The Evaluative Method
It is generally recognized that there is a cognitive method for describing the normative judgments of a person or a group of people with common normative customs and political ideals. The crucial question is whether there is a cognitive method for evaluating such normative judgments, customs and political ideals once they are objectively described.
By a cognitive, or scientific, method is meant one which, when applied to the living and positive legal norms of a given person, people or nation, gives a conclusion of which it is significant to say that it is true or false in a sense which can be confirmed by anyone in that or any other culture or nation. For example, that Hitler's normative judgments and the customs of his followers were such and such can be determined by reading his Mein Kampf and his speeches and comparing what he wrote and said with what he and the quantitative majority of his contemporary Germans did or approved. The result of this descriptive method will be a set of statements of which it is significant to say that they are true. Moreover, they are true in the descriptive sense that, were Hitler alive or were a Hitlerian present now to read these statements, he as well as we would agree that they are empirically confirmed and in this sense cognitively true. The question which this chapter is asking has to do with whether in precisely this same sense of being valid for him as well as for us there is a cognitive method for evaluating the normative judgments and living law behavior of Hitler's Germany, once any Hitlerian and we have agreed that it has been correctly described.
That there is a method for doing this, providing one assumes the descriptively true normative premises of a free democratic society