• Shawn
    12.7k
    The thesis statement of this thread is that axiology (the study of value) is the highest good.

    Do you agree with this statement? How do you understand the association between value and what is good? How are they related to one another?

    Thanks!
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    The thesis statement of this thread is that axiology (the study of value) is the highest good.Shawn
    Your thesis statement is circular at best (e.g. the study of value is 'the highest value' :roll:).
  • Shawn
    12.7k


    If what you're saying is that of what is of "value" and "good" are one and the same, then I would disagree.
  • Outlander
    1.9k
    What is good, though? Value as in, intrinsic quality but in a taxonomical sense, whether that quality is good or bad or neither. Something can have an extremely high value of "indistinctiveness" or ambiguity, rather, couldn't it? So, essentially traits and characteristics and their levels of is what "value" refers to here?

    Seems easy to get lost in semantics. A critic might suggest why not have the study of the value of studying the value of a study of value while your at it. Or something along the lines of suggesting all philosophy relates to the characteristics or lack thereof of things and ideas as such is what constitutes a definition which is required for any form of understanding. Or am I way off here? What is your take, bearing those possibly warranted critiques in mind?
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    What is good, though?Outlander

    According to Harry Frankfurter and Hume (the respectable late philosopher), the highest good seems to be 'love'.

    Value as in, intrinsic quality but in a taxonomical sense, whether that quality is good or bad or neither. Something can have an extremely high value of "indistinctiveness" or ambiguity, rather, couldn't it? So, essentially traits and characteristics and their levels of is what "value" refers to here?Outlander

    Well, I think the confusion can be mitigated about the quality of value by asserting that it exists in degrees of greatness, yes? So, if love is something we value, then I believe that it seems to exist in a category of its own.

    Seems easy to get lost in semantics.Outlander

    I don't think the disambiguation or delineating what is good and what is of value is entirely a semantic issue. Again, if you want to go in this direction I believe in the very subjectivity of 'value' is to be associated with relativism or postmodernism if that's how you want this discussion to shape into...
  • Outlander
    1.9k
    According to Harry Frankfurter (the respectable late philosopher), the highest good seems to be 'love'.Shawn

    A solid statement to make, assuredly. But what is love in this sense? By most definitions it alludes to a feeling of admiration that transcends (is devoid of any and all or is otherwise operating outside of the realm of) logic. If this is true, how useful is such a quality in philosophy, really? Does it not make philosophical discourse into little more than a game of favorites based on transient states of favor not fixed in any deeper absolute truth or concrete value?

    Well, I think the confusion can be mitigated about the quality of value by asserting that it exists in degrees of greatness, yes? So, if love is something we value, then I believe that it seems to exist in a category of its own.Shawn

    Value is certainly, in most cases, non-binary, I agree. I'm semi-artistic, but nothing at all in comparison to others. One can be a tad miffed at something just as one can be overwhelmingly infuriated, yes. A sign can be reddish-purple or flat out bright red. A person can be a bit misdirected and misguided without being flat out lost and bumbling around mindlessly, etc, etc. However, one cannot be "a little bit" pregnant, for example. Rough example but a valid one of a quality that is in fact binary or otherwise limited to a dual state of either "committed" or not. But for most conceptual things, I would agree.

    Could there not be different types of a single value each with varying degrees, though? Take love, for example. There's platonic, romantic, and one other I believe. You could love someone as a brother but hate them as a friend, no?

    I don't think the disambiguation or delineating what is good and what is of value is entirely a semantic issue. Again, if you want to go in this direction I believe in the very subjectivity of 'value' is to be associated with relativism or postmodernism if that's how you want this discussion to delve into...Shawn

    Just my personal difficulty in understanding the concept as I believe it to be intended, is all. Nothing more. :smile:

    If you could replace 'value' with a single word, what would it be? Worth? (to whom?) Characteristic? (intrinsic and absolute or circumstantial based on social or environmental factors?) Something else?

    I enjoy your threads as they're often brief and to the point, allowing even those ignorant of common philosophical models and -isms such as myself room to jump in and postulate from a beginner's frame of mind comfortably in between other mentally-taxing tasks. Looks like I may have gotten a bit over eager on this one, however.
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    But what is love in this sense? By most definitions it alludes to a feeling of admiration that transcends (is devoid of any and all or is otherwise operating outside of the realm of) logic. If this is true, how useful is such a quality in philosophy, really?Does it not make philosophical discourse into little more than a game of favorites based on transient states of favor not fixed in any deeper absolute truth or concrete value?Outlander

    It seems like a deep question, rather very deep. According to relativists and postmodernists, to the best of my knowledge, there are very few absolute truth's. But, I will list something that might seem perplexing... Namely, if economics is the domain where value is defined, in terms of a unit of value (such as money), then why the hell are things this way? Why do Westerners seem like sheer materialists in terms of professing what they believe as what is valuable or concrete value? Does that make some sense, because I find it hard to believe...

    Could there not be different types of a single value each with varying degrees, though? Take love, for example. There's platonic, romantic, and one other I believe. You could love someone as a brother but hate them as a friend, no?Outlander

    Yes, there are degrees of value. Just referencing Wiki here; but, there seems to be no consensus on what philosophers denote as what is value. The best we have to agree on is probably money. Again sheer materialism, right?

    If you could replace 'value' with a single word, what would it be? Worth? (to whom?) Characteristic? (intrinsic and absolute or circumstantial based on social or environmental factors?) Something else?Outlander

    I think methodological nominalism forces be to conclude that it would have to be worth, given society and personal values where they get sorted out...

    I enjoy your threads as they're often brief and to the point, allowing even those ignorant of common philosophical models and -isms such as myself room to jump in and postulate from a beginner's frame of mind comfortably in between other mentally-taxing tasks. Looks like I may have gotten a bit over eager on this one, however.Outlander

    Thanks, looking forward to your posts.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    What's a highest good?

    If I were to say "Happiness is the highest good, because it leads to all the others", then how might you say the philosophical study of values is higher than that?
  • Barkon
    112
    Good is an exclamation of 'what is', evil is a choice question about 'what isn't'. You use evil to affect good in strange ways, otherwise good is a matter of predetermined behaviours that all ought to be moral but in cases where we are engaged with technology our predetermined behaviours can change for the worse.

    We're given a chance in, for example, our house, to redeem our natural, pre-tech-submission ,moral behaviour, you think passively as you conduct predetermined automation, you are confronted with impulses over your mind making you notice morality, and are either criminal or moral in mind.

    Tech submission is fine but it ups the game.
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    What's a highest good?Moliere

    What is of the highest good can only be defined by how you or a group of people value it, no?
  • Barkon
    112
    Mirrors and forces are in the image of evil and good.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    What is of highest good can only be defined by how you or a group of people value it, no?Shawn

    Not "What is of highest good?" -- I'm asking what would it count to be a "highest good" at all? Or, perhaps easier: Why axiology and not something else?


    The thesis statement of this thread is that axiology (the study of value) is the highest good.Shawn

    That's the thesis, but where's the reason for it?
  • Barkon
    112
    The greatest good is morality, the highest good is God.

    If God is literally the name of the driving force and mirror that allowed life to begin.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    That's the thesis, but where's the reason for it?Moliere

    A good question. :up:
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    Not "What is of highest good?" -- I'm asking what would it count to be a "highest good" at all?Moliere

    But, doesn't the situation that you are framing require us to have a way of qualifying what is good by appreciating it? Hence, the presupposition, to me, seems like we have to be able to value what is good in comparison with other goods to be able to appreciate it as a "good."
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    doesn't the situation that you are framing require us to have a way of qualifying what is good by appreciating it? Hence, the presupposition, to me, seems like we have to be able to value what is good in comparison with other goods to be able to appreciate it as a "good."Shawn

    That's the start of a reason, I think. I'm reading you as saying "Because we have to be able to value what is good in comparison with other goods to be able to appreciate it as a "good" " -- am I reading you right?
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    I'm reading you as saying "Because we have to be able to value what is good in comparison with other goods to be able to appreciate it as a "good" " -- am I reading you right?Moliere

    Yes, that's what I'm saying.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Sweet.

    OK, so rephrasing the thesis with justification:

    "The study of value is the highest good, because we have to be able to value what is good in comparison with other goods to be able to appreciate it as a "good" "

    So I'm wondering if the first meaning of "value" is the same as the second? Is the study of value becoming able to value what is good?

    Because I had been reading the thesis as "Axiology is the highest good, because..." which I think of as category of philosophy in which questions like "What is the highest good?" are asked, but usually people get by with goods just fine without studying axiology. (which isn't to say I don't find axiology important, but people are able to value good without study, so the thesis seemed confusing to me)
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    So I'm wondering if the first meaning of "value" is the same as the second? Is the study of value becoming able to value what is good?Moliere

    Yes, I shortened the thesis too much. So, I think the study of value is of the highest good to the philosopher.

    but usually people get by with goods just fine without studying axiology.Moliere

    Yes, well, what a impoverished world to value things only materialistically with a unit of exchange to do so, such as money.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Yes, I shortened the thesis too much. So, I think the study of value is of the highest good to the philosopher.Shawn

    M'kay.

    I can at least think about it now. I was just confused as to what you were saying.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    but usually people get by with goods just fine without studying axiologyMoliere

    Yes, and the further question asks whether the highest good is the highest good or the study of value (axiology). Even supposing that we have to enter into the study of value to determine the highest good, does it then follow that the study of value is the highest good? It seems to me like saying that the study of nutrition is the most nutritious thing.

    I would say that one must study good (or value) in an abstract way, but that this abstraction or reification is not itself the highest good. It seems that it simply cannot be the highest good by the very fact that it is a means to an end.

    (I leave aside the probable thesis that the study of value is not the same as the study of good)
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Yes, and the further question asks whether the highest good is the highest good or the study of value (axiology).Leontiskos

    Right!

    If "studying the highest good" is going into a monastic life in order to improve oneself and happens to include reading texts then I think I can understand the motivation for the assertion.

    But not if it's just straight up reading text books. That's what I was confused by, and am still thinking over.

    Even supposing that we have to enter into the study of value to determine the highest good, does it then follow that the study of value is the highest good? It seems to me like saying that the study of nutrition is the most nutritious thing.

    Yeah, I agree. One can, by analogy, go to a nutritionist and follow their advice to be nutritious.

    I would say that one must study good (or value) in an abstract way, but that this abstraction or reification is not itself the highest good. It seems that it simply cannot be the highest good by the very fact that it is a means to an end.Leontiskos

    I don't know how much study is important at all to the good at a personal level, but I recognize its importance as a discipline. I think that's getting me hung up a bit -- are we meaning the study of value is the highest good for the academic type philosophy, or the medical type philosophy?

    The study of nutritious certainly helps us be nutritious, but eating the right foods and not the wrong ones is what makes one healthy.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    If "studying the highest good" is going into a monastic life in order to improve oneself and happens to include reading texts then I think I can understand the motivation for the assertion.Moliere

    I think this is a good example. Presumably axiology functions like temporary monasticism in relation to the highest good. For example, St. Ignatius of Loyola fashioned his 30-day silent retreat (in large part) to help people make the most important decisions in their life—to make "an election". Now supposing that this temporary 'monastic' retreat succeeds in allowing the person to make such a decision, does it follow that the retreat is higher than the decision that it made possible? I want to say that the decision is more important than the retreat, because the retreat exists for the purpose of the decision. If the retreat were more important than the decision then the person should just have become a permanent monk and forgotten about their decision altogether!

    Yeah, I agree. One can, by analogy, go to a nutritionist and follow their advice to be nutritious.

    [...]

    The study of nutritious certainly helps us be nutritious, but eating the right foods and not the wrong ones is what makes one healthy.
    Moliere

    Yes, exactly. The study of nutrition is good as far as it goes, but one could literally die of starvation while becoming obsessed with the study of nutrition. :wink:

    I don't know how much study is important at all to the good at a personal level, but I recognize its importance as a discipline. I think that's getting me hung up a bit -- are we meaning the study of value is the highest good for the academic type philosophy, or the medical type philosophy?Moliere

    Axiology is a formal discipline, but I want to say that folks dip their toes into axiology whenever they reflect on a decision. "Is this really the best thing to do in my circumstance?" "Is this really the right decision to make?" So even in this non-academic sense one could compare the weighing of goods and choices with the subsequent adherence to a chosen good. Axiology helps us weigh goods, but the point (to so speak) is buying goods, not simply weighing them.

    The merit of academic axiology is admittedly all the less plausible. :lol:
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    Just pointing this out, after looking into axiology.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiological_ethics

    I don't want to interject anything of my own unless there are any questions to answer.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    Yes, well, what a impoverished world to value things only materialistically with a unit of exchange to do so, such as money.Shawn

    There is a secondary question beyond the idea that axiology is a means to an end, and it relates to akrasia. For the modern mind if one knows the highest good then they will necessarily choose it, and therefore axiology assumes a preeminent place. For the ancient mind to intellectually know the highest good does not mean that one will necessarily be capable of choosing it and adhering to it, and because of this axiology becomes more subsidiary. In that case the proper ordering of desires becomes a central end of education (in the broad sense).
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    the highest good.Shawn
    What does "highest good", as you're using the term, mean or refer to?
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    For the modern mind if one knows the highest good then they will necessarily choose it, and therefore axiology assumes a preeminent place. For the ancient mind to intellectually know the highest good does not mean that one will necessarily be capable of choosing it and adhering to it, and because of this axiology becomes more subsidiary.Leontiskos

    :up:
    I believe you are correct about this way of stating the interrelationship between incontinence and axiology. Yet, the hierarchy of values is, what I suppose, a function of the nous performing this decision, as Plato would have defined it. So, what would you say about such an idea?

    In that case the ability to desire well becomes a central end of education (in the broad sense).Leontiskos

    No disagreement, here. Education must count as a very high good, maybe even the highest, according to Plato. :chin:
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    What does "highest good", as you're using the term, mean or refer to?180 Proof

    Well, is it something that, in your mind, has to be true universally? Because I only know of a few goods that, I assume, have the highest or very high goodness to them, which I value highly.
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    I suppose the study of value, or axiology, would lead one to appreciate what to value as good. That's why, I am led to believe that axiology must be one of the highest goods, to a philosopher or even a layman.
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    So only philosophers can recognize or seek "the highest good"?
  • Shawn
    12.7k
    So only philosophers can recognize or seek "the highest good"?180 Proof

    I don't see how it would be exclusive to philosophers; but, rather to anyone concerned about "the good."
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