Friday, October 29, 2004

Support for the Proposition that Values Depend on (Perceptions of) Facts

Some years ago I argued that there is evidence in law, that the values embedded in law (even in legislation) are in part a function of beliefs about factual propositions, including factual inferences that rest on evidence. See P. Tillers, The Value of Evidence in Law, 39 Northern Ireland Law Quarterly 167 (1988). Perhaps the following statement by Jaynes (amusing footnote omitted) offers some support for my view:
We consider it an important aspect of "objectivity" in inference -- almost a principle of morality -- that we should not allow our opinions to be swayed by our desires; what we believe should be independent of what we want. But the converse need not be true; on introspection, we would probably agree that what we want depends very much on what we know, and we do not feel guilty of any inconsistency or irrationality on that account.
E.T. Jaynes, PROBABILITY OF THEORY: THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE Section 13.12.5 at 424 (2003).
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