Value is one of the fundamental conceptual universals of philosophy, meaning in the most general form the unverbalizable, “atomic” components of the deepest layer of the whole intentional structure of the personality – in the unity of the objects of its aspirations (aspect of the future). The special experience-possession (aspect of the present) and the storage of its “wealth” in the recesses of the heart (the aspect of the past) – which constitute its inner world as “a unique subjective being.” The historical and logical contamination of the philosophical concept of value and the basic category of political economy – “value”, on the one hand, and its proximity to other concepts. That mark the intentionality of the individual – above all, the good and the goal, on the other, makes it difficult to “isolate” the notion of value in its historical development.
Ancient appreciation of value
One of the first philosophical texts in which the philosophical concept of value already begins to separate from the idea of value. Being indicated by the same word (ἀξία), we can consider the passage in the pseudo-Platonic dialogue “Hipparchus” (231 e-232 a), where almost The first attempt in the history of philosophy to compare the volumes of “valuable” and “good.” The volume of the first is wider than the second; in the terminology of this dialogue, the “good” is included in the “valuable”, but includes, in comparison with it, an additional characteristic – to bring real benefits, to have real benefits. “Good” is something valuable, which in addition to profitability has utility, “simply valuable” – only profitable, “not valuable” – devoid of profitability. In the early dialogue of Plato “Lysidus”, the distribution of ethical parameters is planned, which predetermines almost the entire future space of ancient arguments about value: “some three sorts – good, bad and the third is neither good nor bad” (216 d-217 b). The latter is more precise and terminologized in Gorgia: it is designated as the indifferent – adiaphora (ἀδιαφορα). In the “Laws” Plato distinguishes between the values of the ordinary order (mental, physical, external) and the value of the second order, “meta-value,” the presence of which determines the value of the most valuable.
In Aristotle, the comparative value of goods is correlated with the category of the goal: more valuable is the benefit that is closer to the goal; of two things more valuable is that which is such not only for me but for “in general.” In the Nicomachean Ethics, words derived from ἀξία are used to denote self-esteem (αξίωμα) or virtue “dignity” (ἄξιόν). Vocabulary, associated with “value”, “valued”, “valuable”, goes back to the word (τϊμῄ) (“price”). Philosophy, according to Aristotle, is “the title science of what is most valuable”, and therefore it represents the unity of scientific knowledge and “the comprehension of the most valuable by the mind of things.”
The idea of adiaphora is accepted not only among academicians but also in Peripatetics and Cynics. In detail, it is developed only in the Stoics. Zeno of China’s “indifferent” is neutral with respect to the ultimate goal of the moral good – but it is not “indifferent” to its comparative value (ἀξία). The corresponding “nature” (health, beauty, wealth) is valuable or “preferred” (προηλμενον), the opposite – deprived of value or “unpredictable” (ἀποπροηλμενον). At the same time, Zeno believes that the good itself has “the highest value”. In general, according to Diogenes Laertius, the word “value” means the early Stoics:
- the intrinsic promotion of a coherent life,
- the benefit of promoting life according to nature,
- the ordinary exchange value of the goods (VII 105).
Chrysippus insisted on the fundamental differences between good and value: the first is invariable and cannot, unlike the second, allow increments or decreases. Value is not allowed into the realm of good; there can not be anything that is ruled by him between good and evil. At the time of Chrysippus there is the systematization of the “indifferent”, as evidenced by Diogenes Laertius (VII 102-105 Wed Sextus Empiricus: Against Scientists XI 59-63, Pyrrhonic Provisions III 177, 191-192). Panetius of Rhodes, who discovered the era of the Middle Stoa, fundamentally modifies the concept of good by including in it “natural values” (health, beauty). According to skeptics, there is nothing of value by nature for the lack of actually “indifferent”, as there is also no natural good and evil.
In the ancient approaches to the category of value, the modern axiological problem is already primarily anticipated. At the same time, the classical category of value was deprived of “personalism” because of the absence in the ancient philosophy as a whole of even the most personal anthropology. The Middle Ages proved to be valuable in their sense “dark ages”. Although the Latin correlate of the Greek ἀξία – aestimatio – has existed since the time of Cicero, in the West it was mastered mainly in its economic connotations. Scholastic thought explored in detail, relying on the “Nicomachean ethics” and the general Platonic-Aristotelian heritage, the “ontology of the good,” the hierarchical subordination of goods. The distinction of conditional benefits and the Unqualified blessing, but the inner world of the individual and the values that constituted him remained closed to it.
Modern interpretation of value
The “axiological” research of the ancients turned out to be overlooked by the new European philosophy, which had to reopen the value problems discovered a little by Zeno’s followers. Montaigne pointed to the subjective nature of value. Hobbes singled out the “value of the man”, which does not differ from its “value” and is its “price”, and “dignity” – the social value of a person, which is the “price” that the state gives him. Descartes saw the purpose of reason in establishing “the true value (valeur) of all goods.” “Value”, therefore, correlated with the world of the subject – with moral activity. It is necessary to know the true “price” of good and evil and be able to distinguish them; Our love and dislike for things are determined by how much they seem valuable to us, and not vice versa. Pascal distinguished among human dignities conditional (associated with social status and legitimized by “external ceremonies”) and natural (pertaining to the soul or body). He also owns the aphoristic phrase “order of the heart” (ordre du coer), meaning “the logic of the heart,” which does not coincide with the logic of reason but obeys its inscrutable laws. The future axiologist (Scheler) gave this expression of Pascal very great significance: here philosophy first recognized the rights after the mind and will also of the third, most secret area of the human soul – the heart as a hiding place of the realm of values. In one of Leibniz’s definitions, “the value is significant from the standpoint of the good” (the opposite is “empty”), the “significant” is something from which something “remarkable” follows, which in turn makes a great contribution or introducing “the primordial by nature.”
In English enlightenment, the appeal to “subjective being” passed under the recognition of the sphere of various senses in man. Sharing the value of things and the value (worth, merit) of the individual, Shaftesbury preferred the latter. The teachings of Shaftesbury were systematized by F.Hatcheson, who shared two main “feelings” – “moral feeling”, which is the only reliable source of judgments about good and evil, and “inner feeling” responsible for artistic perception. Unlike the representatives of ethical sentimentalism, proceeding from the absoluteness of the basic values, Mandeville followed a relativistic point of view and sought to show that the real measure of the “value and dignity” of things is a person seeking to satisfy his interests. “Moral sentiment” occupies an important place in the anthropology of Hume. Just like the sentimentalists, Hume saw the source of moral judgments and actions not in mind, but in the moral sense, in particular in philanthropy and justice. The latter constitutes the basis of all truly valuable moral motives. Considering separate examples of virtue and vice, the Scottish philosopher distinguishes between them “positive value” (merit) and “value negative” (demerit). Hume took a dual position on the “objectivity” of value:
- on the one hand, he argued that the objects themselves are devoid of any dignity and “their value is derived only from the affect”, that beauty and value are completely correlative with the possibility of causing “a pleasant feeling “In the subject;
- on the other – that objects have “own value”, there is “valuable in itself”.
Hume’s contribution to understanding the concept of value can be considered the most significant in this area of reflection for the entire pre-Kantian period. Among the most “provocative” steps of Hume, one should recognize the elucidation of the criteria for the value of moral actions and the distinction between “value-for-itself” and “value-for-another”. Lack of reasoning Hume was his understanding of the valuable as “natural”, “natural”, not allowing to understand the main thing – in what, in fact, the value of this valuable?
In the famous Encyclopaedia, or the Explanatory Dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Crafts (1765), in a special article – Valeur – there is a difference in value as the merit of things in themselves and in price as what is available for calculation. Values in the moral aspect are correlated with “the feeling generated by the desire for glory and recognition.”
Axiological problems also excited German educators. The famous pupil of X. Wolf Baumgarten singles out in his Metaphysics (1739) among human abilities and the ability of judgment or assessment (Beurtheilungsvermögen), responsible for the reception of everything perceived in terms of pleasure, displeasure, and indifference. He also introduces the notion of “aesthetic dignity” (Dignitas), in which the subjective and objective aspects differ: the first is identical to “aesthetic significance (gravitas)”. Sulzer introduces the concept of “value (Wert) aesthetic material”, which means everything that can attract the attention of the soul, to evoke a feeling. Crusius formulated the idea of a free human will – the source of moral obligation – as a universal and supreme value. The subject of the moral command as the supreme value is the ultimate and unconditional goal of moral behavior, in relation to which everything is a means (in that number happiness, good, bodily perfection). Contemporary Kant Tetens discusses the special states of the soul, which he, unlike sensations or “initial ideas”, calls feelings (Empfindnisse) – internal perceptions, “responsible” for pleasure, pleasure, joy, hope. They have for the subject a specific value and serve as the basis for his assessment of the relationship to external and internal objects. Following the feeling of pleasure, Tetens also defines universal appraisal concepts of truth, goodness, and beauty, the initial ones for any value judgments.
Value according to Kant
In the works of Kant, which constructs solutions to this problem on fundamentals just opposite to Hume’s: the value of moral actions is correlated not with the “natural” dispositions of the soul, like sympathy, but precisely with the counteraction that exerts to these arrangements guided by the mind. In the Fundamental Principle to Metaphysics of Manners (1785), he introduces the notion of “absolute value (Wert)” of pure goodwill. The criterion of this “absolute value” is that the true moral value is inherent only in those moral actions that are not even “in accordance with duty,” but only “in debt,” that is, from the desire to fulfill the moral law for the sake of the law itself. The action on the debt contains a moral value “not in intention”, which can be realized through it, but in the maxim, according to which the decision is made to perform this or that act, and therefore this value depends only on the very “will” principle, goals. Everything has only that value, which determines the moral law. Therefore, the value of the law itself is already an unconditional and incomparable value, to which the category of dignity (Würde) corresponds, which in turn should be given “respect” (Achtung). Only moral value determines the value of human individuality. In the world as a “realm of goals,” three levels of value reality are distinguishable:
- what has a market price (Marktpreis) – skill and diligence in work,
- what has an affective price (Affektionspreis) – wit, a living imagination, gayness,
- that which has dignity, intrinsic value (innere Wert) – moral actions and the human individualities themselves.
The axiological provisions of the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) develop the ideas of the “Foundations”. Representations of the individual regarding the value of their existence are based on a special sense of moral value. The truly moral mood of devotion to the law makes the intelligent being “worthy of participation in the supreme good, commensurate with the moral value of his personality”. The Critique of Judgment (1790) states that the category of value is relevant only to the ethical field. Pleasant, beautiful and good mean three different attitudes towards a sense of pleasure and displeasure. In each case, however, we are talking about various semantic modalities: pleasant – that which gives pleasure, beautiful – that which is pleasant, good – “that which is appreciated, approved, that is, what is seen as objective value.” Although Kant himself thus deduces an aesthetic beyond the bounds of value, it is stipulated that we attach value to our life through expedient activities (this is already an aesthetic field). His study of the judgments of taste allows, to a certain extent, to relate these problematics to the doctrine of value, since it is a matter of evaluative (though, indeed, not of value) judgments. So, a special paragraph of the first part of the “third criticism” is devoted to the problem: does the taste of taste predicate the feeling of pleasure in evaluating an object or vice versa? Kant justifies the second way to solve it, arguing that “it’s beautiful what you like only when you evaluate.” Aesthetic evaluation is an “evaluation without a concept,” and therefore the judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment. The aesthetic value of works of art is associated with the “culture” that they give the soul.
Thus, Kant succeeded in determining the value world as one that is created by the autonomous active entity itself. Value consciousness and value creativity are possible due to pure “practical reason”. Limitation of the value sphere by moral activity was the most courageous attempt in the history of philosophy to distinguish between the realms of value and natural existence. Another merit of Kant should be seen in the delineated hierarchy of the market price of things, the affective price of mental qualities and the “intrinsic value” -the self-free and autonomous personality. For the first time in the history of philosophy, value-in-itself becomes a synonym for the individual, and axiology receives a personification justification. Along with this, Kant brought to the doctrine of values and teleological perspective: the whole world exists for the sake of the value of the individual. The main significance of Kant’s “third criticism” is to be seen in the study of value judgments that reveal the most important feature of the aesthetic perception of reality as preceded by its evaluation. True, the rationalistic interpretation of Kant’s value left “unclaimed” the “order of the heart,” which is not limited to attitudes of selfless and autonomous will, no matter how sublime they are. The “formal” nature of moral value as following the formal categorical imperative left it extremely depleted in comparison with “matter” (content) of moral actions, the value of which Kant strongly denied. Nevertheless, noting the one-sidedness of the Kantian doctrine of value, one can not but recognize that they also opened up a theoretical space for those achievements of the future axiology, which to a large extent were realized due to their distance from them.
If Kant recognized as value only “sense of moral value”, then post-Kantian German philosophy as a whole expands this area, trying to move the value world from the will to the heart. True, Fichte insists that the value of the individual is determined by his activity (recognizing, however, that “life is absolute value” and meaning alone), and H.Hufeland sees in value first of all the property of things to mediate a reasonable human goal-setting. However, F. Bunde already believes that it is the feeling that is the principle of all value relations to objects that are based on emotional or reasonable pleasure, G. Schulze asserts that value judgments “appeal” to feelings and I.Freez – that feeling determines the value or non-value of things. F.Alliin begins to develop “axiological logic”, analyzing the value judgment in which the estimated forms the subject, and the expression of the evaluation – in the form of praise or blame – a predicate. Herbart studied estimated judgments (in which the object is approved or not approved), contrasting them with theoretical judgments and differentiating the esthetic and ethical ones. Benecke, who wrote mainly in the 1830s trying to establish ethics on a value sense, asserted that we value things based on their contribution to the “upsurge” and “decline” of our inner feelings. This assistance can be of three stages: immediate, in the imagination and reproduction as desires, as pleasures, which form the “frame of mind” and the basis of actions.