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value judgementan ethical or moral evaluation, especially where this leads to a statement of what, on ethical or moral grounds, ‘ought to be done’. In Logical Positivism (see POSITIVISM) the assumption is sometimes made that no ‘value judgement’ can ever be derived from a purely 'scientific’ statement (see FACT-VALUE DISTINCTION). However, two other possibilities exist:
- that ‘facts’ and ‘theories’, although they can never dictate our ‘values’, can inform us about causal connections, etc., thus also indicating how we might go about achieving our ethical goals (this approximately was WEBER's view; see also HYPOTHETICAL IMPERATIVE);
- that the notion of an insurmountable divorce between ‘facts’ and ‘values’ is false, and that whenever possible we should always seek to ground our ethical and moral positions and our value judgements on firm sociological foundations (the position, for example, of COMTE or DURKHEIM, or the FRANKFURT SCHOOL OF CRITICAL THEORY).