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Philosopher Kings?The Adjudication of Conflicting Human Rights and Social Values$
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George C. Christie

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341157.001.0001

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The Epistemology of Judicial Decision Making

The Epistemology of Judicial Decision Making

(p.77) 6 The Epistemology of Judicial Decision Making
Philosopher Kings?

George C. Christie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the following questions: What is the law (particularly the law of human rights), how is it known, and how can that knowledge of the content or meaning of the law be separated from the process of its application? In the areas with which this book is concerned, only if “the law” is a set of general maxims, even clichés if you will, can the law be said to be easily “discovered” and studied apart from its actual and potential applications. This might at first glance be a superficially plausible view of the law in a code system in which there is an official verbal formulation of the law, but the generality in which most such legal provisions are worded often makes the application of these provisions anything but a ministerial task. Rather, these provisions serve only as the starting point for the decision of concrete cases, a process that in any hotly contested case clearly involves the exercise of practical wisdom.

Keywords:   human rights law, human rights adjudication, practical wisdom, judicial decisions

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