The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Transcending the discovery-justification dichotomy

MacLean, James (2012) Transcending the discovery-justification dichotomy International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, 25, (1), pp. 123-141. (doi:10.1007/s11196-011-9244-7).

Record type: Article


This essay examines judicial decision-making from the perspective of Whiteheadian 'process philosophy'. As such, it seeks to demonstrate how the explanatory categories of process thought can be applied to law and legal reasoning in such a way as to expose the nature of the processes that constitute their development. The essay begins with a description of the judicial task drawn from contemporary theorising about legal argumentation, identified in terms of the separation of contexts of decisionmaking: discovery and justification. In light of this discussion, the essay then adopts Whiteheadian terminology to provide the basis for an alternative understanding and description of the way that a discrete instance of judicial decision-making develops and is maintained within the decision-making process. In this way, independent of any debate over the separation of contexts, the essay seeks not only to expose and unpack the otherwise hidden micro-processes that contribute to and constitute a legal decision but also, by utilising the same conceptual categories of Whiteheadian process thought, to provide a coherent and consistent account of the macro-processes more commonly observed on the level of law as a social realty. The essay argues that the explanatory power of the categoreal scheme of process thought provides a better tool for understanding these relations on all levels.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2012
Organisations: Southampton Law School


Local EPrints ID: 199501
ISSN: 0952-8059
PURE UUID: a8e55bb2-5cfe-4677-91d9-764986ce3d66

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Oct 2011 11:22
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:16

Export record



Author: James MacLean

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.