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Publication Date

Spring 1975




M. Nijhoff




There are limits to the possible subjects of justification. Typically, it concerns human behavior and things that human intervention can affect. Failing special circumstances, it makes no sense to speak of justifying the weather. There may be other limits to the class of possible subjects for justification; for example, it is sometimes said that a thing cannot be justified unless it has been indicted, though it is not clear how this claim should be taken. For there simply may be no point in bothering to justify something that is not suspect in some way, and the relevant condition can generally be satisfied by no more than an imaginary challenge or the mere request for a justification. But, suppose we assume for the sake of argument that justification has such narrow limits. Even within them, Professor Baier says, justification is not always possible. In one sense this is true, in another false. It is always possible for someone to offer a justification, for it to be accepted, and in such respects for there to be one. In another sense, however, which Baier seems to use, the existence of a justification is independent of what people give or accept. In this important sense, some possible candidates for justification simply cannot be justified, just because they aren't good enough. They fail to meet the minimum standards.

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