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

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

Cognitive psychology
in cognitive psychology (and related fields like experimental philosophy or experimental economics), judgement is part of a set of cognitive processes by which individuals reason, make decisions, and form beliefs and opinions (collectively, judgement and decision making, abbreviated JDM). This involves evaluating information, weighing evidence, making choices, and coming to conclusions.[3][4] Judgements are often influenced by cognitive biases, heuristics, prior experience, social context, abilities (e.g., numeracy, probabalistic thinking), and psychological traits (e.g., tendency toward analytical reasoning).[5][6] In research, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making is an international academic society dedicated to the topic; they publish the peer-reviewed journal Judgment and Decision Making.
opinions expressed as facts.
Informal in psychology
used in reference to the quality of cognitive faculties and adjudicational capabilities of particular individuals, typically called wisdom or discernment. Opposite terms include foolishness or indiscretion.
the mental act of affirming or denying one statement or another through comparison. Judgements are communicated to others using agreed-upon terms in the form of words or algebraic symbols[further explanation needed] 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 forms specific opinions of other people.[relevant?]

Formal judgement[edit]

One may 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[edit]

Aristotle observed that our power to judge takes two forms: making assertions and thinking about definitions.[7]: 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[edit]

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".[7]: 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 one might see "2 + 2 = 4" and call this statement derived from an arithmetical judgement true, but one would most likely 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, one can see they are, in a sense, called terms because their objects are the final components that arise at the point of certain judgements, like in the case of "judgement of separation". These are types of judgements described in this example, which must terminate, because reaching 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.

Judgement in religion[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "judgement". The Website of Prof. Paul Brians. 19 May 2016.
  2. ^
    • "judgment". Cambridge Dictionary. 2013-08-07. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
    • "judgement". AskOxford.com: 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. ^ Keren, Gideon; Wu, George, eds. (2015). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of judgment and decision making. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-118-46839-5.
  4. ^ Sternberg, Robert J.; Sternberg, Karin (2017). Cognitive psychology (Seventh ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-305-64465-6.
  5. ^ Keren, Gideon; Wu, George, eds. (2015). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of judgment and decision making. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-118-46839-5.
  6. ^ Manktelow, Kenneth Ian (2012). Thinking and reasoning: an introduction to the psychology of reason, judgment and decision making (1. publ ed.). London: Psychology Press. ISBN 978-1-84169-741-3.
  7. ^ a b Aristotle. Metaphysics.

Further reading[edit]