Amaya on Virtue and Objectivity in Legal Reasoning

Amalia Amaya, Edinburgh Law School; UNAM Philosophical Research Institute, is publishing Virtue and Objectivity in Legal Reasoning in Objectivity in Law (G. Villa Rosas and J. Fabra eds., 2022). Here is the abstract.

This paper claims that, contrary to what some critics some claimed, a virtue approach to legal reasoning does not inject subjectivity in legal decision-making, however, it puts forward a conception of objectivity that importantly differs from the ‘methodical’ one that is generally assumed in legal scholarship. In contrast to this conception, which situates objectivity in impersonal methods of reasoning, virtue jurisprudence advances a ‘dialectical’ conception of objectivity, in which subjective features of decision-makers are partly constitutive of the objectivity of legal judgments. More specifically, the virtuous legal decision-maker provides, in this view, an objective standard for evaluating legal judgment. It may be argued that this standard fails to be objective as it may validate incompatible decisions in cases of disagreement and ambivalence. The paper examines this objection and argues that the possibility of normative conflict among and within virtuous legal decision-makers does not succeed in showing that virtue theory is committed to relativism, but it suggests the plausibility of developing a pluralistic virtue jurisprudence.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.