Thursday, August 10, 2006

Four Value Systems

There are four systems of values which are, in my opinion, worth discussing within the context of universality; those are: Innate values (intrinsic values of survival and reproduction), doctrinal values (political/ideological/religious), aesthetic values (beauty/ugliness), and ethical values (moral/immoral, right/wrong). There are two others, which are too abstract to be relevant ever, those are passive values (those which apply to things that don´t exist), and potential values (those which would apply to something that could potentially exist).

It´s easy to say that aesthetics are not necessarily universal among people and cultures - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc. One man´s junk is another man´s gold, or whatever.

Innate values are of course the easiest ones to defend as being universal. Humans are biologically all the same, we have a natural need to prolong our experience, whether during life or through to the after-life. We will do anything that it takes to protect ourselves, and our own interests. Onlywhen self-preservation is assured, do we become altruistic in our actions.

The tough ones are ethical values and doctrinal values. The postmodern ethos would have an easy way to answer my previous question, because it would deny objective qualities to either ethics or doctrine, allowing the most horrible perversions of both, and because these perversions have been committed to historical record, it would seem that postmodernism would answer that no, there are no universal values.

I know that there are some objections. To innate values for example: Homosexual couples may not have a desire to reproduce...But is that only because of present logistical issues? Perhaps there are ways to circumvent those issues. To ethical values for another example: A man may believe that it is wrong to kill another man under all circumstances save war or other self-defence, but in a fit of jealous rage might kill his wife´s lover....But is that because he truly lacks value, or because he has not enough integrity to uphold his values? Or perhaps, in both cases, perhaps the individuals in question have these values, but have other, stronger values that override the others. In any case, I may be digressing by raising these objections....

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