Abstract of "The Logical Analysis of Intrinsic Value

Albert P. Brogan

The first requirement in any scientific discussion of value problems is the rigorous definition of all other value terms by one or more value terms taken as fundamental in the value system. As extrinsic value terms (denoting worth as means or parts) depend upon intrinsic value terms (denoting worth as ends or wholes, such as "good," good," "bad," "better," beautiful," possibly "ought" and "right") intrinsic value terms alone will be discussed. Neither "good" nor "ought" can be taken as the fundamental value term. Apparently the relation "better" (or its converse "worse") is the only term which can be taken as fundamental within the system.

Analysis shows that the determining logical characteristics of this relation (and the postulates for a value system) are as follows:

1.1. Better is contained in diversity.

1.2. Better is transitive.

1.3. The relative product of better and of not-worse is contained in better.

1.4. Whatever is in the field of better is identical with the fact that there is an entity (or entities) having some quality (or relation), or is identical with the fact that there is no such entity (or entities).

1.5. Not-better is identical with not-better limited to the field of better.

1.6. All facts about non-existence are equal in value. (Equal in value means neither better nor worse.)

These postulates suffice for all deductions about intrinsic value, except that additional postulates are required for the problematic operation of "adding" intrinsic value objects (to avoid G. E. Moore's

( 106) "principle of organic unities"). With Russell's theory of logical types, postulates 1.4 and 1.5 could be replaced by a single postulate.

All so-called axiomatic or a priori knowledge about value facts is found to be the result of purely logical deduction from these postulates and the definitions of other value terms.

Examination of the relation "better," taken as fundamental and undefined within the value system, shows that "better" can not be so adequately identified with any other (non-value) relation that this other relation can be used to define "better." For present human knowledge "better" must be taken as a simple and unanalyzed relation. It must be studied as being what it is and not as being something else.

All arguments that such a value relation is "subjective" or "unreal" are based upon trivial fallacies. While there is no more certain proposition known to be true from which it can be deduced that this relation has a "real" reference to facts, there is no reason for doubting that "better" has all the "reality" possessed by the relations studied by other sciences.

On this logical basis, with the help of inductive methodology, value discussions can become value sciences.


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