Intellectual tasks, jurisprudence, clarification of goals, invention, evaluation, policy, alternatives.
Following the lead of John Dewey, Cook, Oliphant, and Yntema pointedly eschewed discussion of ultimate values in terms of their intrinsic "goodness". Their own course of action was to press for the application of scientific method - or Dewey's "method of intelligence" - to the field of ethics. The clear message imparted by their approach was the compelling need for the proponents of particular values to consider the means available for the achievement of their ideals; such consideration, it was argued, would both heighten commitment to goals which were proved to be capable of attainment within a given social context and lead to the rejection of goals which would involve unacceptable social costs in the process of realization. The method to be employed in this intellectual operation was that of modern science; as Cook pointed out.
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S. N. Verdun-Jones, “Cook, Oliphant, and Yntema: The Scientific Wing of American Legal Realism (Part II)” (1979) 5:2 DLJ 249.