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Moral and Political Values in Legal Theory: An Informational-Atomist Account of Reasoning with Values

Baruah, Pritam; (2020) Moral and Political Values in Legal Theory: An Informational-Atomist Account of Reasoning with Values. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The question of how indeterminate moral and political values should be applied as justifications in adjudication has fuelled persistent controversy amongst judges, constitutional lawyers, and legal theorists. Values are employed as justificatory reasons of special significance on the one hand but are notoriously indeterminate on the other. I take this to be the problem of reasoning with values. This thesis intervenes in existing debates on reasoning with values by arguing for an Informational-Atomist account (IA). IA is an alternative to two influential existing views. First, is conceptual exceptionalism about values: that values are special kinds of concepts such as interpretive concepts, thick concepts, essentially contested concepts, and placeholders. Second, is value holism: that the content of values is determined holistically by placing them in a web of values as values are necessarily united. I argue that conceptual exceptionalism is flawed, qua theories of concepts, as concepts of values do not have a special conceptual nature. Value holism faces significant challenges as an account of content-determination, even if holism is a plausible theory of justification. IA in contrast brings insights from literature on concepts and content in cognitive science and philosophy of mind to illuminate thinking on how values ought to be reasoned with by according primacy to questions of content. IA develops an account of instance-based reasons that has realist, physicalist, and cognitivists commitments. It explains how the content of individual values are determined, which further explains connections between values, if any. IA bolsters arguments for reason-giving accounts of adjudication by opening avenues for how the content of indeterminate values can be justifiably determined in a transparent and accountable way.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Moral and Political Values in Legal Theory: An Informational-Atomist Account of Reasoning with Values
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117583
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