Unit 1: Foundations
System of Values
The English word 'value' comes from the Latin word 'valere' which means worth or esteem. When we talk about the value of a thing, such as a car or a house, we are speaking about how much money we would be willing to pay for that car or house. In other words, the value we place on something is equivalent to the sacrifice we are willing to make for that thing. In understand our value system therefore, several things need to be taken into consideration: first, how much would I pay (not literally in terms of money only, but also in terms of time, energy, self). Secondly, we need to consider whether or not the amount I am prepared to pay is really equivalent to the value of thing I seek.
Read more about Max Scheler at the New World Encyclopedia here >
Scheler argued that values were objective, unchanging , a priori, and non-formal, and ranked them, and their opposites (“disvalues”), in a hierarchy of five levels:
1. Values of pleasure vs. disvalues of displeasure: Namely pleasure to pain (values of sensible feeling).
2. Values of vitality and of the noble vs. disvalues of the ignoble: Namely noble to vulgar (values of vital feeling).
3. Values of the mind (truth, beauty, justice vs. disvalues of their opposites): Namely beautiful to ugly, just to unjust, pure knowledge of truth (spiritual values).
4. Values of the holy vs. disvalues of the unholy: Namely holy to unholy (religious values).
5. Values of utility vs. disvalues of the useless.
Further Reading: Scheler
Read academic articles on Scheler's phenomenology of values from Reserach Gate:
Use the forms and links in this section to evaluate your thinking on personality, values, and more.