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A value judgment is a judgment of the merit, worth, or value of something. Value judgments are a critical part of evaluation, such as in weighing and synthesizing criteria or evidence and in the outcome of evaluations. In common language, value judgments are often erroneously equated with subjective, individualistic, arbitrary claims, and indeed this is the typical dictionary definition. For example, a common definition might be something like, “an assessment that reveals more about the values of the person making the assessment than about the reality of what is assessed.” In philosophy, however, value judgments are a reasonable and appropriate topic for study. Theories of value ask, “What sorts of things are good?” or “What does good mean?” or “If we had to give the ...

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