In Search of Common Values Amongst Competing Universals: An Argument for the Return to Value’s Original Meaning

  • Andra le Roux-KempEmail author


This article presents an argument for the return to the original meaning of the concept value. This is achieved by revisiting the genealogy of the concept and by placing in perspective and questioning the common parlance thereof in contemporary legal discourse. The approach is decidedly against the often casual way in which courts and commentators treat the concept, seemingly as concretisation, validation, exegesis or reinforcement of fundamental norms, but without paying attention to its original meaning and use. It is submitted that we confine our talk of values to the products of valuation, that is, the taste, the will, the esteem and/or perspective of some individual or group. Yet, it is not suggested that we completely discard the use of values discourse in law, the goal is rather to restate the inherent relativity of values language in legal discourse. This will bring necessary order to the current conceptual disarray and will foster mutual understanding and alliance.


Values Genealogy Pluralism Universalism Human rights 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawCity University of Hong KongKowloon TongChina

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