Facts, values and the life-world: epistemological arguments for evaluation in social management

Abstract This article aims to show that the concept of life-world (lebenswelt) in Jürgen Habermas, and the refutation of the dichotomy ‘fact’ v. ‘value’ in Hilary Putnam may account epistemologically for the evaluation process in social management, which consists of explicating facts, values and their respective meanings shared inter-subjectively. The article presents the Map of Public Goods and the Semantic Map of ENCIR (Expectations, Needs, Capabilities, Interests and Representations), which are instruments of evaluative experience, arguing on this instruments ability to communicatively explain the meanings/interpretations emanating from the life-world of Public Constituents. We argue with Habermas that life-world is an epistemological foundation of the evaluation procedures in social management that considers the dialogic relation between facts and values. With Putnam, we argue that these constituent elements are interwoven and subject to rational discussion. In this perspective, evaluative and communicative assessment processes must be built according to the capacities of the Public Constituents and co-produced by means of inclusive, dialogic and deliberative processes, validated inter-subjectively. This meets Habermas claims to truth, honesty/truthfulness and normative correction/legitimacy.