Value Theory (Philosophic Axiology)
“The term “value theory” is used in at least three different ways in philosophy. In its broadest sense, “value theory” is a catch-all label used to encompass all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and sometimes feminist philosophy and the philosophy of religion — whatever areas of philosophy are deemed to encompass some “evaluative” aspect. In its narrowest sense, “value theory” is used for a relatively narrow area of normative ethical theory particularly, but not exclusively, of concern to consequentialists. In this narrow sense, “value theory” is roughly synonymous with “axiology”. Axiology can be thought of as primarily concerned with classifying what things are good, and how good they are. For instance, a traditional question of axiology concerns whether the objects of value are subjective psychological states, or objective states of the world.” ref
“But in a more useful sense, “value theory” designates the area of moral philosophy that is concerned with theoretical questions about value and goodness of all varieties — the theory of value. The theory of value, so construed, encompasses axiology, but also includes many other questions about the nature of value and its relation to other moral categories. The division of moral theory into the theory of value, as contrasting with other areas of investigation, cross-cuts the traditional classification of moral theory into normative and metaethical inquiry, but is a worthy distinction in its own right; theoretical questions about value constitute a core domain of interest in moral theory, often cross the boundaries between the normative and the metaethical, and have a distinguished history of investigation. This article surveys a range of the questions which come up in the theory of value, and attempts to impose some structure on the terrain by including some observations about how they are related to one another.” ref
“The theory of value begins with a subject matter. It is hard to specify in some general way exactly what counts, but it certainly includes what we are talking about when we say any of the following sorts of things:
“pleasure is good/bad”; “it would be good/bad if you did that”; “it is good/bad for him to talk to her”; “too much cholesterol is good/bad for your health”; “that is a good/bad knife”; “Jack is a good/bad thief”; “he’s a good/bad man”; “it’s good/bad that you came”; “it would be better/worse if you didn’t”; “lettuce is better/worse for you than Oreos”; “my new can opener is better/worse than my old one”; “Mack is a better/worse thief than Jack”; “it’s better/worse for it to end now, than for us to get caught later”; “best/worst of all, would be if they won the World Series and kept all of their players for next year”; “celery is the best/worst thing for your health”; “Mack is the best/worst thief around” ref
“The word “value” doesn’t appear anywhere on this list; it is full, however, of “good”, “better”, and “best”, and correspondingly of “bad”, “worse”, and “worst”. And these words are used in a number of different kinds of constructions, of which we may take these four to be the main exemplars:
- Pleasure is good.
- It is good that you came.
- It is good for him to talk to her.
- That is a good knife.” ref
“Sentences like 1, in which “good” is predicated of a mass term, constitute a central part of traditional axiology, in which philosophers have wanted to know what things (of which there can be more or less) are good. I’ll stipulatively call them value claims, and use the word “stuff” for the kind of thing of which they predicate value (like pleasure, knowledge, and money). Sentences like 2 make claims about what I’ll (again stipulatively) call goodness simpliciter; this is the kind of goodness appealed to by traditional utilitarianism. Sentences like 3 are good for sentences, and when the subject following “for” is a person, we usually take them to be claims about welfare or well-being.” ref
“And sentences like 4 are what, I’ll call attributive uses of “good”, because “good” functions as a predicate modifier, rather than as a predicate in its own right. Many of the basic issues in the theory of value begin with questions or assumptions about how these various kinds of claim are related to one another. Some of these are introduced in the next two sections, focusing in 1.1 on the relationship between our four kinds of sentences, and focusing in 1.2 on the relationship between “good” and “better”, and between “good” and “bad”.” ref
“Claims about good simpliciter are those which have garnered the most attention in moral philosophy. This is partly because as it is usually understood, these are the “good” claims that consequentialists hold to have a bearing on what we ought to do. Consequentialism, so understood, is the view that you ought to do whatever action is such that it would be best if you did it. This leaves, however, a wide variety of possible theories about how such claims are related to other kinds of “good” claim.” ref
“For example, consider a simple point of view theory, according to which what is good simpliciter differs from what is good for Jack, in that being good for Jack is being good from a certain point of view — Jack’s — whereas being good simpliciter is being good from a more general point of view — the point of view of the universe. The point of view theory reduces both good for and good simpliciter to good from the point of view of, and understands good simpliciter claims as about the point of view of the universe. One problem for this view is to make sense of what sort of thing points of view could be, such that Jack and the universe are both the kinds of thing to have one.” ref
“According to a different sort of theory, the agglomerative theory, goodness simpliciter is just what you get by “adding up” what is good for all of the various people that there are. Rawls attributes this view to utilitarians, and it fits with utilitarian discussions such as that of Smart’s contribution to Smart and Williams, but much more work would have to be done in order to make it precise. We sometimes say things like, “wearing that outfit in the sun all day is not going to be good for your tan line”, but your tan line is not one of the things whose good it seems plausible to “add up” in order to get what is good simpliciter. Certainly, it is not one of the things whose good classical utilitarians would want to add up. So the fact that sapient and even sentient beings are not the only kinds of thing that things can be good or bad for sets an important constraint both on accounts of the good for relation, and on theories about how it is related to good simpliciter.” ref
“Rather than accounting for either of goodness simpliciter or goodness-for in terms of the other, some philosophers have taken one of these seriously at the expense of the other. For example, an important but compressed argument that apparent talks about what is good simpliciter can be made sense of as elliptical talk about what is good for some unmentioned person, and Foot’s view can be strengthened by allowing that apparent good simpliciter claims are often generically quantified statements about what is, in general, good for a person. Thomson  famously defends a similar view.” ref
“G.E. Moore, in contrast, struggled to make sense of good-for claims. In his refutation of egoism, Moore attributed to ethical egoists the theory that what is good for Jack (or “in Jack’s good”) is just what is good and in Jack’s possession, or alternatively, what it is good that Jack possesses. Moore didn’t argue against these theses directly, but he did show that they cannot be combined with universalizable egoism. It is now generally recognized that to avoid Moore’s arguments, egoists need only to reject these analyses of good for, which are in any case unpromising.” ref
“Other kinds of views understand good simpliciter in terms of attributive good. What, after all, are the kinds of things to which we attribute goodness simpliciter? According to many philosophers, it is to propositions, or states of affairs. This is supported by a cursory study of the examples we have considered, in which what is being said to be good appears to be picked out by complementizers like “if”, “that”, and “for”: “it would be good if you did that”; “it’s good that you came”; “it’s better for it to end now”. If complementizer phrases denote propositions or possible states of affairs, then it is reasonable to conjecture, that being good simpliciter is being a good state of affairs, and hence that it is a special case of attributive good (if it makes sense at all — Geach and Foot both argue that it does not, on the ground that states of affairs are too thin of a kind to support attributive good claims).” ref
“Some philosophers have used the examples of attributive good and good for in order to advance arguments against noncognitivist metaethical theories (See the entry cognitivism and non-cognitivism). The basic outlines of such an argument go like this: noncognitivist theories are designed to deal with good simpliciter, but have some kind of difficulties accounting for attributive good or for good for. Hence, there is a general problem with noncognitivist theories, or at least a significant lacuna they leave. It has similarly been worried that noncognitivist theories will have problems accounting for so-called “agent-relative” value, again, apparently, because of its relational nature. There is no place to consider this claim here, but note that it would be surprising if relational uses of “good” like these were in fact a deep or special problem for noncognitivism; Hare’s account in The Language of Morals was specifically about attributive uses of “good”, and it is not clear why relational noncognitive attitudes should be harder to make sense of than relational beliefs.” ref
“In an extension of the strategies just discussed, some theorists have proposed views of “good” which aspire to treat all of good simpliciter, good for, and attributive good as special cases. A paradigm of this approach is the “end-relational” theory. According to Ziff, all claims about goodness are relative to ends or purposes, and “good for” and attributive “good” sentences are simply different ways of making these purposes (more or less) explicit. Talk about what is good for Jack, for example, makes the purpose of Jack’s being happy (say) explicit, while talk about what is a good knife makes our usual purposes for knives (cutting things, say) explicit. The claim about goodness is then relativized accordingly.” ref
“Views adopting this strategy need to develop in detail answers to just what, exactly, the further, relational, parameter on “good” is. Some hold that it is ends, while others say things like “aims”. A filled-out version of this view must also be able to tell us the mechanics of how these ends can be made explicit in “good for” and attributive “good” claims, and needs to really make sense of both of those kinds of claim as of one very general kind. And, of course, this sort of view yields the prediction that non-explicitly relativized “good” sentences — including those used throughout moral philosophy — are really only true or false once the end parameter is specified, perhaps by context.
“This means that this view is open to the objection that it fails to account for a central class of uses of “good” in ethics, which by all evidence are non-relative, and for which the linguistic data do not support the hypothesis that they are context-sensitive. J.L. Mackie held a view like this one and embraced this result — Mackie’s error theory about “good” extended only to such putative non-relational senses of “good”. Though he grants that there are such uses of “good”, Mackie concludes that they are mistaken. Finlay, in contrast, argues that he can use ordinary pragmatic effects in order to explain the appearances. The apparently non-relational senses of “good”, Finlay argues, really are relational, and his theory aspires to explain why they seem otherwise.” ref
“The sentences I have called “value claims” present special complications. Unlike the other sorts of “good” sentences, they do not appear to admit, in a natural way, of comparisons. Suppose, for example, with G.E. Moore, that pleasure is good and knowledge is good. Which, we might ask, is better? This question does not appear to make very much sense, until we fix on some amount of pleasure and some amount of knowledge. But if Sue is a good dancer and Huw is a good dancer, then it makes perfect sense to ask who is the better dancer, and without needing to fix on any particular amount of dancing — much less on any amount of Sue or Huw. In general, just as the kinds of thing that can be tall are the same kinds of thing as can be taller than each other, the kinds of thing that can be good are the same kinds of thing as can be better than one another. But the sentences that we are calling “value claims”, which predicate “good” of some stuff, appear not to be like this.” ref
“One possible response to this observation, if it is taken seriously, is to conclude that so-called “value claims” have a different kind of logical form or structure. One way of implementing this idea, the good-first theory, is to suppose that “pleasure is good” means something roughly like, “(other things equal) it is better for there to be more pleasure”, rather than, “pleasure is better than most things (in some relevant comparison class)”, on a model with “Sue is a good dancer”, which means roughly, “Sue is a better dancer than most (in some relevant comparison class)”. According to a very different kind of theory, the value-first theory, when we say that pleasure is good, we are saying that pleasure is a value, and things are better just in case there is more of the things which are values. These two theories offer competing orders of explanation for the same phenomenon. The good-first theory analyzes value claims in terms of “good” simpliciter, while the value-first theory analyzes “good” simpliciter in terms of value claims. The good-first theory corresponds to the thesis that states of affairs are the “primary bearers” of value; the value-first theory corresponds to the alternative thesis that it is things like pleasure or goodness (or perhaps their instances) that are the “primary bearers” of value.” ref
“According to a more skeptical view, sentences like “pleasure is good” do not express a distinctive kind of claim at all, but are merely what you get when you take a sentence like “pleasure is good for Jill to experience”, generically quantify out Jill, and ellipse “to experience”. Following an idea also argues that in general, good-for sentences pattern with experiencer adjectives like “fun”, which admit of these very syntactic transformations: witness “Jack is fun for Jill to talk to”, “Jack is fun to talk to”, “Jack is fun”. This view debunks the issue over which the views discussed in the last paragraph disagree, for it denies that there is any such distinct topic for value claims to be about. (It may also explain the failures of comparative forms, above, on the basis of differences in the elided material.)” ref
“On a natural view, the relationship between “good”, “better”, and “best” would seem to be the same as that between “tall”, “taller”, and “tallest”. “Tall” is a gradable adjective, and “taller” is its comparative form. On standard views, gradable adjectives are analyzed in terms of their comparative form. At bottom is the relation of being taller than, and someone is the tallest woman just in case she is taller than every woman. Similarly, someone is tall, just in case, she is taller than a contextually appropriate standard, or taller than sufficiently many (this many be vague) in some contextually appropriate comparison class.” ref
“Much moral philosophy appears to assume that things are very different for “good”, “better”, and “best”. Instead of treating “better than” as basic, and something as being good just in case it is better than sufficiently many in some comparison class, philosophers very often assume, or write as if they assume, that “good” is basic. For example, many theorists have proposed analyses of what it is to be good which are incompatible with the claim that “good” is to be understood in terms of “better”. In the absence of some reason to think that “good” is very different from “tall”, however, this may be a very peculiar kind of claim to make, and it may distort some other issues in the theory of value.” ref
“Moreover, it is difficult to see how one could do things the other way around, and understand “better” in terms of “good”. Jon is a better sprinter than Jan not because it is more the case that Jon is a good sprinter than that Jan is a good sprinter — they are both excellent sprinters, so neither one of these is more the case than the other. It is, however, possible to see how to understand both “good” and “better” in terms of value. If good is to better as tall is to taller, then the analogue of value should intuitively be height. One person is taller than another just in case her height is greater; similarly, one state of affairs is better than another just in case its value is greater. If we postulate something called “value” to play this role, then it is natural (though not obligatory) to identify value with amounts of values — amounts of things like pleasure or knowledge, which “value” claims claim to be good.” ref
“But this move appears to be implausible or unnecessary when applied to attributive “good”. It is not particularly plausible that there is such a thing as can-opener value, such that one can-opener is better than another just in case it has more can-opener value. In general, not all comparatives need be analyzable in terms of something like height, of which there can be literally more or less. Take, for example, the case of “scary”. The analogy with height would yield the prediction that if one horror film is scarier than another, it is because it has more of something — scariness — than the other. This may be right, but it is not obviously so. If it is not, then the analogy need not hold for “good” and its cognates, either. In this case, it may be that being better than does not merely amount to having more value than.” ref
“These questions, moreover, are related to others. For example, “better” would appear to be the inverse relation of “worse”. A is better than B just in case B is worse than A. So if “good” is just “better than sufficiently many” and “bad” is just “worse than sufficiently many”, all of the interesting facts in the neighborhood would seem to be captured by an assessment of what stands in the better than relation to what. The same point goes if to be good is just to be better than a contextually set standard. But it has been held by many moral philosophers that an inventory of what is better than what would still leave something interesting and important out: what is good.” ref
“If this is right, then it is one important motivation for denying that “good” can be understood in terms of “better”. But it is important to be careful about this kind of argument. Suppose, for example, that, as is commonly held about “tall”, the relevant comparison class or standard for “good” is somehow supplied by the context of utterance. Then to know whether “that is good” is true, you do need to know more than all of the facts about what is better than what — you also need to know something about the comparison class or standard that is supplied by the context of utterance. The assumption that “good” is context-dependent in this way may therefore itself be just the kind of thing to explain the intuition which drives the preceding argument.” ref
“Traditional axiology seeks to investigate what things are good, how good they are, and how their goodness is related to one another. Whatever we take the “primary bearers” of value to be, one of the central questions of traditional axiology is that of what stuffs are good: what is of value.” ref
“In the social sciences, value theory involves various approaches that examine how, why, and to what degree humans value things and whether the object or subject of valuing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. Within philosophy, it is also known as ethics or axiology.” Moreover, such value thinking traditionally, in philosophical investigations in value theory, have sought to understand the concept of “the good“. Today, some work in value theory has trended more towards empirical sciences, recording what people do value and attempting to understand why they value it in the context of psychology, sociology, and economics.” ref
“In other fields, value theory involves various theories positing the importance of values as an analytical independent variable (including those put forward by Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Jürgen Habermas). Classical examples of sociological traditions which deny or downplay the question of values are institutionalism, historical materialism (including Marxism), behaviorism, pragmatic-oriented theories, postmodern philosophy, and various Objectivist-oriented theories.” ref
“At the general level, with value theory, there is a difference between moral and natural goods. Moral goods are those that have to do with the conduct of persons, usually leading to praise or blame. Natural goods, on the other hand, have to do with objects, not persons. For example, the statement “Mary is a good person” uses ‘good’ very differently than in the statement “That is good food”. Ethics is mainly focused on moral goods rather than natural goods, while economics has a concern in what is economically good for the society but not an individual person and is also interested in natural goods. However, both moral and natural goods are equally relevant to goodness and value theory, which is more general in scope.” ref
“It is useful to distinguish between instrumental and intrinsic values. This distinction is based on the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. First introduced by Plato in the “Republic”, an instrumental value is worth having as a means for getting something else that is good (e.g., a radio is instrumentally good in order to hear music). An intrinsically valuable thing, by contrast, is worth having for itself, not as a means to something else.” ref
“Intrinsic and instrumental goods do not constitute mutually exclusive categories: some things can be found to be both good (in themselves) while simultaneously being good for getting other things that have value. A prominent argument in environmental ethics, made by writers like Aldo Leopold and Holmes Rolston III, is that wild nature and healthy ecosystems have intrinsic value, prior to and apart from their instrumental value as resources for humans, and should therefore be preserved. This line of argument has been articulated further in recent years by Canadian philosopher John McMurtry within the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems published by UNESCO.” ref
“In sociology, value theory is concerned with personal values which are popularly held by a community, and how those values might change under particular conditions. Different groups of people may hold or prioritize different kinds of values influencing social behavior. Methods of study range from questionnaire surveys to participant observation. Values can be socially attributed. What the community perceives as of paramount significance to them denotes or decipher their social attributes.” ref
“Axiology is the philosophical study of value. It includes questions about the nature and classification of values and about what kinds of things have value. It is intimately connected with various other philosophical fields that crucially depend on the notion of value, like ethics, aesthetics, or philosophy of religion. It is also closely related to value theory and meta-ethics. The term was first used by Paul Lapie, in 1902, and Eduard von Hartmann, in 1908.” ref
“The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic value is central to axiology: something is intrinsically valuable if it is good in itself or good for its own sake. It is usually held that intrinsic value depends on certain features of the valuable entity. For example, an experience may be said to be intrinsically valuable in virtue of being pleasurable. Extrinsic value, by contrast, is ascribed to things that are valuable only as a means to something else. Substantive theories of value try to determine which entities have intrinsic value. Monist theories hold that there is only one type of intrinsic value.” ref
“The paradigm example of monist theories is hedonism, the thesis that only pleasure has intrinsic value. Pluralist theories, on the other hand, contend that there are various different types of intrinsic value, for example, virtue, knowledge, friendship, etc. Value pluralists face the problem of explaining whether or how the different types of value can be compared when making rational decisions. Some philosophers state that values do not exist on the most fundamental level of reality. One such view holds that a value statement about something just expresses the speaker’s approval or disapproval of this thing. This position is opposed by realists about value.” ref
Between the 5th and 6th centuries BC, it was important in Greece to be knowledgeable if you were to be successful. Philosophers began to recognize that differences existed between the laws and morality of society. Socrates believed that knowledge had a vital connection to virtue, making morality and democracy closely intertwined. Socrates‘ student, Plato furthered the belief by establishing virtues which should be followed by all.” ref
…typical Greek habit of thinking in axiological antitheses, of always wanting to decide which of two comparable activities, properties, or qualities is the higher, the better, the nobler or the more perfect. The Pythagoreans set the finite above the infinite, the odd above the even, the square above the rectangular, the male above the female. Plato never tires of arguing how much superior ideas are to appearance. Aristotle contrasts the imperfection of the sublunary sphere with the perfection of the celestial sphere. Thus uniform motion is also superior to non-uniform motion, a regular polyhedron is of greater value than any other polyhedron but is itself surpassed by the sphere.” ref
“With the fall of the government, values became individual, causing skeptic schools of thought to flourish, ultimately shaping an ontologically objective philosophy that is thought to have contributed to Christian Philosophy. During the medieval period, Thomas Aquinas made the distinction between natural and supernatural (theological) virtues. This concept led philosophers to distinguish between judgments based on fact and judgments based on values, creating the division between science and philosophy.” ref
“Traditionally, philosophers held that an entity has intrinsic value if it is good in itself or good for its own sake. Intrinsic value is contrasted with extrinsic or instrumental value, which is ascribed to things that are valuable only as a means to something else. For example, tools like cars or microwaves are said to be extrinsically valuable by virtue of the function they perform, while the well-being they cause is intrinsically valuable, according to hedonism. The same entity can be valuable in different ways: some entities have both intrinsic and extrinsic values at the same time. Extrinsic values can form chains, in which one entity is extrinsically valuable because it is a means to another entity that is itself extrinsically valuable.” ref
“It is commonly held that these chains must terminate somewhere and that the endpoint can only be intrinsically valuable. The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic values is important for understanding various disagreements within axiology. Different substantive theories of value often agree on whether something, for example, “knowledge,” is valuable while disagreeing on whether the value in question is intrinsic or extrinsic.” ref
“The traditional conception of intrinsic value presented above has been criticized in contemporary philosophy on the grounds that it combines various distinct notions that are better discussed separately. One such contrast is between intrinsic and final values. On a more narrow conception, an intrinsic value is a value an entity has in virtue of its intrinsic properties. For example, assuming that the phenomenal aspect of a pleasant experience is an intrinsic property, we might say that the experience is intrinsically valuable because of this intrinsic property. An entity with final value, by contrast, is valuable for its own sake.” ref
“It is usually accepted that there is a conceptual difference between intrinsic and final values. For example, the pleasure experience may be said to be intrinsically valuable on the one hand, and finally valuable on the other hand. But it has been disputed whether there are actual things where these value types can come apart. Proposed candidates for bearers of final non-intrinsic value include unique or rare items (e.g. a stamp) or historically significant items (e.g. the pen that Abraham Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation). Being-rare and having-been-used-by-someone are extrinsic properties that may be responsible for their bearers having final value, i.e. being valuable for their own sake.” ref
“Some philosophers have questioned whether extrinsic values should be regarded as values at all rather than as mere indications of values. One reason for considering this idea is that adding or removing extrinsically valuable things does not affect the value of the whole if all intrinsically valuable things are kept constant. For example, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake had a negative extrinsic value because of all the damage it caused. But arguably, the world would not have been a better place if exactly the same damage had been caused without the earthquake.” ref
“Axiological ethics is concerned with the values which we hold our ethical standards and theories up to. It questions what, if any, basis exists for such values. Through doing so, it explores the justification for our values, and examines if there is any beyond arbitrary preference. While axiological ethics can be considered a subfield within the branch of ethics, it also draws in thought from other fields of philosophy, such as epistemology and value theory.” ref
“To understand axiological ethics, an understanding of axiology and ethics is necessary.” ref
“Axiology is understood as the philosophical study of ‘goodness’ or value. It is concerned with two main areas of question. The first is in regards to defining and exploring understandings of ‘the good’ or value. This includes, for example, the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values. The second area is the application of such understandings of value to a variety of fields within the social sciences and humanities.” ref
“Ethics is a philosophical field which is concerned with morality, and in particular, the conduction of the right action. The defining of what the ‘right’ action is influenced by axiological thought in itself, much like the defining of ‘beauty’ within the philosophical branch of aesthetics.” ref
“Axiological ethics can be understood as the application of axiology onto the study of ethics. It is concerned with questioning the moral grounds on which we base ethical judgments on. This is done through questioning the values in which ethical principles are grounded on. Once there is recognition and understanding of the underlying values hidden within ethical claims, they can be assessed and critiqued. Through breaking ethics down to an examination of values, rather than the good, morality can be reconstructed based on redefined values or confirmed on already set values.” ref
“Franz Brentano‘s descriptive psychology constitutes an important precursor of axiological ethics. He classifies all mental phenomena into three groups: representations, judgments, and phenomena of love. Of particular interest for axiological ethics are phenomena of love since they constitute the basis for our knowledge of values: an object has value if it is fitting to love this object. This insight into what is good then informs the discipline of ethics: “the right end consists in the best of what is attainable.” ref
“Max Scheler, one of the main founders of axiological ethics, agrees with Brentano that experience is a reliable source for the knowledge of values. Scheler, following the phenomenological method, holds that this knowledge is not just restricted to particular cases but that we can gain insight a priori into the essence of values. This insight reveals that there are different types of values, which form a hierarchy from lower to higher values: pleasure, useful, noble, good, and true and beautiful, sacred. This order is essential to ethics: we ought to promote the higher values rather than the lower ones in our actions. The order of values is objective but our perception of this order is subjective and may therefore be distorted. Such distortions may lead us to prefer the lower values to the higher ones.” ref
“Nicolai Hartmann builds in many important aspects on Scheler’s axiological ethics. He also provides a platonist metaphysics of values, complementing the intuitive insight a priori into values. John Niemeyer Findlay, a moral philosophy and metaphysics professor at Yale University, wrote Axiological Ethics in 1970. Findlay’s book is a modern historical account of academic discussion around axiological ethics. As such, it contains discussion of other philosophers’ and his own concluding remarks regarding the topic. Findlay advocates for inquiry into values behind ethical theories and what justifications exist for them. Through assessing the thoughts of his academic peers, Findlay’s final thoughts on the topic is that an objective justification for values would be unlikely. Rather, since validation is recognized as coming from the subject, values would have to be assessed internally.” ref
“Proponents of axiological ethics often contrast their views with both Kantian ethics and eudaimonism. Kantian ethics is rejected mainly on grounds of its formalism, which is exemplified e.g. in Kant’s formulation of the categorical imperative: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”. The main criticism of ethical formalism is that it tries to define right action in purely formal terms without reference to whether the resulting action is valuable in any sense. It ignores that our actions are guided by various values which we try to realize. The critique of eudaimonism is not that it ignores values altogether but that its view of what is valuable is too narrow. Our actions should be guided by a wide variety of values, including promoting pleasure and avoiding pain, but also other values like health, beauty, etc. This can be seen in Scheler’s hierarchy of values, in which only one level of values, the lowest, is reserved for pleasure and pain.” ref
Axiology and the Morality Realms of Any Moral Reasoner’s Connections
Reasoned Axiological thinking on morality realms, of any moral reasoner’s connections, and the moral weight they could motivate or affect in any assessed or concluded valuation, they use in making an ultimate choice of behavior. The axiological Valuation approach to moral decision-making would likely use an Ecological Systems Theory modal. And in order to conceptualize “value” you need to understand the environmental contexts, five ecological systems:
- Individual: Usually highest value, though for some people, family members may have the same or higher value than themself.
- Microsystem: Usually the next highest value is placed with the closest relationships to an individual and encompasses interpersonal relationships and direct interactions with immediate surroundings, for example, family members or friends of friends.
- Mesosystem: Usually includes close to semi-close relationships, for example, family friends or friends of friends.
- Exosystem: Usually only involves things such as semi or not directly involved individuals, for example, people at one’s job, people at places you frequent, then moving out and lessening in assessed value as it goes to further removed or extended networks of connectedness or relatedness. Such as the likely value distinctions in the value of the people in one’s city, the people in one’s state, the people in one’s geographic location, region, and/or county, then their perceived home or chosen country.
- Macrosystem: Usually involving all other people outside their likely value distinctions in the value of the people in one’s city, the people in one’s state, the people in one’s geographic location, region, and/or county, then their perceived home or chosen country. Others not often even acknowledged or if assess generally not as favored as the known. As we seem to hold a tendency to overreact with fear at the different or unknown or even the unfamiliar. What we don’t understand, we come to fear. What we fear we learn to hate and often what we hate we seek to destroy. Thus, for clear thinking and ultimately good acting, we should fight such destructive fear. This area of connectedness relates to its farthest possible extent involving the entire world.
Ecological systems theory
“Ecological systems theory (also called development ‘ relationships within communities and the wider society. The theory is also commonly referred to as the ecological/systems framework. It identifies five environmental systems with which an individual interacts.” ref
- “Microsystem: Refers to the institutions and groups that most immediately and directly impact the child’s development including: family, school, religious institutions, neighborhood, and peers.” ref
- “Mesosystem: Consists of interconnections between the microsystems, for example between the family and teachers or between the child’s peers and the family.” ref
- “Exosystem: Involves links between social settings that do not involve the child. For example, a child’s experience at home may be influenced by their parent’s experiences at work. A parent might receive a promotion that requires more travel, which in turn increases conflict with the other parent resulting in changes in their patterns of interaction with the child.” ref
- “Macrosystem: Describes the overarching culture that influences the developing child, as well as the microsystems and mesosystems embedded in those cultures. Cultural contexts can differ based on geographic location, socioeconomic status, poverty, and ethnicity. Members of a cultural group often share a common identity, heritage, and values. Macrosystems evolve across time and from generation to generation.” ref
- “Chronosystem: Consists of the pattern of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as changing socio-historical circumstances. For example, researchers have found that the negative effects of divorce on children often peak in the first year after the divorce. By two years after the divorce, family interaction is less chaotic and more stable. An example of changing sociohistorical circumstances is the increase in opportunities for women to pursue a career during the last thirty years.” ref
“Later work by Bronfenbrenner considered the role of biology in this model as well; thus the theory has sometimes been called the Bioecological model. Per this theoretical construction, each system contains roles, norms, and rules which may shape psychological development. For example, an inner-city family faces many challenges which an affluent family in a gated community does not, and vice versa. The inner-city family is more likely to experience environmental hardships, like crime and squalor. On the other hand, the sheltered family is more likely to lack the nurturing support of extended family.” ref
“Since its publication in 1979, Bronfenbrenner’s major statement of this theory, The Ecology of Human Development has had widespread influence on the way psychologists and others approach the study of human beings and their environments. As a result of his groundbreaking work in human ecology, these environments — from the family to economic and political structures — have come to be viewed as part of the life course from childhood through adulthood.” ref
“Bronfenbrenner has identified Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky and German-born psychologist Kurt Lewin as important influences on his theory. Bronfenbrenner’s work provides one of the foundational elements of the ecological counseling perspective, as espoused by Robert K. Conyne, Ellen Cook, and the University of Cincinnati Counseling Program. There are many different theories related to human development. Human ecology theory emphasizes environmental factors as central to development.” ref
*Philosophic Axiology (Value Theory)
*Scientific Axiology (Formal Axiology)
Axiological atheism can be thought to involve ethical/value theory reasoned and moral argument-driven apatheism, ignosticism, atheism, anti-theism, anti-religionism, secularism, and humanism. The valuations move up the latter as the levels of evaluation is made to value judge all the elements to better understand the value or disvalue available to reach the most accurate valuation reasonable with a sound aware value conciseness. Axiological atheism can be thought to involve Ethical Atheism. Below shows the 7 axiological atheism argument flow to show the value layers and my thoughts on it:
1. Apatheism: starts at real, we are born and by the fact reality is devoid of magic removes theological desires to understand the obvious naturalistic world, until we learn otherwise. (a “presumptive-value” failure, thus no motivation to adequately start the evaluation needed to understand if there is real value for an Axiology assessment to accurately place it in the value hierarchy). = no value
2. Ignosticism: sees theological arguments and language as equivocation, contradictory, and/or un-cognitively relatable other than emotionalism or the like. I see Ignosticism as using the Theological non-cognitivism arguments of “mind understanding issues” (rationalism challenging) and an evidentialist/verificationist arguments of “lacking evidence issues” (empiricism challenging). As an atheist, I am a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of god or gods. In my non-belief, I am also ignostic feeling that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of god(s). As an ignostic, I am a person who rational no idea of anything from reality whatever to label as “a concept of god” thus I can say I have no idea of anything that can connect to the term god and no reason to think anyone else can either. (again a “presumptive-value” failure, no good Ontology of the thing for Identifying values that could influence belief but without what is needed to understand if there is real value for an axiology assessment to accurately place it in the value hierarchy). = no value
3. Atheism: How can we not reject the concept of gods, aka: supposed supreme magical beings, when not even some simple magic is supported in reality. So how then is it not even more ridiculous to claim some supreme magic aka: gods which are even further from reality. May I remind you that faith in the acquisition of knowledge is not a valid method worth believing in. Because, what proof is “faith”, of anything religion claims by faith, as many people have different faith even in the same religion? As an atheist, I am a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of god or gods. In my non-belief, I am also ignostic feeling that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of god(s). As an ignostic, I am a person who rational no idea of anything from reality whatever to label as “a concept of god” thus I can say I have no idea of anything that can connect to the term god and no reason to think anyone else can either. Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure or a firefighter talking about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victim’s of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions. If you think you believe in a god, “what do you mean by god,” saying a name tells me not one thing about the thing I am asking to know “its” beingness / thingness / attributes / qualities. Thus, what is the thing “god” to which you are talking about and I want you to explain its beingness /thingness / attributes/ qualities? Religious/theistic people with supernatural beliefs often seem as though they haven’t thought much about and that is something we can help using ontology questions about the beingness / thingness / attributes/ qualities they are trying to refer too. What do you mean by god, when you use the term god? And, I am not asking you for the name you attach to the thing you label as a god. I don’t need to know what the god you believe is known “by.” I am asking, what is the thing you are naming as a god and what that thing is, its qualities in every detail like all things have if they are real. Are you just making stuff up or guessing/hoping or just promoting unjustified ideas you want to believe, what is a god? As an atheist, I feel more wonder than I did as a theist because I thought, “big deal” to any wonder I experienced, thinking god could do anything. So with such an unrealistic mindset, everything lost its wonder but it’s the opposite as an atheist. As a theist, the world was full of superstitions and supernatural magic possibilities and thus utilized thinking that was not in the real world. As an atheist all I have now is the real world, not that all atheists seem to get this, we all are in a real world devoid of magic anything, therefore, everything adds to my feeling of awe. There should be little debate with atheist acknowledging discernable reality compared to theists with non-reality claims. Yes, I have way more awe and wonder as an atheist than I ever had as a theist because as a theist anything was possible with god. Therefore, as a theist things where not that amazing. However, as an atheist grasping what an absolute accidental or how random things are, with a 95 to 99 % of all life ever existing on this planet went extinct. I am thoroughly amazed we are even here the evolved children of ancient exploded stars, likely born in galaxies born in super-massive black holes, it’s all amazing. There is no evidence for Gods. But is their proposition outside of reason? As always start in reality from the evidence we do know, such as never in the history of scientific research or investigation has any supernatural claims shown to be true. So it is completely outside of possibility and is utterly ridiculous. Therefore, belief should be rejected as there are no warrants at all and it is axiologically unworthy to such a preponderance to demand disbelief. (yet again a “presumptive value” failure, no good Ontology of the thing not the cognitively meaningful claims relatable to reality that must be attached to all magic and gods claims for Identifying values that could influence belief but without what is needed to understand if there is real value for an axiology assessment to accurately place it in the value hierarchy).
4. Antitheism: Anti-theism requires more than either merely disbelieving in gods or even denying the existence of gods. Anti-theism requires a couple of specific and additional beliefs: first, that theism is harmful to the believer, harmful to society, harmful to politics, harmful, to culture, etc.; second, that theism can and should be countered in order to reduce the harm it causes. If a person believes these things, then they will likely be an anti-theist who works against theism by arguing that it be abandoned, promoting alternatives, or perhaps even supporting measures to suppress it. It’s worth noting here that, however, unlikely it may be in practice, it’s possible in theory for a theist to be an anti-theist.This may sound bizarre at first, but remember that some people have argued in favor of promoting false beliefs if they are socially useful. To me, I think many may have a misconception of the term. Atheism and anti-theism so often occur together at the same time and in the same person that it’s understandable if many individuals fail to realize that they aren’t the same. Making a note of the difference is important, however, because not every atheist is anti-theistic and even those who are, aren’t anti-theistic all the time. Atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods; anti-theism is a conscious and deliberate opposition to theism.Many atheists are also anti-theists, but not all and not always. To me as an antitheist, I see the concept of gods antihumanistic and wholly harmful to a free humanity and if the so-called gods somehow do end up being real that I will switch to direct opposition as I would any tyrant oppressing humanity. Antitheism (sometimes anti-theism) is a term used to describe an opposition to theism. The term has had a range of applications and definitions. In secular contexts, it typically refers to direct opposition to the validity of theism, but not necessarily to the existence of a deity. As an anti-theist, I am a person who is active in opposition to theism: both the concepts of god(s) as well as the religions that support them.This is because theistic concepts and theistic religions are harmful and that even if theistic beliefs were true, they would be undesirable. (And, again a “presumptive value” failure, of the other value challenges of the lesser evaluations and value judgments addressed in the apatheism, ignosticism, atheism value judgment conclusion and an Axiological Atheism assessment of the god concept that must be attached to all magic and gods claims Identifying a lack of value and/or disvalue that influence harm to real value in an axiology assessment to accurately place its value violations in the value hierarchy).
5. Antireligionism: Not just Atheist, axiological atheists should be antitheists but this generally will involve anti-religionism. it would generally thus hold anti-religionist thinking. Especially, I am an anti-religionist, not just an atheist, and here is why summed up in three ideas I am against. And, in which these three things are common in all religions: “pseudo-science”, “pseudo-history”, and “pseudo-morality”. And my biggest thing of all is the widespread forced indoctrination of children, violating their free choice of what to not believe or believe, I hate forced hereditary religion. And my biggest thing of all is the widespread forced indoctrination of children, violating their free choice of what to not believe or believe, I hate forced hereditary religion. As well as wish to offer strong critiques regarding the pseudo-meaning of the “three letter noise” people call “G.o.d” (group originated delusion)!As an anti-religionist, I am a person who can look at religion on the whole and see it is detrimental to the progress of humanity thus am in opposition to all and every religion, not even just opposition to organized religion. In case you were wondering, I am anti-pseudoscience, anti-supernatural, and anti-superstition as well. May I not be a silent watcher as millions of children are subjugated almost before their birth let alone when they can understand thought and are forcibly coerced, compelled, constrained, and indoctrinated in the mental pollution that religion can be. My main goal against religion is to fully stop as much as possible forced indoctrination, one could ask but then why do I challenge all adults faith?Well, who do you think is doing the lying to children in the first place. End Hereditary religion, if its a belief let them the equal right to choose to believe. “Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings… (And, one last time a “presumptive value” failure, of the other value challenges of the lesser evaluations and value judgments addressed in the apatheism, ignosticism, atheism value judgment conclusion and an Axiological Atheism assessment of the god concept and anti-theism assessment of the god show not just a lack of value but a possibly or likely harm demonstrating bot just a lack of value but a real disvalue and that includes the religions potentially removing value in an axiology assessment to accurately place it in the value hierarchy).
6. Secularism: is the only honorable way to value the dignity of others. If it was not true that there is a large unequal distribution of religion contributing to violence then there would be equal religion and atheist secularism violence. You do not see atheists bombing agnostics the very idea is laughable however even different branches of the same religion do will and have killed one another. So, violence not who we are it’s something we need to be compelled to do. Therefore, please support secularism. We are all one connected human family, proven by DNA showing we should treat each other as fellow dignity beings, supported equally (no gods and no masters). States may often have powers, but only citizens have the glue of morality we call rights. And, as they say, in my “dream society”, lots of things are free (aka. planting free food everywhere, free to everyone); but I wonder what you mean when people say you can’t just let things be free, I think, yeah, how can I take free stuff from a free earth.If one observes the virtues of (T. R. U. E. “The Rational Universal Ethics” or “The Responsible Universal Ethics”) that connect to all things as that of the connectedness equality like those which mirror the rays of the sun, fall down equally with a blind but fair indifference. (what is being expressed is that this sun shining will not favor one over another, no, the same upon everyone offering its light to all plant, animal, human, women, men, single or married, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, nonreligious, religious, people of means and those without, able-bodied and those which special needs, people of color, and those who are not, those with access to resources and those which out, young and elderly, etc.) All who wish to follow T. R. U. E. thus embodying a universalize equalitarian standard of ethics should strive to be like a ray of connected light to the world, shining equally and freedom to all of the world by such efforts a nonbiased unitive ethical approach is possible, one would have an increase in positive feelings to help others understanding equalitarian connectedness. If you don’t think different you will not behave differently, if you have never lived differently it is hard to see things differently and if you do not strive to understand difference one is thus unknowingly or not bound by limited encapsulation. I am for a Free Secular Society. I am not for oppression or abuse of religious believer and want a free secular society with both freedoms of religion and freedom from religion. Even though I wish the end of faith and believing in myths and superstition, I wish this by means of informing the willing and not force of the unwilling. I will openly challenge and rebuff religious falsehoods and misunderstanding as well as rebuke and ridicule harmful or unethical religious ideology or behavior.
7. Humanism: is the philosophic thinking that humans can solve human problems by human means, without feeling a need to appeal to the likes of holy books, mystical anything, nor the belief in gods or religions. But, instead, aspires to a true belief in humanity, viewing it with a persuasion of equality. This caring realist thinking found in humanism utilizes an unstated assumption or aspiration, to do no harm as much as possible and to do good whenever one can.Moreover, we are all one connected human family, proven by DNA showing we should treat each other as fellow dignity beings, supported equally. And, no one really owns the earth, we may make claims to it even draw lines on maps thinking this makes the fantasy borders, illusion supported by force and the potential for threat. Thus the ethical truth is we need to share the earth as communally as possible. And use the resources as safe and ethically as possible striving towards sharing and caring. (do no Harm and do good = Humanism). My core definition of humanism is that humans can solve human problems by human means. I am not saying other things can’t or shouldn’t be added to it but to me, a definition of humanism must always contain something coherent to such a thinking or not contradict such as I have offered. Thus, why it is appropriate to say “good without god” when one is a humanist.
While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.
The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:
Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!
Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)
Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO
Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO
Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO
Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO
Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO
Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO
Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO
Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO
I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.
The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.
An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”
My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?
I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.
I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.
The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”
Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.
Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?
Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reached its height of empathy? I as everyone earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.
I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist but I am happy to tell you my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.
Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.
At the same time of the rise of the male god 7,000 years ago was also the very time there was the rise of violence war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago and it mover across the world.
The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)
Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticalcory
The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.”
He needs our support. We rise by helping each other.
Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.
Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”
Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):
Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism