Intrinsic Value

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wesmorris, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    I think this is a "general agreement" on value rather than absolute value, as one view is practical and the other absolute. Regardless, when I try to think of intrinsic value I always feel like refuting the absolute view anyway, even though I've refuted its utility to myself a lot of times.

    I don't believe absolute intrinsic value is possible.

    Do you?

    Practically speaking, what things are intrinsically valuable to you?

    Do you think intrinsic value is possible, if so why and what is?
     
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Here's my attempt at a definition:

    A thing is extrinsically valuable if it is valued by somebody as a means to an end. For example, if I need to unscrew a screw, a screwdriver has value to me, since it will help me to achieve my goal. The value of the screwdriver has little to do with the screwdriver in and of itself; it's value exists only in relation to me and my goals and opinions.

    A thing that is intrinsically valuable, on the other hand, is recognised to have value as an end in itself, rather than as the means to an end of a particular person at a particular time. One example might be something like Beethoven's 5th symphony. Sure, listening to it might serve the goal of making me feel happy, and so it has some extrinsic value. But that kind of thing doesn't seem to capture its true value as a work of art. Just having the symphony in the world arguably makes it a richer and better place than it would be otherwise.

    Mostly, we accord some measure of intrinsic value to human beings. The prohibition on slavery is a recognition of this, because a slave is treated solely as the means to an end of another human being. The slave has no real rights of his or her own - only those given by his or her master. The slave is property, with only extrinsic worth. And it's our natural sense that people have intrinsic worth that makes slavery so abborent to most of us.
     
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  5. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Firstly, nice of you to reply, thanks.

    Okay, and I'm really sorry I have to ask this because of the associated bag of worms, but seriously... value is a state of mind... so in granting intrinsic value to the art, isn't that literally the act of you projecting value into it, rather than its value somehow existing in a manner other than a state of mind? I should have mentioned something about this in the OP but didn't think to do so.

    Which when keying on the word "recognized" it would seem this is what I discussed in the OP, where it's just a general agreement. I think this agreement actually breaks down severely under harsh scrutiny, but would agree that it serves some utility in the social sphere, such that we can sort of resonate in our percieved agreeance.

    I don't see exactly why. If you have reverence for the value of the art and realize that instead of some smoke and mirrors place where its "intrinsic value" might exist, it's really just that it exists in you, due to what you are... what you've become, then isn't that simply a shift toward respect for the power of experience, minds, or something along those lines?

    Arguably, sure. Absolutely? I'd say not, depending upon how it's framed I suppose. If by absolutely "when reviewing the evidence of human opinion, there were no cases of disagreement on this statement of value" since value doesn't exist outside of minds, this is considered absolute... I'd say maybe this would work, but you'd have to ask every person to know for sure and that's not exactly possible. And then of course there's the possiblity of alien intelligence, which would mean we'd have to find them all and ask them too.

    Alternatively, I'm not sure where you'd say the value exists, given that its only known place to do so is as a state of mind.



    Mostly yes, but that we accord it I'd think is a case of extrinsic value as you put it above.
     
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  7. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    For a phenomenon to have intrinsic value, said phenomnenon would have to have selfhood, an identity independent of all other phenomena and also independent of the observer.
    I don't know how such selfhood could exist, as to meet the criterion "having an identity independent of all other phenomena and also independent of the observer" is impossible or indeterminate.

    I certainly wish some phenomena would have intrinsic value - it seems such would make life much easier as much doubt and speculation could be done away with then.
    But I am not sure they have or how to be sure about it.
     
  8. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Wtf ? Now everyone agrees ?

    If intrinsic value doesn't exist then intrinsic meaning doesn't exist either..

    "Nothing really matters"..

    :bugeye:
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I have kept a coin given to me from my uncle who long ago passed away. It

    means nothing to anyone who sees it but it means much to me knowing who

    gave it to me. So the intrinsic value of that coin is very valuable to me but

    worthless to anyone else.
     
  10. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Definition of 'intrinsic value': value belonging to a thing by its very nature.

    In other words, the value of something in objective reality. Or, the objective value of something.

    Cosmic:
    Any value of the coin is subjective, not objective.
    Objectively seen value does not exist.
     
  11. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    so enmos as I see it your whole sticking point is as follows:

    objective value doesn't exist.

    subjective value doesn't exist.

    but it does, or you couldn't make the statement, see?

    based on that we are conversing, we have established objectively that subjective value exists. of course we haven't defined it exactly, and we can't really reveal the entirety of its contents, but we know without a doubt that it does indeed "objectively exist" or this conversation never happened.... make sense?
     
  12. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Huh? No, subjective value does exist. I never said it didn't.. :shrug:

    Wes, how can something matter without it having value to someone/thing ?
    It can't. Therefor, if intrinsic value does not exist, intrinsic meaning does not exist either.
     
  13. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Ya I don't think "things" have intrinsic value.
     
  14. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Do you think "things" have intrinsic meaning ?
     
  15. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    You got me there, I don't know what you are talking about.
     
  16. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Intrinsic purpose.. do they objectively matter ?
     
  17. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    No, even a specific item like a cross of Jesus means different things to different people.
     
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    not sure if I understand what you are trying to get at here

    A triangle has intrinsic value (3 sides)
    A fire has many intrinsic values (eg heat)
    Life has intrinsic value (eg desire - most notably, happiness)
     
  19. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Life is shit
     
  20. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly

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    'To matter' is a subjective concept. Objective reality does not include any subjectivity. Thus in objective reality nothing matters.
     
  21. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    interesting, but not practical.
     
  22. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Of course it isn't practical lol
    If you think it's interesting you might want to have a look at my thread "Nothing really matters" in which they all disagree with me. But here they all agree with the notion that intrinsic value doesn't exist.. go figure.. :shrug:
     
  23. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    only when the intrinsic value is frustrated

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