious “ought-is” inference, in which normative responses are taken as diagnostic of analytic reasoning. We propose that little can be gained from normativism that cannot be achieved by descriptivist computational-level analysis, illustrating our position with Hypothetical Thinking Theory and the theory of the suppositional conditional. We conclude that descriptivism is a viable option, and that theories of higher mental processing would be better off freed from normative considerations. (shrink)
Our target article identified normativism as the view that rationality should be evaluated against unconditional normative standards. We believe this to be entrenched in the psychological study of reasoning and decision making and argued that it is damaging to this empirical area of study, calling instead for a descriptivist psychology of reasoning and decision making. The views of 29 commentators (from philosophy and cognitive science as well as psychology) were mixed, including some staunch defences of normativism, but also a number (...) that were broadly supportive of our position, although critical of various details. In particular, many defended a position that we call which sees a role for normative evaluation within boundaries alongside more descriptive research goals. In this response, we clarify our use of the term and add discussion of defining both as descriptive and non-normative concepts. We consider the debate with reference to dual-process theory, the psychology of reasoning, and empirical research strategy in these fields. We also discuss cognitive variation by age, intelligence, and culture, and the issue of relative versus absolute definitions of norms. In conclusion, we hope at least to have raised consciousness about the important boundaries between norm and description in the psychology of thinking. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to put forward an alternative to what I shall call "the received view on phenomenal concepts". According to this view, our concepts of phenomenal states directly refer to these states. I claim, on the contrary, that phenomenal concepts are _descriptive, indirect_ _and_ _relational_. More precisely, I endorse a descriptivist analysis according to which phenomenal concepts are descriptive concepts having perceptual demonstratives as constituents. I introduce and discuss two distinctions: the distinction between the perceptible properties (...) of objects and the qualitative characters of experiences on the one hand, and the corresponding distinction between perceptual demonstratives of perceptible properties and phenomenal concepts on the other. I then proceed as follows. Firstly, I state the main motivations behind the received view. Then, I try to show that every argument that can be advanced in favor of the received view is either powerless against my descriptivist position, or can be re-interpreted as an argument supporting it. In particular, I argue to the effect that some of the main motivations which are usually taken for granted when accepting the received view rest upon a fallacy, which I call the. (shrink)
Some descriptivists reply to the modal argument by appealing to scope ambiguities. In this paper, we argue that those replies donâ€™t work in the case of apparently empty names like â€˜Sherlock Holmesâ€™.
This paper applies the theory of teleosemantics to the issue of moral content. Two versions of teleosemantics are distinguished: input-based and output-based. It is argued that applying either to the case of moral judgements generates the conclusion that such judgements have both descriptive (belief-like) and directive (desire-like) content, intimately entwined. This conclusion directly validates neither descriptivism nor expressivism, but the application of teleosemantics to moral content does leave the descriptivist with explanatory challenges which the expressivist does not face. Since (...) teleosemantics ties content to function, the paper also offers an account of the evolutionary function of moral judgements. (shrink)
David Lewis's account of intentionality is a version of what he calls 'global descriptivism'. The rough idea is that the correct interpretation of one's total theory is the one (among the admissible interpretations) that come closest to making it true. I give an exposition of this account, as I understand it, and try to bring out some of its consequences. I argue that there is a tension between Lewis's global descriptivism and his rejection of a linguistic account of (...) the intentionality of thought. I distinguish some different senses in which Lewis's theory might permit, or be committed to, a kind of holism about intentional content, and I consider the sense in which Lewis's account might be said to be an internalist account, and the motivation for this kind of internalism. (shrink)
I reply to the argument of Caplan (Philos Stud 133:181–198, 2007 ) against the conjunction of Millianism with the view that utterances of sentences involving names often pragmatically convey descriptively enriched propositions.
In lecture III of Naming and Necessity, Kripke extends his claim that names are non-descriptive to natural kind terms, and in so doing includes a brief supporting discussion of terms for natural phenomena, in particular the terms ‘light’ and ‘heat’. Whilst natural kind terms continue to feature centrally in the recent literature, natural phenomenon terms have barely figured. The purpose of the present paper is to show how the apparent similarities between natural kind terms and the natural phenomenon terms on (...) which Kripke focuses are outweighed by more significant differences. Thus, rather than providing additional support for non-descriptivism, natural phenomenon terms turn out to challenge that thesis. (shrink)
Analyses of moral value judgements must meet a practicality requirement: moral speech acts characteristically express pro- or con-attitudes, indicate that speakers are motivated in certain ways, and exert influence on others' motivations. Nondescriptivists including Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard claim that no descriptivist analysis can satisfy this requirement. I argue first that while the practicality requirement is defeasible, it indeed demands a connection between value judgement and motivation that resembles a semantic or conceptual rather than merely contingent psychological link. I (...) then show how a form of descriptivism, the interest-relational theory, satisfies the requirement as a pragmatic and conversational feature of value judgement – thereby also accommodating its defeasibility. The word ``good'' is always indexed to some set of motivations: when this index is unarticulated in many contexts the speaker conversationally implicates possession of those motivations. (shrink)
There are two major semantic theories of proper names: Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference. According to Semantic Descriptivism, the semantic content of a proper name N for a speaker S is identical to the semantic content of a definite description “the F” that the speaker associates with the name. According to Direct Reference, the semantic content of a proper name is identical to its referent. Semantic Descriptivism suffers from a number of drawbacks first pointed out by Donnellan (...) (1970) and Kripke (1972). Direct Reference faces difficulties of its own, most importantly the problem of empty names. The most promising Directly Referential solution to this problem is the Unfilled Proposition view, according to which utterances of sentences containing empty names semantically express unfilled propositions. But this view faces the problem of accounting for the intuition that negative existentials involving empty names are true. The most promising way of dealing with this problem within Unfilled Proposition theory is to suppose (i) that utterances of sentences may be used to pragmatically convey propositions they do not semantically express, and (ii) that the proposition pragmatically conveyed by a speaker S's utterance of a sentence containing an empty name N (where “the F” is a definite description S associates with N) is identical to the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance of the sentence obtained by replacing N with “the F”. Call this view “Pragmatic Descriptivism”. With respect to the problem of negative existentials, Pragmatic Descriptivists can insist that, although an utterance of “Santa does not exist” is literally neither true nor false, our taking it to be true may be explained as the result of our having confused the unfilled proposition it semantically expresses with the clearly true descriptive proposition it pragmatically conveys. Despite its theoretical virtues, Pragmatic Descriptivism has recently come under fire. Everett (2003), in particular, has advanced four different lines of criticism, to which Adams and Dietrich (2004) have responded in some detail. In this article, I have two main aims. The first is to argue that Adams and Dietrich's replies to Everett's criticisms (with one exception) are ineffective. I conclude that there is no acceptable strategy for solving the problem of empty names within Direct Reference theory. The second is to argue that there is a promising alternative to Semantic Descriptivism and Direct Reference that requires us to fill unfilled propositions with names, thereby solving the problem of empty names. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest that Searle’s theory of reference is immune to the specific criticisms that have been levelled against it. I first present an overview of Searle’s “cluster” theory, followed by an overview of the Kripkean critique. I then examine in detail Kripke’s objections and suggest that they are not sufficient for a rejection of Searle’s theory. Finally, I consider several general objections to the cluster theory and argue that they, too, do not suffice to reject it.
The aim of the paper is that of putting into question the dichotomy between fact-judgments and value judgments in the legal domain, with its epistemological presuppositions (descriptivist image of knowledge) and its methodological implications for legal knowledge (value freedom principle and neutrality thesis). The basic question that I will try to answer is whether and on what conditions strong ethical value-judgments belong within legal knowledge. I criticize the traditional positivist positions that have fully accepted the value-freedom principle and value-neutrality thesis, (...) but I also submit to critical scrutiny the new post-positivist views, that, even if they show interesting conceptual developments on the matter, end up, nevertheless, by presupposing the same epistemological image, while I call descriptivism. I stress that only by giving up descriptivism and accepting constructivism as a general image of knowledge is it possible to see the problem of value-ladenness of legal knowledge in a new light. On the basis of the constructivist image, I present two theses: firstly, at a much broader epistemological level, I advance the minimalist thesis on value-judgments, which simply removes the general ban on treating values as present within knowledge; secondly, I advance the strong thesis on legal value-judgments, which consists in arguing for the necessary presence of ethical value-judgments in legal knowledge. I draw, in the end, some important implications from acceptance of the strong thesis. One of these implications is a new distinction that replaces the traditional distinction between fact-judgments and value judgments, namely, the distinction between value-judgments exhibiting a cognitive function and value-judgments exhibiting a creative function. (shrink)
In its quest to become more scientific, many have held that social science should more closely emulate the methodology of natural science. This has proven difficult and has led some to assert the impossibility of a science of human behavior. I maintain, however, that many critics of empirical social science have misunderstood the foundation for the success of the natural sciences, which is not that they have discovered the "true vocabulary of nature," but—on the contrary—that they have realized the benefits (...) of flexibility in "redescribing" familiar phenomena in alternative ways, in the pursuit of scientific explanations. In this paper I argue that this same path is open to the social sciences and that its pursuit would facilitate the prospects for the scientific study of human behavior. (shrink)