- Legal theory and epistemic values: against authoritarian interpretivism (2012)
- In his new book, R. Dworkin advocates the unity of values thesis. He wants to circumscribe morality as a proper epistemological domain which is methodologically different from scientific inquiry. The epistemological independence of morality is supposed to be a consequence of the irreducible fact/value dichotomy. This paper sustains that unity of values thesis is methodologically correct; all moral reasoning must be a constructive interpretation of its meaning. However, that author fails to recognize that not every axiological interpretation implies moral consequences. From H. Putnam’s pragmatic realism, this paper intends to demonstrate that much of scientific inquiry relies on values interpretation, and that this kind of reasoning is morally neutral. Finally, it should be clear that epistemological choices in legal positivism – e.g. the decision on which aspects of social interaction are theoretically relevant – should not disturb the soundness of its argument nor should it be read as if it had moral implications. This paper concludes that positivist theories cannot be ruled out. Since the choice between descriptive and interpretative models requires a circular justification, legal theory is itself an activity governed by epistemic values interpretation. Likewise natural sciences, it can only be understood from an internal perspective. Accordingly, inclusive positivism holds the advantage of being more consilient than interpretivism, which is arguably parochial.