Talip Aydin

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)



First Advisor

Samuel Bufford


Throughout most modern and contemporary legal scholarship there appears an unbridgeable division between two dominant approaches to judicial decision making. Put succinctly, legal scholars argue that there exist either objective, foundational, ultimate groundings for legal theory and decisions or legal theory and practice inevitably follow a path to relativism and skepticism.

This dissertation argues for a theory of evaluation grounded in the Pragmatic, practical ontology and epistemology. Grounding the theory in this fashion avoids the philosophical views of extreme objectivism and extreme subjectivism. In contrast to these conventional stances, which are rooted in philosophical dualism, the view argued for in this dissertation perceives the ontological and epistemological relationship between humans and their environment as inherently interconnected or relational. This philosophical relationship is characterized as intentional, perspectival, and dialectical and embodied.

Consonant with the Pragmatic Ontology, the dissertation argues for a conception of rationality termed "embodied reason." Unlike abstract versions of rationality, embodied reason is characterized by its concreteness, situatedness, and intersubjective validation.

The theory clarifies the concept of "legal reasoning" and develops meta-theory underlining practical, expert based, holistic, narrative, argumentative, intuitive dimensions.

Additionally, given the embodied and perspectival characteristic of judicial decision making the importance of individual differences, especially context-dependent, holistic thinking style is underlined.