Value and Social Interpretation

John E. Boodin
Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

The basic fact of value consists in a certain restlessness on the part of the will, and the allaying or satisfaction of this restlessness. To understand the nature of this restlessness, as well as the type of realization which is possible, we must first glance at the canalization and organization [1] of the will in its biological, psychological, and social aspects.


 Biological presuppositions.—To understand the basis of value, we must first take account of the congenital organization of the will as indicated by instinctive capacity and temperament. The will as we find it is already canalized in the form of certain typical tendencies, which are of vital importance in the orientation of life to its environment. Instincts furnish the fundamental springs of action and interest. While much modified in the course of experience and organized into various patterns of sentiment and disposition, the instinctive impulse still furnishes the primal pressure of life. We cannot understand social association without taking into account such impulses as the tender emotion and gregariousness. They lie at the basis respectively of the two most fundamental institutions in human development, the family and the clan. In order to understand the zest of competition and rivalry in human affairs, we must hearken back to the instinctive tendencies which furnish a constant motive and pressure for such activities. To understand the zest in the search for truth, we must take account of the primal instinct of curiosity. To appreciate the meaning of

(66) aesthetic activity, we must recognize a certain fundamental organization which makes us take delight in certain combinations of sound, color, and movement. The past and the future of man are thus written in his instinctive constitution—the primitive appetites which he shares with the brute, and the love of truth and beauty which furnish the program of his destiny. These instinctive capacities furnish both the limits within which realization is possible and the type of realization for each particular individual. Defectiveness in the scale of instinctive endowment must mean a corresponding defect in realization. Special endowment in some particular direction furnishes the opportunity of distinguished realization in that direction, whether it be artistic or practical.

This does not mean that we can compound in an arithmetical way the later sentiments and dispositions out of the primary tendencies. To understand the later complex organization, we must respect its own uniqueness. The organization itself is not a mere reshuffling of certain elementary constituents, but is productive of new dispositions with new possibilities of value. The elemental impulses are transformed and reconstituted in the chemistry of life. But still we can recognize the reminiscences of the tiger and the monkey in human nature. These traits bear, evidence of their descent at least. We must also take account of certain tendencies which are prophetic of a higher order of life; which are indicative of man's peculiar destiny.

The interrelation of emotional dispositions into sentiments, as well as their individual organization, is in part foreshadowed in the congenital structure of human nature, however much it is complicated by later intellectual organization. The rudimentary sentiment of love, for example, must be regarded as innately present. Even in its most primitive form the parental disposition shows its interrelation with such other dispositions as anger when the object is threatened, fear for its safety, as well as numerous organized tendencies for the care and succor of the offspring. The same could be shown for hate, curiosity, and other fundamental sentiments. What the later intellectual organization does is to complicate vastly the number of tendencies interrelated, as well as to make the sentiment more definite and conscious in terms of its typical object.

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The more general fact of temperament, too, has a good deal to do with the nature of our activities, the strength and persistence of their realization, and particularly with the manifestations of feeling in connection with our activities. Some temperaments are slow, others quick in their response; some forceful, others weak; some warm, others cold; some flare up quickly with violent fluctuations of feeling, others have a steady tone with a cheery or melancholy level. Temperament thus enters as a fundamental factor into our capacity for enjoyment. It determines to a large extent the difference in the threshold of satisfaction as between different individuals and as between different races.

These primitive presuppositions of instinctive endowment and temperament enter into the fundamental texture of life throughout. They are elicited and recognized in the more conscious processes of life, but they remain the comparative constants in the complex movement of our experience. Without understanding these presuppositions, the complexer organization is left in the air.

Psychological presuppositions.—We must furthermore take account of the intellectual canalization of the restlessness of the will. The primitive impulsive values are transformed and re-created into new patterns with the development of the higher intellectual activities. Memory enables us to conserve past values and to live them over again indefinitely. The values of the past come to figure thus in two contexts. We must recognize the context of the past, with the values of realization and failure which this implies; but the past context, besides its own value, borrows a living present value from its relation to our present purposes. This means sometimes the enhancement of the values of the past by recognizing further implications of development which could not be realized at the time. The movement of the past is taken up and adds its energy to ever-larger organizations of human experience, and so the joys and sorrows of the past may become intensified by the consciousness of the further success and failure to which they contribute. It is also a well-known fact that the values of the past may sometimes be reversed from the point of view of the later movement of the self. What seemed success at the time becomes failure in the further reorganization, with corresponding disappointment; what seemed

(68) hardship and misfortune at the time may from the point of view of the later moment be seen to contribute to a larger realization. Thus the values of the past are ever transmuted, ever re-created into new patterns, over shifting in color, with their function in the larger development of life.

What memory does for the past, imagination does for the future. By means of imaginative selection and reconstruction, we are able, in part at any rate, to anticipate the future, to know its values in prospect. Such values are again subject to transformation in the actual carrying out of the process. They may shift their tone from positive to negative, from harmony to discord, and from discord to harmony in accordance with the actual movement of the will in mastering its situation.

Not only are we able to prepare for and to enjoy the future by means of constructive imagination, but we are able to create new worlds for the free play of our activities, the world of pure mathematics, of fairyland, of artistic activity, and thus to enhance indefinitely the values of life. Thus we add to the meager situations of actual life an indefinite number of opportunities for stimulating the emotions. This applies equally to the negative values of unpleasant foreboding and to the positive anticipations of unimpeded play. Infernos and Paradisos are alike the product of creative imagination and eke out indefinitely the meager values of everyday attainment.

The more somber creative activities of abstraction and generalization, of induction and deduction, have their tone and value as well; and in lives organized in those directions these may be fully as intense and absorbing as those of the freer play of creative intelligence. Each type of intellectual activity has thus its own kind of value, which can be understood only by taking account oŁ the particular organization of the will. In each type there is the ever-shifting play of values, as past tendencies are successfully or unsuccessfully reorganized into the more complex pattern's of life. In each case the elemental impulses do indeed furnish the basis of energy and zest, but they are vastly transmuted in the new organizations; and the organization itself, with its redirection and transmutation of the past, is ever a source of new values. The world of value is thus fundamentally a creative world. The reflection upon

(69) values, in following out the implications, in taking up the past into new creative situations, is itself a source of values. To understand the world of values, therefore, we must understand the laws of intellectual recompounding of the primary experiences.

Sociological presuppositions.—In order to understand the world of values, we must also take into account social organization—the social matrix into which our consciousness is born and in which it must find its meaning and definite fulfilment. Psychology in the past has been too prone to treat mind as a subcranial affair. Whatever justification such treatment: may have for the abstract purpose of psychological description, it is an artificial method at best. Mind is organized and receives its content from the already developed world of social tendencies, of which the individual forms a part. Values as we find them in adult experience are largely the result of social emphasis, suggestion, and organization. This social world of accumulated experience we assimilate largely at second hand. Society is ever at our elbow admonishing and compelling conformity to its standardized estimates of value. It bribes us with rewards, it threatens us with punishments, it exercises its constant pressure to make us into its likeness. Our instinctive and intellectual activities are thus canalized and organized in the directions approved by the social mind. For the most part, we find it easiest to follow the beaten track, to be carried on the wave of social energy. What we choose and value is largely the result of our desire to live as part of society and win approval within it. Our own tendencies and needs are transformed into the socially organized life of our day. In desiring a dress, a woman does not want it merely as clothes, but as it is socially approved by the fashion of the day, however poorly it may serve the purpose of clothes. She does not desire to be immodest, if the fashions are such, but to conform and excel within social standards. And we cut our other activities, our thoughts and ambitions, to conform to the styles of the time. Even though we would be original, we must still react to the background of organized experience, and if we succeed in our originality, it is by divining the deeper trend of this experience. Novelty and conformity are alike to be understood with reference to the social matrix and its pressure.



The nature of value.—We have seen that value somehow has to do with the restlessness of the will and the canalization and organization of this restlessness into definite activities with their typical objects. Value may be defined as the congruity of an object of activity with the organized tendencies of the will which seeks realization in terms of the special situation. This must mean congruity [2] with the instinctive and temperamental tendencies as intellectually organized into the social network of definite relations. Values are first of all standardized for us by the systematic purposes of society. It is this standardization into which we are educated, and which for the most part we unquestioningly accept. If value is defined as a realization of a more or less organized tendency in terms of the object to which it points, or as the congruence of an object with the direction of organized activity, we find that there are two factors of which we must take account to understand the meaning of value. These two factors are organized tendency and feeling. Of these factors, I regard organized tendency as the primary and feeling as the secondary factor. The two are relatively independent variables. The strength of the desire depends upon the strength of the original impulse and its organization into the network of intellectualized and socialized tendencies. The strength of the particular impulse itself may be relatively weak, as in the case of the later ideal tendencies, but its organization with other tendencies such as pugnacity may give it preponderating strength in the determining of the choice of values. The strength of the feeling in a particular individual depends upon the struggle or resistance in the attainment of the end and upon the postponement of this attainment. Organized tendency means steady pressure through all kinds of weather. It is a constant through indefinite stretches of time in accordance with the complexity of its realization. Feeling flares up into emotion and goes down again with the resolution of the conflict and the more fluent movement of realization. Feeling is likely to be strongest with natures least organized, as in such

(71) cases the ups and downs are more numerous. The relatively unorganized life of childhood and early youth furnishes us the most conspicuous examples of joys and sorrows, of the ups and downs of emotional life. It varies too with temperament, some temperaments being peculiarly of the hair-trigger type, ready to burst forth into explosive energy, and emotion, while other temperaments manifest a steady tenor of activity with a correspondingly permanent level of feeling.

The steady pressure of organized conation may have but little feeling or emotion accompanying it. We might contrast the French attitude at the beginning of the present war with its unbounded enthusiasm, and the British attitude with its quiet, undemonstrative, but "grim determination." It meant to stay in to the finish whatever the cost, yet the emotional loyalty was largely suppressed. Some of us come to do almost everything with a grim determination—even playing and eating. The realization of an organized aim through years of ill-health, as in the case of Herbert Spencer, or in doing much of our work past the threshold of fatigue, may even have a negative tone of feeling. Feeling depends upon the visceral and sex systems of an organism, their health and buoyancy; desire depends upon the organization of the conative tendencies, and so is comparatively constant, however much feeling fluctuates. In the organized life of the will, feeling tends to become largely neutral—the striving of the business man for success through years of toil, the long plodding of the scientist in the mastery of his tools and in the accumulation of his facts. Large stretches of a life of achievement may be dreary and desolate, so far as feeling is concerned; and at best the attainments in a life with a large ideal fall far short of the ambition, with a corresponding sense of failure. Scientific instruments in such cases of organized activity will probably indicate but slight fluctuations in the conditions upon which feeling depends. There are sometimes of course the more marked variations—the conspicuous success or failure in the turn of business, the lucky hit of the scientist, and these have indeed their strong affective tone—but they are a comparatively small part of life's activity and in many lives may scarcely exist.


The strength of the feeling may often show itself in what are comparatively trivial aspects of life, while the more fundamental values of life remain largely neutral. A man's attitude toward his home, his relation to his happy family of beautiful wife and children, his loyalty to his country, or to his religion, may indicate but little affective fluctuations and, if undisturbed and unimpeded, may have largely a neutral tone, while his consciousness of becoming bald may be a matter of considerable fretfulness. And yet it is not to be supposed that the man values his hair more than his family or his country. We cannot, therefore, regard feeling as the measure of value. Organized desire must be regarded as the more essential and as the constant condition.

If feeling cannot be regarded as the primary condition of value, the existence or at least the possibility of feeling must be regarded as a sine qua non of value realization.[3] A machine may grind out products in a thoroughly satisfactory manner but to the machine itself there can be no such fact as value. Somehow, therefore, realization must be felt, or at any rate be capable of being felt, in order that we may speak of value at all. While the irksome activities may prove to be more valuable than the pleasant diversions, and while an organized aim makes us comparatively independent of the ups and downs of fortune, still in the further realization of life the agreeable feeling or in any case the sense of being at ease in one's situation is an index of successful activity.

The threshold of feeling varies with temperament and with the organization of tendencies. As the former is a constant in a particular life, we can leave it out of consideration.[4] With little organization as in childhood and in some natures throughout life, the threshold is particularly low. It takes but little to stimulate the child to joy. The simplest toy may be an occasion of great merriment. The smallest disappointment for the time being is unalle

( 73) -viated in its bitterness by any perspective of the future. In the organized life, the affective threshold is correspondingly high. Feeling varies in inverse ratio to organization, so that with habit feeling falls to zero; yet, if there were no threshold of feeling, we should become mere machines and value would be impossible.

We are now in a position to understand certain ambiguities in the use of the terms "value" and "interest." We sometimes use the term "value" or "interest" in the singular, having reference particularly to the affective state at the time. We sometimes use these terms in the plural, having reference to the objects which satisfy an organized system of tendencies. Both terms have their genetic significance in the development of our consciousness of value. In the primitive value situation, the tendencies are relatively unorganized and the object correspondingly accidental. In this case values become the momentary likes or dislikes that are stimulated by the particular occasion. As our conative life becomes organized in terms of intellectual machinery and social institutions, value comes to mean, not merely the momentary feeling, but that which can satisfy the organized tendencies. Having eaten our Christmas dinner, we do not desire food, yet still we recognize that food is desirable because the appetite for food is a recurrent impulse, and so we prepare for further emergencies. While our mind is bent upon a particular type of realization, a social engagement for example, a business interruption may be emotionally unwelcome; and yet we recognize the value of attending to our business. Value no longer becomes the fulfilment of a mere momentary set of the will, but has reference to other tendencies as well in the complexly organized life. Moreover, while certain types of realization may have no direct bearing upon our own individual needs, we may recognize their bearing upon the needs of others, and the realization of such activities becomes valuable as part of a socially organized life. Hence, the plural of values or of interests, as having reference to a complex intellectual and social organization, comes to take the place in our consciousness of the feeling of value as a momentary affair. This again goes to illustrate the primary importance of organized tendency as contrasted with the more secondary though essential function of feeling.

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If we look now at the value process as such—the whole series of activities involved in the realization of an organized tendency in terms of its object—we must recognize certain implications. Realization implies, for one thing, persistence or identity within the process of realization. This applies equally to the aspect of organized tendency and to the object toward which it aims. To be conscious of realization, the tendencies which strive to be realized must be relatively persistent and the object striven for must be relatively constant. To be sure, both tendency and object receive new significance in the process; but if every moment were entirely a new fact with no reminiscence of the past, we could be conscious neither of tendencies realized nor of an object attained. In either case the striving would become meaningless—a mere restlessness without aim or fulfilment.

There must further, in order to have a sense of realization, be a consciousness of movement or development. On the conative side this means the satisfactory organization of tendencies, with the intellectual machinery which this implies. In its objective aspect, it means the successful mastery of the situation and the transforming it into terms of the particular need. The will must not be wholly balked or stare at mere vacancy. There must be the consciousness of control, of  redirection, of transformation, in order to have a sense of realization.

There must, thirdly, be a consciousness of achievement, of agreement of the consequences of the operation with the direction of the process, of organized desire as satisfied in terms of its object. If nothing comes of the movement; if the plot does not take form in its material; if the development stops in the middle, the process is not truly valuable. This is easily seen in the simpler processes of realization with their periodic restlessness and striving for fulfilment. In the more complexly organized activities it is true that no climax may be reached, each moment of the process leading on to other moments. Within an indefinitely complex scheme, such as the search for truth, the end can never be completely realized. Yet here too there must be, in some measure, the consciousness of achievement. While a stage in the process cannot be regarded as a thing in itself, yet it must be felt to contribute in some measure

(75) to the total movement of a life's plan, even though this partial success may be subject to further revision and rearrangement in the process as a whole. The consciousness of something done, some degree of success, is an indispensable part of the sense of realization, though in the fully organized life this does not permit of any final climax. This is why the Greeks were averse to praising a man till he was dead.

The value judgment.—Value as we have treated it so far is a part or an aspect of a complex life-organization. We have taken it in its concrete matrix as implying as its background, not only impulsive tendencies, but the intellectual and social organization of experience and the executive aspect of conduct. For purposes of science it is necessary to abstract from this concrete situation and to single out the value aspect itself for our consideration. This singling out of an aspect of experience and making it explicit in relation to a context is an act of judgment; in terms of value, it is an act of evaluation.

In the case of values, as in the case of sense qualities, it is possible to distinguish logically between the content of the judgment and the act of judgment itself. In the case of sense qualities, this separation is facilitated by the fact that qualities must be recognized as part of other contexts besides the context of judgment. Our perception of a quality may be a judgment, but a quality need not be perceived in order to exist. It may be a fact to another consciousness or it may exist in a context which, so far as we can see, is independent of any consciousness. Vast geological eras, with their changes, passed before our consciousness on this earth existed. In the case of values the problem is somewhat more subtle because values are fundamentally dependent upon mind. They cannot exist except as realizations or possible realizations of an organized will. Here, therefore, it would seem to be more difficult to distinguish between the act of judgment and its value content. But here, too, we are aided by the social organization of activity. Values are not dependent, at any rate, upon our momentary judgment. They may be part of a socially organized system of realization quite independent of any individual consciousness of them. There are values in the past, too, of which we must take account,

(76) but which do not depend for their existence upon the present individual consciousness of realization. While values, therefore, are somehow bound up with the organization of the mind and its consciousness of realization, we have ample opportunity in the complexity of value to distinguish between the individual judgment of value and value as a content.

The value judgment, moreover, must not be confused with the theoretical judgment, making due allowance for the abstraction in each case. Value judgments do of course imply intellectual judgments and intellectual judgments do have their value; but it does not follow that the value judgment is a mere intellectual judgment. Our reference in the case of the value judgment is to a value context, organized in the case of the individual into sentiment and in the case of society into definite objective systems of value. Take for example our aesthetic judgments of value. What we are here concerned with is not the cognitive significance of our judgments, but their relation to a scale of preference, individual and social. The individual preferences have already been organized with reference to the prevailing social scale of values, though sometimes they may become critical of this scale. Our placing of the particular objects in a series or system has to do with the degree of satisfaction which they furnish us compared with other objects of the type. Value, in other words, has its own type of organization and its own method of judgment. Verbal abstraction, while important for purposes of communication, is not of the essence of the value judgment. Our preferences become clear and distinct in relation to the various objects upon which they are exercised. Our emphasis here has to do with an appreciation scale, not with description. Abstract symbols become of importance only if we wish to record or communicate our judgments.

It is unnecessary to point out how thoroughly social is this whole process of value judgment. In value judgment as in theoretical judgment, it is social pressure in the way of social problems and perplexities which raises consciousness above mere submergence in the evanescent likes and dislikes of the situation. We can no more understand our first-hand value judgments than the second-hand judgments, excepting in terms of the social matrix of which they are

(77) a part. Our first-hand value judgments are indeed made in terms of personal experience. They indicate the merits which the object has for us in terms of our tendencies. But in the first place, our tendencies have already been organized in terms of social systems of evaluation. That, in the beginning at any rate, satisfies us which has the stamp of the valuation of our group. And even in the more conscious and critical processes of valuation, we are still largely subject to our age. The desire for conformity or for novelty is itself in a large measure of the temper of the age. In an age which emphasizes conformity to tradition, such conformity becomes valued accordingly. In an age which yearns for new things, novelty is equally striven for. Few have the courage to stand out; and they do so as a result of another kind of social loyalty than the one prevailing. The organized souls, as well as the social drifts, receive their inspiration from some other soul, past or present, but best of all from a living master.

How subtle is this social interplay in everyday life! How little we live by our own testing; and much of that testing is itself modified by organized or by chance suggestion and our finding is prejudged. We are prone to regard that as beautiful which conforms to the organized standards of the times and to be suspicious of new movements in art. This holds even more as regards the introducing of new gods into our practical life. How our values rise and sink, again, with chance suggestion. You think well of someone; and some friend, or even acquaintance, suggests a fault and spoils the harmony. You are indifferent, and someone else's enthusiasm warms your admiration. Who has not felt it—marrying a wife or not marrying, selecting a suit of clothes, a college, a church, a friend ? In the world of values, who can say I am myself and myself alone ? The scale of values with its subtle balance is indeed a social scale, and in weighing values we are weighing to a large extent social influences rather than the direct relation of things to us, if indeed, there are any such relations. However individual our strivings, however remoter from the market place, however seemingly isolated we desire to live with our fellows, to win social commendation, to be well thought of at least in the future, to be counted and approved of in the clearing-house of history, and to have our values

(78) standardized—to have them stamped even as gold is stamped. We may select our judges very differently—the crowd or the select few, the present or the future; but through it all we move within the gravitational bonds of society.

If this is true of our first-hand value judgments, how much more of our second-hand judgments. And most of our values we accept necessarily as standardized for us by society. It is the organized social matrix which judges in us for the most part rather than we ourselves. And they come to seem our own values, because we have already, more or less unconsciously perhaps, assimilated the social standards. In this assimilation mere psychological contact necessarily counts. We accept the values of those about us, repeated as they are from day to day in our experience. Some, however, have greater weight than others in influencing our attitude. They may have the prestige which comes from superior personal qualities and strength of affirmation, or it may be the prestige which comes from superior position, the dazzle of circumstance, but in any case they serve to inspire admiration for their own type of value in proportion to our own lack of critical organization in that particular direction of activity. Mere numbers too—what everybody feels about it tend to overawe us. We come to feel that there must be something wrong with one whom everybody criticizes, or something particularly meritorious about what everybody admires. It is hard for us to break away from the tyranny of majorities.

We cannot, however, reduce values altogether to social relations. We must take into account the surd of our own instinctive and temperamental endowment. It is this which furnishes the possibility, the raw material, of social organization. And it is this which in the last analysis, when raised to consciousness through social pressure, must give us the variations which make new values and interpretations of value possible. Only so can we have progress in evaluation.

 If we now stop to consider in more detail the content of the value judgment, we find that our preferences imply certain qualitative distinctions and certain differences in the intensity of values as related to one another. There has been considerable controversy as regards the value qualities. Some have regarded values

(79) as having only the qualities of pleasantness and unpleasantness. Pleasures differ not in kind, but in quantity, they hold. This controversy, however, has been due in large part to identifying value either with affections or with feelings. We are not interested here in the abstract qualities of affection which some profess to have verified in introspection.[5] When they tell us that there is only one quality of pleasantness and one of unpleasantness and that these vary only in intensity and duration, their finding is indeed obscure. It seems that introspection has here played the trick, which it has so often played, of substituting words, class names, for elementary perceptions. The facts which introspection reveals are feelings. And feelings at any rate seem to vary in a number of directions. Doubtless they have a sensory basis in the visceral and sex systems of sensations; and these systems present an indefinite number of variations. Sometimes the kinaesthetic and respiratory sensations seem to play a prominent part. Particularly is this true in the more exciting situations of stress and its cessation. We have seen, however, that the feelings themselves must be regarded as secondary in making up the value qualifications of reality. They may even sink to a comparatively neutral point in the organized life of realization. The primary aspect of value we have found to be congruence with conative organization. This furnishes a practically infinite number of variables, involving, as it does, not merely the tone of feeling, but the various grades of complexities of the tendencies to be realized.

Are values to be regarded as real qualities of our world ? Two extreme positions have been maintained in regard to this point. One holds that values are independent qualities of things,[6] quite irrespective of any relation to human nature. The logic underlying this position is doubtless the same as that which has led some to regard sense qualities as existing abstractly in things. Once we can abstract from any particular context, it becomes easy to regard

( 80) qualities as independent of all contexts. We have seen that values can be distinguished from the individual moment of judging. They exist in social contexts as well as in individual experience. They come to attach to organized situations which are regarded as desirable, quite independently of whether they are momentarily desired. Hence it is easy to fall into the error of regarding them as independent of all relation to experience, i.e., as abstract qualities of things.

The other position holds that values are mere gifts to the universe by human nature and in no sense qualities of the real world.[7] This position emphasizes the importance of the emotional-volitional aspect of the quality situation and ignores the importance of the object.

Now the truth seems to be that values are real qualities of our world and in the same sense that sense qualities can be regarded as such. Values are the qualifications of objects in the organized contexts of human nature. They give us a real insight into the character of the world. They cannot be said to exist independently of situations, but no more can other qualities. It is only as qualifications within emotional-volitional situations that value qualities can be regarded as real. Such qualities can be arranged in series according to degree of preference. The preference may be due to rankings among the qualities as in the ranking of pure colors or tones. Or it may be based upon the difference in intensity of the qualities. Or it may be based upon the organization of qualities. At any rate our preferences, like sense qualities, are capable of being related with reference to each other within the judging process.

Value qualities have sometimes been called tertiary qualities. This seems to involve a false assumption as regards values. It is based upon the distinction of primary and secondary qualities in estimating sense qualities—the latter qualities being generally regarded as more subjective and unreal. We cannot go into this distinction here, except to say that it is purely pragmatic and that the so-called secondary qualities are no less qualities of things than the so-called primary. To call value qualities tertiary would imply that they are sense qualities of a more subjective order. The

(81) important objection here is that they are not sense qualities at all, but that they must be regarded just as primary in their own relation to reality as the sense qualities. They differ from sense qualities in two important respects. They may vary entirely independently of the stimulus. What pleases us at one time may be entirely unpleasant at another, though there has been no alteration so far as the sense qualities are concerned. Furthermore, the judgment of value is a creative judgment. Reflection upon sense qualities does not as such vary the qualities, but reflection upon value, the taking it up into new contexts of organization, produces new values and may reverse the original values. It seems best, therefore, to regard value qualities as a unique order of reality and not to confuse them with sense qualities.

While value qualities are relative to human nature as their reagent and vary vastly with organization as between different individuals and different groups of individuals, still there are certain constants which make social prediction and agreement possible. That is particularly true in the same period and stratum of development; but, as regards certain fundamental types of value, it holds for large stretches of time and is well-nigh as broad as human nature. We can still enjoy Homer, though much of his world has become a myth-world to us. Love and hate have not changed as fundamental types of sentiments since Homer's day. That there are limitations in our possibility of agreement in the world of values must of course he self-evident, since full sympathy would mean, not merely a similar organization of sentiments, but a similar world of beliefs to which those sentiments are related. A great deal of the value of the Homeric age must be lost to us who can no longer take the Homeric world as a world of reality, but must deal with it as a world of fiction. The greatness of Greek art still appeals to us in the few remaining fragments, but Greek art as an interpretation of the real life of a great people cannot be reproduced in our appreciation. Agreements in the world of values, therefore, are more limited by social conditions than agreements as regards the world of sense qualities; yet real agreements there must be, or we could have no institutions of value, no laws governing human appreciation and conduct, no standards of value.



The systematic organization of values takes two directions. It has to do with the correlation of our interests with other interests, and it also has to do with the organization of our beliefs as regards the objects of value. Desiring the fulfilment of a purpose means the realization of the implications of the purpose whether as regards the relation of the sum-total of interests or as regards the beliefs about the object. In the primitive value situation the presence of an impulse makes it imperative. The presence of an object to consciousness, whether that object be fact or fancy, makes it real. In the organized life of experience, distinctions as between the authority of interest, on the one hand, and as between the degrees of reality of objects, on the other, both become part of the value realization.

Fortunately for us, we are born into a world already pretty thoroughly organized both as regards the interrelation of interests and as regards the beliefs toward the object. We adopt, first of all, the classes of values as socially organized-their rank and standardization. We similarly adopt certain organized belief attitudes toward the objects of value. We distinguish between dream and waking, fact and fancy. It is only upon later reflection, if at all, that we come to regard critically their social systematization and to try to appreciate and perhaps revise the institutional world of values in terms of our own experience.

Classes or types of value.—As a result of the judging process, social and individual, we have come to group values under certain types. Each type has its own organizing relation, found as a rule in some important sentiment which itself has become organized in terms of social objects. Any classification of values, however, must be regarded as purely pragmatic. It has been suggested that we divide values into immediate and derived values. The trouble with this classification is that the really immediate values; values with no background of intellectual organization, are for us purely speculative. No doubt they exist in some of the lower types of animal life and in the early life of the child, but they are inaccessible to us as psychologists. All our values are intellectualized and socialized values.


We may divide values for the sake of convenience into naturalistic values on the one hand and formal values on the other hand. Under naturalistic values we may include the biological values or the realization of such impulses as have not been institutionalized to any large extent in our experience, but as a rule exist in a rather amorphous form. Such satisfactions as come from ordinary physical exercise, from eating, from casual associations of human beings in smaller or larger groups, from the sex impulse, and a large number of other impulses and sentiments which remain in a relatively unorganized state may be classed under this general heading of biological satisfactions. They are, of course, subject to social suggestion and control, and they may, in individual cases, be organized into systems.

Among naturalistic values we may also class utilities, when no reference is made to an ideal of satisfaction, but when we attempt merely to establish certain ratios or laws governing the demand and supply of certain objects furnishing satisfactions. The organizing relation here is the idea of exchange. This implies some common measure of exchange, which with civilized countries takes the form of some metallic equivalent in the way of money. Gold with most civilized nations is used as a standard of exchange. The standard itself is thoroughly conventional and has no justification except its convenience. It must have a certain exchange value of its own, though that value is doubtless affected to a considerable degree by its having been made a standard of exchange.

The psychology of utility values is decidedly unsatisfactory. If utilities were determined in the way some have defined economic value, i.e., as based on marginal utility and a marginal consumer, the problem would be comparatively easy; but economic value in this artificial sense can hold only under very artificial conditions of free competition and an equally artificial human nature.[8] Utilities as we know them are determined by a number of factors, some of which are economic in the way of cost of production and

( 84) capital; others are legal, having to do with certain privileges in the way of control granted by the state; others are social in the sense of fluctuations of social emphasis as in fashions; others are ethical in the way of condemnation of certain types of utilities by strong public sentiment; others are aesthetic, making craftsmanship and beauty count; others are purely psychological in the way of successful advertising, etc. The science of economics, therefore, has difficulty in finding any definite organizing relation for its facts. At any rate, values regarded as utilities have that in common that they are bought and sold; that they are statable in terms of some medium of exchange.

In formal values certain implications are raised which are not present in the naturalistic type. In the organization of formal values, we have reference, not merely to values as they actually occur, but to values as they ought to be combined under the specific organizing type. We imply that there shall be agreement within values—that is, that all the values pertaining to a type shall bear some definite relation to a common ideal or purpose, whether within a static or a temporal unity. We demand, further, that the values shall support each other or constitute a harmonious whole. We demand, in the third place, that the value shall be clear and distinct —that the object shall be unified in the simplest way that will satisfy the interest; and we demand finally that the formal object of value shall be universal—that is, that it shall appeal to all who are competent to appreciate it.

Now this formal organization of values may relate to various types of activity. We may be concerned with the value of logical activity—the search for truth. The value of truth may lie in the successful striving of the organized tendency itself—the agreement of the consequences with the implications which govern its intention. We may want to verify an hypothesis. We may want to organize a new fact into old established laws. The value, in any case, lies in the success of our curiosity in realizing its end under its own formal rules.

Truth may be satisfactory for reasons quite irrelevant to what makes it true. We may adopt the belief because it fits in with other organized tendencies—because it is satisfactory to our religious,

(85) patriotic, or social sentiments. It is hard indeed for us to divest ourselves of the bias of our social and temperamental setting, hard for a German to believe good of an Englishman, or for an Englishman to find good in a German, while engaged in a bitter war. At any rate, we may welcome beliefs for what they bring in the way of emotional or aesthetic or other satisfactions, rather than for any intrinsic interest in the truth activity itself.

We may be concerned with the organizing relation of beauty. Here the organized object is isolated from ulterior uses for the time being, so far as this particular interest is concerned. At any rate, to be appreciated as beautiful it must be recognized as complete and satisfying in itself without reference to utilitarian or biological satisfactions. It must furnish an equilibrium of tendencies while the mood lasts, embodied now in tonal harmonies, now in color and perspective, now in sculptured marble, now in towering temples, now in flowing verse, now in the grace of the dance, but everywhere suggesting the unity, proportion, harmony, and simplicity of a whole, static or moving, of an object valued on its own account.

We may be concerned with the organizing relation of ethics. Ethics, as having to do with the proper control of conduct, implies two types of attitude.[9] It implies a definite social order—organized expectancy of cause and effect in conduct—an order enforced by definite social authority in the form of organized government or by the sanctions of custom. Life must be secure from petty interference. Each man must be able to sit under his own fig tree and to enjoy the fruits of his own labor. He must have the opportunity to realize his capacities in terms of the organized division of labor in society.

Ethics implies morality as well as law. It implies not only loyalty to the laws of the land, to organized institutions as they are, but it also implies criticism and improvement. Only by evaluating the actual organization of society in terms of formal ideals of fairness and proportion, on the one hand, and by striving to make those

( 86) ideals prevail in a concrete social life, on the other hand, can the ethical sentiment be fully satisfied. It must be loyalty not merely to things established, to an order that is, but loyalty to improvement, to an ideal order.

The type of value to be organized may have reference to our life of association, to love and friendship. Here, too, the significant values must be emphasized; there must be fulfilment of an ideal tendency in terms of its object. The actual bond must become clear and distinct in its significance and harmonious in its reciprocity of feeling and co-operation.

The type of value to be organized may be religious value, where the organizing relation is our attitude toward the mysterious power, toward the supernatural. This involves indeed a unification of many elemental sentiments; but we cannot regard religious reverence as we find it in the highly developed attitude of the civilized man as a mere compound of certain primitive emotions of fear and wonder and the tender emotion and other primitive dispositions. No doubt there are those and other reminiscences of simple impulses, but the ideal tendencies, which enter in, and their more abstract organization must be taken into account as well as the more primitive impulses. The significance of the religious situation from the simplest to the most complex stages of development is the sense of dependence upon a higher power and the belief that this power, if proper relations are established, can and will co-operate in the realization of our needs—at any rate of our momentous needs—however differently those needs may be conceived. The prayers of man range all the way from the primitive petitions to fill one's belly to Socrates' prayer for "the beauty of the inward man."

It can be seen now that our separation of values into distinct classes is an artificial affair and that in real life these types of value interpenetrate in all sorts of ways. We found that economic values could be understood only in connection with legal, social, ethical, and other values. Truth has its value of beauty as well as its aspect of truth. The moral and the beautiful have always been  recognized as having a close kinship to each other. Religion brings into its unification ethical, aesthetic, and other values which have helped to give content to its object.


The hierarchy of values.—Values, besides being co-ordinated into classes of value, can be subordinated to each other within a scale of ranking, where some count as higher than others. There probably is no absolute scale in human experience. Giddings has arranged values with power at the top of the scale and with utility, integrity, and self-realization as the successive gradations under power. But this must be taken as a purely relative and personal arrangement. Power sometimes is estimated higher than all other values. That has been true of individuals and of nations; but if Sparta and Rome emphasized power, Athens made beauty the highest crown of values and subordinated all other values, including power, to it. With some, utilitarian values and their estimate in terns of exchange are the dominant motive of life. With others, integrity, the sense of right, occupies the uppermost place. With Kant, for example, the moral law overarches all other values like the starry heavens above.

It is impossible, therefore, to establish any absolute hierarchy for all individuals and for all ages of development. History might be written in terms of the dominant values which furnish the motives of nations and races. Sometimes the love of conflict, the emulation in the art of war, has been the dominant motive; sometimes the cupidity for territory and commercial gain; sometimes curiosity with its fascination for exploration and the mastery of the unknown; sometimes self-assertion with the pleasure in skill and excellence; sometimes the sentiment of justice with the demand for fairer relations between man and man; sometimes the religious sentiment with a zeal for the dominance of its own type of faiththese in turn, and more often in varying combinations, have dominated the current of history. But in group life, as in individual life, some values are ranked at the top, others become subordinated as means to an end-external relations to be translated into terms of the movement of the ruling passion.

Is there, then, no ultimate hierarchy or standard of values ? In our practical choices we may, and in the larger number of our evaluations we generally do, go with the majority. Democracy is based upon the principle that the majority is right, or at any rate more likely to be right than the individual, and so must be obeyed

( 88) in matters of importance to the group. To be sure, not all individuals in this majority count alike. A few leaders generally formulate the inchoate feelings and beliefs of the many. We may feel dissatisfied with the verdict of the majority and turn to the élite, to the experts who are supposed to know. But they, too, are part of a social stratum of evaluation. They may be hidebound by tradition and as unwilling to welcome revolutionary, though superior, perspectives of value, as the scribes and Pharisees. Sometimes the individual is wiser than the élite. Galileo was wiser than all the authorities and would-be experts who tormented him. The new gifts of insight come to the individual; and sometimes it is the very superficiality and formalism of his age which rouses the individual genius to activity. He must combat established schools and institutions with their inherent will to live. In this struggle the new evaluations very often become recognized only after the individual is sacrificed. Organized society is likely to be retrospective —wise, looking backward. In this lies the tragedy of progress. In such a conflict, the individual may appeal to an ideal order as against existing standards. This appeal is not necessarily an appeal to the future. Indeed, it used to be an appeal to the past, to a golden age when men were reasonable, to the great prophets and sages who came before society got incrusted and who foreshadowed and made possible the greater progress. But whether the ideal order is put in the past or in the future, so far as human history is concerned, in order to be effective it must inspire a sense of living companionship, support, and ratification. It must be the faith in a present reality, which is in sympathy with our highest strivings, and which can make the higher values prevail, somehow, in the end. However strong our faith maybe in such an ideal order and however absolute its validity may be, it is well to remember that our valuations are pragmatic—relative to our experience. They must be tested in the ongoing of the life of the race. We must not be too dogmatic, therefore, in speaking for the absolute. New adventure implies a risk—a risk which we must take courageously and in faith, hoping to approximate a little nearer to the ideal order of the universe.


The social ranking and emphasis of values have a great deal to do with what values are stimulated in individual striving and what values survive. If the social judgment, the spirit of the Weltgeist of which we are a part, emphasizes certain values as supremely worth while, individual genius and achievement are pretty sure to take that direction. If society puts a premium on showy preferment, on ostentatious power or the display of wealth, as it usually does, the best talents of society are sure to be drained in that direction. The more ideal values of truth and right and beauty are accordingly discouraged. They either fail to be elicited at all; or, if by dint of higher inspiration they are elicited, they fail to become effective and to survive. Plato with right complains that society is the great sophist, the real corrupter of youth.[10]

The emphasis of one set of values is sure to lead to the neglect and suppression of others. The emphasis of the values of beauty, as with the Athenian,. may, lead to the neglect of the more rugged values of righteousness. The emphasis of the values of power and efficiency, as with the Romans, is likely to lead to the neglect of higher ideal creativeness. Thus perished a large number of the most precious products of Greek genius—the majority of the dramas of the great tragedians—while barren and largely worthless libraries of rhetorical treatises, supposedly more practical in the service of the state, survived. The one-sided emphases on religious values in the Middle Ages led to the neglect and suppression of ancient culture, of the spirit of scientific discovery, and of pagan art, though it gave us in turn a new sense of religious unity and created Gothic cathedrals. The spirit of the scientific Renaissance, again, could see nothing significant in the massive architectonic of the Schoolmen; and the very name "Scholastic" became an opprobrium, though we might learn much from the Scholastics in careful habits of thought. Great nations today are bending their entire energies and genius on military power and commercial supremacy, with little respect for the creative life of other peoples and with corresponding warping of values at home. Thus we have the greatest tragedy of history, not only in the destruction of noble manhood

(90) and in filling the cup of life with bitterness for millions of human beings, but in the deflection of the energies of the spirit from all that characterizes the highest in civilization.

Conversely, creativeness in any one direction is sure to be in direct proportion to social pressure and appreciation. The Golden Age of Pericles, with its supreme encouragement of ideal creativeness, set a high-water mark for achievement in art. Rome unified the world through its laws and institutions in a way that provided a permanent heritage when political Rome had perished. The mediaeval church, with splendid missionary zeal, extended the idea, if not the reality, of the fatherhood of God to all the boundaries of Europe. The Elizabethan age showed the possibilities of modern Europe in literary achievement. The Germany of Kant, Fichte, and Hegel perfected for the world an idealistic philosophy. Little Norway, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, rose to a first-class power in literature. And what can be accomplished in the destructive art of war when a great nation bends its energy in that direction is shown by the Germany of today. The same effects of emphasis can be seen in our political and social relations. That the so-called lower classes have been socially lower is not due to inherent incapacity, but to social hypnotism. Witness in modern times the progress from slavery to political equality of the masses, the growing emancipation of the industrial classes, the liberation of the woman and child. Thus the ruling sentiment of an individual and a people ranks, encourages, and suppresses the values of, humanity, in accordance with its organizing principle.

The unification of values.—It is the airn of social interpretation and systematization to constitute a whole of values—a happy life. This involves the correlation of the various types of values, naturalistic and formal, so that they may constitute a unity through the various stages of a life's development. It is an axiom of long-standing that all human beings desire happiness. But happiness cannot be a series of discrete pulses of pleasure, a mere sum of discrete satisfactions. It must, somehow, have some organizing principle which makes the present activity refer to the past and to the future, and which is adequate to the complexity of claims within the social network in which we live and move and have our being.

(91) While we may all desire happiness, we discern from experience that it can come only through a realized life. And so, considering the complexity of the inner life and the intricate and often clumsy organization of external conditions, there is plenty of chance to miss happiness. Yes, one might say, small chance of finding it.

The content of life varies indeed, from moment to moment, from period to period, from individual to individual, and from race to race. The relative strength of tendencies varies. In some individuals some tendency is particularly strong, in others weak or lacking. Endowment and temperament vary in individuals and peoples and affect the complexion or mosaic of the whole. In the same individual and the same people, we find that sometimes one tendency, sometimes another, predominates—now love, now hate, now self-assertion, now self-abasement; now anger, now pity; sometimes the striving for property, sometimes the striving for truth; sometimes the feeling for beauty, sometimes the zeal for righteousness; sometimes the somber mood, sometimes the cheery. In an organized life, however, some one sentiment, whether conscious or unconscious, can be seen to run through the various moments of life and give connectedness to its various parts; some theme recurs in the symphony and makes life a whole. It may be any sentiment—the love of a human being or even a clog, the striving for wealth, the passion for fame, for truth, the loyalty to some cause toward which the multitudinous details are made to converge.

If we look at the formal categories of unification, we find that these are indeed implied wherever a whole of life is being constituted. There must be agreement. One part of life must be seen to be consistent with the rest. There must be a common direction. This, we have seen, is furnished by any ruling sentiment. Further, there must be harmony. Each part, both longitudinally and in cross-section, must be seen to support the main idea and to support it in due proportion. The sort of harmony is, of course, dictated by the principal theme and the relevancy which it implies. It would be different for love, for acquisition of wealth, for truth, for beauty, for religious devotion. Then there must be simplicity. The leading idea must be seen clearly and distinctly in the details. The whole, too, must possess universality. It must be such that it

(92) can be socially approved—at any rate, approved by those who are competent to appreciate, whether it be a present or future gallery of spectators.

Beside these formal categories, there are other categories which pertain more particularly to the content of the moving whole. We demand the conservation of values. We demand that the largest number of values consistent with a whole of life shall be conserved. And conversely, we regard that as a more perfect whole which conserves the greater number of values and destroys the fewest. It is the "wrecklessness" of values which makes the history of humanity seem so irrational an affair to our limited viewpoint. Whole civilizations have perished with scarcely a trace—the civilization of the Hittites with its meager inscriptions but recently discovered, of ancient Carthage with but "a few lines in Pliny." It is this chance element in history which makes us suspicious of such philosophers as Hegel who would interpret history as a logically cumulative system. With the growing unification of humanity we may hope for more continuity of values. But there still remains war with its irrational devastation.

We must also have regard to the quality of the whole.[11] While , any, dominant sentiment produces some type of unity, we demand that the unity shall be of the highest possible quality. It has been maintained that preference for a supposed higher type of values is in reality a preference for a greater amount of value, that quality is always reducible to quantity.[12] This implies a false theory of values. It assumes that values are entities which can be measured and weighed apart from tlie constitution of the self. But even granting this, who shall prove that a primitive unity based upon some strong instinct, where the ideal tendencies are weak or lacking or not elicited, does not furnish so great a quantity of satisfaction as the more ideal type of unity with its infinite demands and its inevitable sense of failure ? Who can measure the quantity of

(93) satisfaction as between the man and the pig, the fool and Socrates ? We must regard the unity of life, which is produced by the dominance of some ideal tendency such as love of truth or right or beauty or friendship, as of intrinsically higher quality than that produced by a more primitive sentiment, though the latter, too, has its claim which must be recognized. Perfect happiness would be the realization of a human nature, complete in its endowment, in terms of all the types of stimuli of a perfect social environment. But we are at best one-sided, and our realization is limited by our endowment, on the one hand, and our opportunity, on the other. Some of us are specialized in one direction, some in another, with corresponding limitations. We are but fractional men. And out of the variety and supplementation of values we hope to constitute a social whole, which shall make up for our individual limitations, and perhaps be greater because of them.

Since true happiness is the realization of humanity, and humanity at its highest possible level, we must will that humanity everywhere, whether in ourselves or others shall be realized and realized at its best. The realization of the whole extent of happiness implies not only the individual but also the social realization of humanity; its participation in a common good, in so far as this is consistent with the highest qualify of the good. This means the union and participation of humanity at its highest level—not the unity of prejudice and passion. When human happiness in ourselves or others fails to conform to such an ideal it must be corrected and subordinated so as to support, if possible, the quality of the whole, or at any rate not to mar it. For we must remember that the prime condition of value is not a quantity of feeling, but the realizing of the highest tendencies of human nature.

Finally, the realization of a human whole of value must mean the enrichment of values. The will must seek new adventure, new fulfilment, in order that sustained happiness may be possible. Life must be creative to maintain its significance, else it retrogrades to the mechanical level. The. sentiment for truth must ever find its satisfaction in new discovery, the love of beauty in new creations of beauty. Some formal themes must indeed continue, in order that the process may have unity, and in order that the past may be

( 94) conserved in the ongoing process. But the past can be significant only in new variations, in new creative unities. To rest satisfied in the moment is to miss the significance of the process, to sell out to the devil.

It must be clear now that the organizing of happiness involves a corresponding organization of the conditions of happiness. Social institutions must be so made over as to furnish human nature the opportunity for this maximum realization. For a large number of human beings, happiness has been largely impossible, at any rate happiness of a type worthy of human nature. While the Athenian gentleman realized his dream of beauty, what about the slave? And what about the vast majority of mankind today, who are doing the drudgery of society? We have, indeed, made rapid strides during the last fifty years toward making the cumulating ideal values more accessible to the many. Public education, public libraries, public art museums show what can be accomplished by an enlightened public will in these matters. And a great deal of thought has been directed of late, and more must be directed in the future, toward making the economic conditions of the mass of human beings more conformable to ideal realization and more proportionate to their claims for happiness. This does not mean, except incidentally, the dispensing of charity, the handing things over to the neglected part of humanity by the more favored few. It must mean greater incentive to participate in a common good; greater opportunity to realize their humanity through education, through adequate wages and leisure, in such human fellowship and co-operation as their capacities may make them capable of doing. It means the removal of such conditions as destroy the security and health and peace of human beings by making them the instruments of the selfishness and vanity of the few, whether captains of industry or war-lords. With improved means of communication, with increased imagination, and with greater moral sensitiveness, the presence of conditions of misery in a large part of humanity must act to decrease the happiness of the remainder and spur to efforts for improvement. Any thoroughgoing organization of happiness must mean the joy in the common task of realizing a common humanity and the control of the means for so doing.



Let us turn now to the implications as regards the object of value. The organization of our beliefs in regard to the object proceeds pari passu with the organization of our interests. We have seen that in the primitive value situation, the presence of an object to consciousness is equivalent to a belief in its reality. There is no distinction here between grades of existence—between ideal and perceptual objects. The controversies as to whether an object must exist [13] in order to be valuable have, for the most part, missed the point at issue. In the organized value situation, the object, in order to be satisfactory, must have such existence as is implied in our expectancies with reference to it. This may mean perceptual existence, as in satisfying hunger. We do not want to eat imaginary food or to be hypnotized into thinking we have eaten when we have not. Not all value situations, however, imply the perceptual existence of the object. A mathematical proposition is said to "satisfy" the existence postulate when it harmonizes with its presuppositions and with other propositions in a logical system. It is mathematically satisfactory when it fulfils this function. It may relate to a fourth dimension. In any case, perceptual existence is irrelevant. Alice in Wonderland is a thoroughly satisfactory system of relations in so far as it is consistent within its imaginary world. We do not expect to verify Alice's adventures in the world of perception. We should feel that we had gone crazy if we thought we did; and that is not very satisfactory. While the Homeric world has become for us a world of myth, we none the less enjoy the appeal which its organized values make to our imagination. When we watch a moving-picture film we should be shocked to have the characters step off the film into the audience; and it would make our flesh creep to have a madman step off the canvas, or to have marble statues take life in the manner of Pygmalion's Galatea. To say that the value object must have existence does not, then, define the situation. To be satisfactory the object must have such existence

( 96) whether perceptual or ideal, verifiable or mythical—as harmonizes with our system of beliefs within the type of realization selected. Our expectancies in regard to the object may, indeed, be wrong. In that case the situation becomes finally satisfactory only when our beliefs have been revised so as to agree with the object which we have set ourselves. In any case the object becomes satisfactory when it exists as conceived. And this may be the filmy structure of imagination rather than "this too solid frame of things."

What needs to be emphasized in this connection is that the belief attitude enters, as a fundamental ingredient, into the value situation. It is not merely external to it, as is sometimes implied in theories of value. That the former is the case is, of course, apparent enough in all our practical values. In business we may sometimes take a gambling chance at winning out. In some enterprises, such as mining promotion, so many unknown variables are involved that we realize that the odds are against us. But still we have a right to demand that the conditions shall be such as they are represented; that they shall conform to the expectancies which we are led to entertain. In the normally organized business of credit and exchange there are also unforeseen vicissitudes, but in investing our labor or capital, we have a right to demand that the consequences shall be such as to harmonize with our expectancies in so far as those consequences can be foreseen and controlled. We demand, in other words, that business shall be done in good faith; and our sense of realization and satisfaction imply such observance of the rules of business. We condemn selfish manipulation and the advertising of fictitious conditions as real. But belief enters into artistic values as well as practical. It makes a profound difference to our appreciation whether we believe that art interprets a real world or merely furnishes play for our imagination under such formal restrictions as our creative activity may adopt. There is a momentous difference whether we believe that Phidias is interpreting a real Zeus and a living Athene, or is merely delighting us with a myth world. The Athenians convicted Phidias of impiety, while we delight in the formal beauty of the remaining fragments. Our appreciation of the Sistine Madonna is very much affected by our being part of a certain Christian belief world. It cannot have

(97) the same value, though it may still be art, to one who has no sympathy with that world. Art not merely furls certain formal requirements; but genuine art is the interpretation of a content, of  the life of its age, its peculiar stratum of civilization. It makes this content clear and distinct; it selects, condenses, and frames; but it must be true to the meaning of the content to be appreciated as a realization of our will. Hence the different appeal that is made to us by such art works as the Venus de Milo, the Sistine Madonna, or the Angelus. The first needs a faith in the Greek gods, the second in mediaeval Christianity, the third in modern democracy, for its full appreciation. The reason that even so great a critic as Browning has found Greek art impersonal and formal, while modern art seems to him personal and passionate, is that we lack the reality feeling for the content of Greek life which made art so vital to them. We always find another civilization formal when judged by our standards—the Moslems burned the library of Alexandria, the Christians the library of Cordova; we destroy other peoples' cathedrals and art works. We don't burn our own libraries or art works for they are vital—to us.

What we have said about the existence of the object holds equally as regards its properties and its quantity. We find the object satisfactory as. regards its properties when it has such properties as are implied in our expectancies. If we expect the object to be sweet and find it sour; if we desire bread and receive a stone; if we pay for woolen goods and get cotton, we are dissatisfied so far as the particular purpose is concerned. Our expectancies may, indeed, be upset in a favorable direction, when our beliefs are understatements of what we want the facts to be. We had expected to see none but strangers and we find an old friend in the crowd; we had expected but small return from our investment and discover that it is profitable; we had conceived a man as having indifferent moral qualities and find him heroic. Here there is congruity, however, with our fundamental, organized desires and the feeling is only enhanced by the unexpected realization.

As regards quantity we find the object satisfactory when it is attained in such quantity as is implied in the organized tendency. We may pray the gods to save us from embarrassing riches as well

( 98) as from grueling poverty, for wealth which interferes with our deeper purposes of achievement is no longer satisfactory. We do not want to be forced to be bankers when we have set ourselves to be scientists. Some tendencies in human nature seem to be insatiable as regards quantity. If the sentiment for ownership or for power is the controlling motive, there seems to be no limit to the quantity. Such sentiments grow with what they feed upon. Every attainment raises the threshold of satisfaction, perhaps in geometrical progression, and so makes impossible anything like permanent satisfaction or happiness. What is more, such one-sided emphasis on what should be instrumental contradicts the deeper end of life, as regards both individual and social realization. It is treating one's self, as well as others, as mere means to an end. Even such insatiable sentiments imply, however, that the object of the satisfaction is limited, if not in its supply, at least by virtue of its artificial control. Objects which can be had without limitation, such as fresh air and sunshine in the open country, fail to impress the will as valuable even though they supply fundamental needs. We sometimes speak of them as "absolute" values; but it is the relative and limited values, the utilities which can be controlled and withheld, for which men strive. And what wealth and power strive for is unlimited control of their objects.

Some sentiments imply a definite limitation of quantity. Love in practically all birds and in some human beings limits its object to one. The higher the realization, the more circumscribed is the notion of mere quantity. Artistic creativeness and appreciation, as well as love, demand uniqueness. We do not want more than one artistic creation of a kind. We demand that the artist shall express himself again with a new soul in a new work. We do not attach a high value to mere copying. The same is true in ethical relations and in friendship. We want virtue with individuality, not mere conventional virtue. We may have more than one friend, but we don't want duplicate friends. We want uniqueness, the ministration to different purposes. We may have to find ruggedness and sweetness in different personalities, and we want both types. Even as utilities, we value objects more highly in terms of gold when they possess individuality, when they are craft-made

( 99) and not merely machine-made, even though the abstract utilitarian need might be served as well by the latter as by the former.

Finally, we demand that the object, in order to be satisfactory, shall possess such organization as agrees with the implications of the specific value attitude. This organization may have reference to external associations. If we value a painting because it is a work of Rembrandt, we are not satisfied unless it is the work of Rembrandt. We don't want even a perfect copy or a work by another artist, though it may be intrinsically just as good. But the organization implied may be intrinsic, may have to do with the relation of the object to our formal postulates. We may find the painting, even though by a master, to be unsatisfactory because it does not harmonize with our standards of art. We are disappointed by the conduct of a man when it falls short of what we have conceived him to be. In such cases the organization of the object is truly objective. If it were merely subjective we should have no one to blame or praise but ourselves. We recognize the object's own organization and approve or criticize accordingly.

In the organization of our beliefs as regards the object, as in the organization of our interests with reference to each other, we must recognize our dependence upon the social matrix of which we are a part. It is the social organization of our world of beliefs which gives us our grades of existence; which prescribes largely what properties are satisfactory, what quantity is necessary, and what organization we shall approve. We may, indeed, criticize and attempt to improve the objects of our choice; but it is with the advantage of the social background and with the expectancy of at least eventual social approval that we do so.

Of the world of values, at any rate, it can be truly said that it is an idealistic world. Not, indeed, a world of subjective idealism. Value is not merely what the individual approves or enjoys at the, time. It does not rest merely on his immediate perception. It is a world of social idealism—a socially organized world in which the individual appreciates and judges. His own idiosyncracies do, indeed, count for him. There may be private and evanescent values. But over and beyond his private likes and dislikes, there is the social world of values, which furnishes organized objects of

( 100) realization, which tests and standardizes our individual evaluations, and which gives the private evanescent values such significance as they have for the individual. Within this world, whether in loyalty to organized values as they are, or in loyalty to social improvement, we must find our realization and happiness, so far as it can be found. The world of values has, at any rate, minds for its poles of relation. It rests on human nature as a conscious organized community of interpretation. Should mind disappear, should Endymion sleep without waking again, the world of values, too, would disappear. There would remain, indeed, physical changes, but they would not be even junk. Things are but instruments in the world of values, raw material to receive the stamp of creative spirit. The real ends are selves. And the respecting of such selves—the encouraging of their realization in a reciprocal social community—is the fundamental condition of the organization of values.


If value is the congruity of an object with the specific realization of human nature, it seems clear that we must take into account the whole organization of the self in order to understand value.[14] For in order to have realization there must be an end to be realized; and this implies intellectual organization. We must also take into account the executive aspect, for successful realization implies control and action.

We are still prone to divide human nature into water-tight compartments. The latest manifestation of "faculty" psychology is the tendency at present to explain values by referring them to sentiments. We are prone to explain moral values by referring them to a moral sentiment, religious values by a religious sentiment, etc. Having coined a name for a certain aspect of the process of realization, we proceed to treat the abstraction as an entity. Now, it was important to call attention to the fact that the organization of the intellectual and executive aspects of the self involves a corresponding organization of the appreciative aspect.[15] Psychologists have

( 101) been prone to take the intellectualist view of Hegel that feeling remains indefinite and amorphous, while it is the cognitive aspect which is organized and therefore has superior claim to our attention and regard. But there is no organization of one aspect which does not involve, in so far as it is genuine and real, the organization of human nature as a whole. To indicate this parallel organization of the self, at its upper level, we have invented the term reason for the intellectual aspect of systematization, character for the volitional, and sentiment for the emotional. But these are not separate organizations. They are complementary aspects of the conscious realization of human nature. Each has to do with the whole self. Intellect is for the sake of conduct; and conscious conduct implies the realization of ends. Value has to do with the whole self in the aspect of conscious realization. There is only one organization of normal human nature.

This unity of human nature is foreshadowed in the simplest value situation, that of instinctive realization. Here we have the cognitive aspect represented by a certain specific way of perceiving the situation, the executive by the organization of a series of adaptive movements, and the appreciative by the unique satisfaction of the specific realization. The latter, we have seen, implies a specific direction, on the one hand, and a specific complex of affective factors, on the other. The case does not differ essentially in purposive realization. The complexity of the situation is here greater and the process is conscious of its own direction, forward and backward, but much depends still upon unconscious tendencies. The postponement of the satisfaction may indeed become indefinite, with its corresponding effect on feeling; but on the animal level, too, there is postponement. The wolf must sometimes hunt for days for food, and he has other instincts with a constant pressure which can be satisfied only at rare intervals. The difference is, therefore, a matter of degree.

We have seen that the organization of values involves, on the one hand, the classifying and ranking of values with reference to each other, and, on the other hand, the organization of our expectancies with reference to the object or activity. In either case the organization of value implies intellectual organization. It must be equally clear that our value attitudes and judgments imply the

( 102) cumulative organization of reactions into character. Value owes its reality and vividness to reaction. Its strength in an organized self depends, not merely upon the primitive impulse, but even more upon the organization of impulses, forged by habit into character. The worth of a value, as J. S. Mill indicated, must be measured by the heirarchy of dispositions as organized into character. It is this, too, which makes possible that sustained sense of realization which we call happiness. What we must emphasize is the wholeness of human nature in its realization. The aspects interpenetrate; they are complementary to each other in one life-process, the successful realization of which is recognized as value. There is only one organization, whatever aspects and moments we may emphasize.

Doubtless some will insist on cases where one aspect has developed comparatively independently of the others. Sentimentalists, normal and otherwise, will be dragged forth as horrid examples of the dissociation of sentiment from character or from intellect or from both, as the coupling of "meanest and wisest" has been intended to show the dissociation between reason and conduct. But as we might quote Aristotle to show that real insight, as contrasted with mere vague or drunken repetition of words, involves motor control, so we could show that the sentimentalist is chaotic in his sense of values just in proportion to the vagueness of his conceptions and the indifference of his reactions. The stagy illustrations, usually brought forth, either prove this to be true or are libels on the personalities in question, when these are estimated in their own social setting. What is at the bottom of the confusion in our judgments—on ourselves or others—in such cases is that we confuse second-hand evaluations, or the sentiments of the group, which we have imitated externally without assimilating them into our own experience, with bona fide sentiments, or our real habits of evaluation. It is easy enough to find people who indulge in pious cant and who are Pharisees at heart, but such people just serve to illustrate the principle which we have already stated. Their real sense of values is quite proportionate to their conduct; or their conduct would be different. We value things—family, country, friends—in proportion to our willingness to sacrifice for them.


The unity of human nature of which we have spoken implies, not merely the unity of abstract individual nature, but the social unity of human nature. Realization must mean realization within social groups. It may be family realization, or club realization, or national realization, or the realization of friendship or of truth; but it is always the realization of a social community. We may indeed aim at an ideal community, but even so, it is the living community which we wish to improve by such correction and inspiration as we are able to bring. The organized realization of value implies the solidarity of humanity. In its ideal creativeness and self-criticism there is implied further the unity of humanity, somehow, with an ideal order which draws us onward in our groping endeavor to realize ourselves as parts of an unseen future, and which makes us "more than we are and wiser than we know."


  1. The term canalization as here used has reference to the forming of special tendencies for adaptation to special types of stimuli, while organization has reference to the correlation of tendencies and beliefs.
  2. The aspect of congruence has been emphasized in Dewey and Tufts, Ethics, pp. 281-84, a book replete with suggestions for a theory of value. A similar concept, that of harmony or fitness, is beautifully expressed in Palmer, Nature of Goodness.
  3. We cannot eliminate feeling from satisfaction altogether, as seems to be done by Münsterberg, The Eternal Values, 1909, chap. v.
  4. There are other variables which affect the threshold from time to time, such as surplus energy and fatigue. Their influence, however, decreases with organization of tendencies. There are also pathological conditions which affect the organic bases of feeling. But from these we must abstract here.
  5. For the theory that affections possess only two qualities, pleasantness and unpleasantness, see E. B. Titchener, A Text-Book of Psychology, 1913, pp. 226 ff. Royce in his Outline of Psychology adds another dimension, excitement and calm; and Wundt in his classic work, Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie, gives three dimensions, including, besides the foregoing, strain and relaxation. See Vol. II, p. 263
  6. See G. E. Moore, Ethics, pp, 167 ff.; also Principia Ethica.
  7. For this view see James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, pp. 150, 151 .
  8. For an excellent criticism of the Austrian school and of some other theories of economic value see Anderson, Social Value, 1911, especially chaps. iii, iv. It also contains a bibliography of some of the recent discussions of value. See especially pp. 94, 95.
  9. This conception of ethics agrees in the main, I believe, with that of Plato and Aristotle in ancient times and with that of Hegel in modern times. The tendency of late has been to identify ethics with morality. Royce's Philosophy of Loyalty and Dewey and Tuft's Ethics return in a measure to the earlier tradition in emphasizing the social side.
  10. See in this connection Joseph Jastrow's interesting essay, The Qualities of Men.
  11. The noblest statement of the qualitative view is to be found in J. S. Mill's Utilitarianism.
  12. The theory that values can he stated entirely in terms of quantity has found classic expression in Plato's Protagoras and in Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation. It has recently been maintained by R. P. Perry, Jour. Phil., Psych., and Sci. Meth., XI, 161.
  13. Meinong emphasizes the "existence judgment" in regard to the object of value in his important work, Psychologisch-ethische Untersuchungen zur Werttheorie, 1894, Part I, chap. i. Tardē seems to take a similar point of view. See "La Psychologie en économie politique," Revue philosophique, XII, 337, 338.
  14. Urban has done valuable service in showing the importance of the presuppositions of the total psychosis in understanding value. See Valuation, 1909, pp. 14-16.
  15. Important contributions to the psychology of sentiment are Shand's paper in Stout's Groundwork of Psychology, chap. xvi, and McDougall's An Introduction to Social Psychology, chaps. v, vi.

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