Legal Judgment as Self‐Mastery

Ratio Juris 36 (2):113-135 (2023)
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Many legal theorists see legal judgment as a largely professional or technical task. This is not how law sees itself. When looked at from the perspective of the engaged judge, law requires from us that we arrive at a certain internal governance of our thoughts and emotions. Legal scholarship and legal procedure tell us that law creates true reasons that override other, personal, reasons, even those of the utmost importance to us. A philosophical understanding of law requires a distinct argument that explains how such overriding reasons can be associated with the law and how there can be a personal duty to adapt our reasoning when we make authoritative legal judgments in order to change the lives of others. The philosophy of law needs to explain how legal judgment can be a form of self-mastery.



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Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Oxford University

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