Although an ethical judgment makes a request of a kind, that request that can take many forms; it can be patient and polite; it can be urgent and angry — or laughing and mocking (Michael Moore).
Ethical judgment, Arendt believes, cannot rest solely upon a factual appraisal of the world around us or ourselves. Values such as fairness, freedom, and human dignity neither need nor admit of empirical proof. This does not mean, though, that facts have no bearing on our ethical judgments. We cannot evaluate, for instance, health care services or global warming or nuclear power without understanding the empirical contexts in which these issues are embedded. Still, ethical judgment relies not only on understanding the world as it is, but fundamentally upon commitment to the world as it ought to be. Ethical values rest finally upon chosen covenants and solidarity. This insight about the volitional character of ethical judgment informs a Jewish European tradition that runs from Spinoza through the German neo-Kantian school (e.g. Hermann Cohen) at the turn of the past century, and more recently Hannah Arendt.