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Judgement (or the American spelling judgment)[1] (in legal context, known as adjudication) means the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.[2] Judgement is also the ability to make considered decisions. The term has at least five distinct uses.

Aristotle suggested we think of the opposite of different uses of a term, if one exists, to help determine if the uses are really different.[citation needed] Some opposites help demonstrate that their uses are really distinct:

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opinions expressed as facts.
Informal and psychological
used in reference to the quality of cognitive faculties and adjudicational capabilities of particular individuals, typically called wisdom or discernment. The opposites are foolishness or indiscretion.
the mental act of affirming or denying one thing of another through comparison. Judgements are communicated to others using agreed-upon terms in the form of words or algebraic symbols as meanings to form propositions relating the terms, and whose further asserted meanings "of relation" are interpreted by those trying to understand the judgement.
used in the context of a legal trial, to refer to a final finding, statement, or ruling, based on a considered weighing of evidence, called, "adjudication". Opposites could be suspension or deferment of adjudication. See Judgment (law) for further explanation.

Additionally, judgement can mean personality judgment: a psychological phenomenon in which a person forming opinions of other people.

Formal judgement

People use the power or faculty of judgement to render judgements, in seeking to understand ideas and the things they represent, by means of ratiocination, using good or poor discernment or judgement. Each use of the word judgement has a different sense, corresponding to the triad of mental power, act, and habit.

Whether habits can be classified or studied scientifically, and whether there is such a thing as human nature[relevant?], are ongoing controversies.

Judging power or faculty

Aristotle observed that our power to judge takes two forms: making assertions and thinking about definitions.[3]: IX.10  He defined these powers in distinctive terms. Making an assertion as a result of judging can affirm or deny something; it must be either true or false. In a judgement, one affirms a given relationship between two things, or one denies a relationship between two things exists. The kinds of definitions that are judgements are those that are the intersection of two or more ideas rather than those indicated only by usual examples—that is, constitutive definitions.

Later Aristotelians, like Mortimer Adler, questioned whether "definitions of abstraction" that come from merging examples in one's mind are really analytically distinct from judgements. The mind may automatically tend to form a judgement upon having been given such examples.[citation needed]

Distinction of parts

In informal use, words like "judgement" are often used imprecisely, even when keeping them separated by the triad of power, act, and habit.

Aristotle observed that while we interpret propositions drawn from judgements and call them "true" and "false", the objects that the terms try to represent are only "true" or "false"—with respect to the judging act or communicating that judgement—in the sense of "well-chosen" or "ill-chosen".[3]: VI.4 

For example, we might say the proposition "the orange is round" is a true statement because we agree with the underlying judged relation between the objects of the terms, making us believe the statement to be faithful to reality. However the object of the term "orange" is no relation to be judged true or false, and the name taken separately as a term merely represents something brought to our attention, correctly or otherwise, for the sake of the judgement with no further evaluation possible.

Or we might see "2 + 2 = 4" and call this statement derived from an arithmetical judgement true, but we would probably agree that the objects of the number terms "2" and "4" are by themselves neither true nor false.

As a further example, consider the language of the math problem, "express composite number n in terms of prime factors". Once a composite number is separated into prime numbers as the objects of the assigned terms of the problem, we can see they are, in a sense, called terms because their objects are the final components that arise at the point where judgements, like in the case of the "judgement of separation" kind of judgements described in this example, must terminate, the place where no further "judgements of reduction" of a certain quality (in this case, non-unity integers dividing integers into non-unity integer quotients) can occur.[needs copy edit]

Judgement in religion

See also


  1. ^ "judgement". The Website of Prof. Paul Brians.
  2. ^
    • "judgment". Cambridge Dictionary. 2013-08-07. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
    • "judgement". Compact Oxford English Dictionary. 2013-08-13. Archived from the original on November 20, 2005. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
    • "judgment". Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.
  3. ^ a b Aristotle. Metaphysics.

Further reading