Objectivity in Legal Judgement

This essay unites the philosophical concern with blend concepts and the legal concern with objectivity. Comparing blend legal concepts with other kinds of blend concepts develops our resources for ascertaining the distinctive characteristics of blend concepts. Cultivating a more refined understanding of blend concepts sharpens our inquiry into objectivity. In Part I of this essay, I explicate the distinctive characteristics of blend concepts, demonstrating that some representative legal concepts, drawn from tort law, possess these characteristics. In Part II, I develop a conception of objectivity suitable for blend judgments – the blend conception of objectivity – and use this conception to evaluate some representative blend legal judgments, including judgments of negligence, judgments of what is speech, and judgments of rape. Finally, in Part III, I situate my discussion of the objectivity of blend judgments in the context of legal scholarship regarding objectivity, using the blend conception of objectivity to diagnose some hidden problems in previous discussions of objectivity in law.