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shoyt

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Is There Intrinsic Value?
« on: July 26, 2020, 09:57:11 am »
Is there anything we value without it having instrumental value, and if not, how would one tell it had intrinsic value?

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 10:48:41 am »
Another way to think about the question:

Do value-bearers require value-makers?
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shoyt

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2020, 12:02:01 pm »
Another way to think about the question:

Do value-bearers require value-makers?

If there is no value, there's no value-bearer.

If value is observer-relative, there is no value-maker.

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kravarnik

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 06:23:57 am »
Is there anything we value without it having instrumental value, and if not, how would one tell it had intrinsic value?

Yes, there's delusion. We can unrealistically underestimate and overestimate everything and its value.


There are ends, and there are means to an end.

We can be mistaken about the value of ends and identify such errors by analyzing how when we integrate a particular end in our system of thought that it leads to an incoherence and inconsistency with the rest of our postulates. That is: you cannot say "I can lie", whilst believing that "others cannot lie". There's incoherence in the system.

We can be mistaken about the value of the means to an end and identify such errors by seeing how what we've chosen as means to achieve something doesn't really achieve it, or how the means chosen contradict another end we have in the overall system of thought we hold. That is: if you believe fraud is wrong and evil, but then want to amass money through deceiving people that you're having a fundraiser for X, but you intend to just take the raised money, then your means contradict another end in your system of thought. Or when you want to lose weight, but you choose to do it through to eating more.


Values are theory-laid. When we say something "works(=achieves an end)", then it depends what we ascribe to the end of "working". The same with "good" - when we say something is "good", it depends on what we define as good. For example, a PC gamer would say his PC is "good", if it can actually run games and if his thinking is true, then that's true - the PC is truly good. If you're a graphic designer and say "my PC is good", it would mean it is good for running software that generates graphics.


So, you cannot judge value separated from the system it is based on. You cannot say "I'd not presume anything, let's just look at a rock and determine its value". No, you cannot isolate an object, or a subject, and determine value, because value is theory-laiden. You cannot simply look at human pleasure and say "it's good", without bringing additional baggage that necessitates it to be good, due to its logic: the pleasure of a drug addict on a trip is bad, according to some; but is good according to the drug addict himself, for example. And you cannot just take it in isolation and determine its value.
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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kravarnik

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 06:28:27 am »
Perhaps, I didn't answer entirely, but how we tell whether a thing has intrinsic value, or not, is by looking how well it coheres with our experiences. When one says that excessive eating is wrong(has negative value), then we see that it coheres with our experience: it leads to increased immobility, risk of death and so on. And increased mobility is good, because it increases the means to achieve other good things, as well as less risk of detrimental states and so on.

So, the system that can best explain our experiences in life, and matches up to them, I would say is the system that has most accurately described the value of things.


This is why as of late I argue against all non-Christian positions on the basis of presuppositions(=more systematic way): that the worldview they describe paints things that are good evil and things that are evil good and that doesn't match to our experiences.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 06:30:26 am by kravarnik »
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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shoyt

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2020, 11:43:41 pm »
Perhaps, I didn't answer entirely, but how we tell whether a thing has intrinsic value, or not, is by looking how well it coheres with our experiences. When one says that excessive eating is wrong(has negative value), then we see that it coheres with our experience: it leads to increased immobility, risk of death and so on. And increased mobility is good, because it increases the means to achieve other good things, as well as less risk of detrimental states and so on.

So, the system that can best explain our experiences in life, and matches up to them, I would say is the system that has most accurately described the value of things.


This is why as of late I argue against all non-Christian positions on the basis of presuppositions(=more systematic way): that the worldview they describe paints things that are good evil and things that are evil good and that doesn't match to our experiences.

It seems like a summary of your comments is that value is contingent to convention and not determined by any feature of what is valued.

My question doesn't get answered then is saying we can determine what has value because it is consistent with our experiences; it's circular.

Conventions are objective, the term 'value' is not just in case what makes something valuable is the convention.

If we say though that convention is how we discover value rather than it being a value-maker, then the question remains as to what makes something valuable and how can we tell it is.

Finally, being consistent with experience is an Internalist perspective that no one need feel any motivation to accept, especially since it tends toward absurdity; see Feldman's treatment in "Epistemology" for example.

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GRWelsh

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2020, 08:44:23 am »
To me kravarnik's comments recall the concept of Arisotelian eudaimonia, or the "good life," not in the hedonistic sense but in the virtuous sense.  The upshot is we can determine virtues through experiencing and understanding the consequences of our actions.  This is essentially the same as acquiring wisdom.  We learn that gluttony may be enjoyable in the short term but causes misery in the long term.  So, moderation becomes a virtue.  Still, this begs the question of whether healthy outcomes themselves have intrinsic value.  They have value to me, because I want to be healthy for as long as I live, in order to get the most enjoyment out of life.  But that isn't the same as saying healthy outcomes in general have intrinsic value, or that our species continuing to live has intrinsic value.  From the point of view of some other life form, we may be seen as insignificant vermin.  Self-value doesn't equate to intrinsic.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 09:13:40 am by GRWelsh »
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shoyt

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Re: Is There Intrinsic Value?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 12:30:42 pm »
To me kravarnik's comments recall the concept of Arisotelian eudaimonia, or the "good life," not in the hedonistic sense but in the virtuous sense.  The upshot is we can determine virtues through experiencing and understanding the consequences of our actions.  This is essentially the same as acquiring wisdom.  We learn that gluttony may be enjoyable in the short term but causes misery in the long term.  So, moderation becomes a virtue.  Still, this begs the question of whether healthy outcomes themselves have intrinsic value.  They have value to me, because I want to be healthy for as long as I live, in order to get the most enjoyment out of life.  But that isn't the same as saying healthy outcomes in general have intrinsic value, or that our species continuing to live has intrinsic value.  From the point of view of some other life form, we may be seen as insignificant vermin.  Self-value doesn't equate to intrinsic.

These are the sorts of problems I want to see folks work through aloud.

( It sounds like you went "tripartite" above rather than Aristotelian :) Great commentary )
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 12:32:14 pm by shoyt »