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M O D E L
BOOK OF INSTRUMENTS
ELEMENTS OF NORMATIVE PHILOSOPHY

7.3 

SIEVING THE VALUES OF THE A- AND C-HORIZONS

7.3.1 

THE MATCHING AND MISMATCHING OF VALUE CATEGORIES


Normative values relating to the normativeness of being in general, and not to acting persons in particular, we shall call "nonagential (normative) values". Stability, harmony and equilibrium, for instance, are traditional nonagential values. Normative values which are the subject of ethics, we shall call "agential (normative) values". Ethical or moral values would do too, but many ethical theorists use the phrase moral value to refer to the agential values of the 'C-horizon' exclusively. In our terminology the agential values of the 'C-horizon' are motivational values; those of the 'B-horizon' intentional values; and those of the 'A-horizon' performatory values. Traditional, moral and other philosophers lump performatory, nonagential normative and esthetic or other nonnormative values together under the heading of the perplexing phrase nonmoral values. To make matters worse they may treat moral value and virtue as synonyms while simultaneously speaking of "religious", "intellectual" or other types of "virtue" in addition to "moral virtue" (that is, 'moral moral value'?). This gibberish about 'moral', 'esthetic', 'religious', 'intellectual' and other values is the vulgar result of an awful jumbling of categories.

On the basis of an ontological system of classification one may differentiate factual, modal and moral or other normative values; on the basis of ontology and epistemology one must distinguish values in a strict sense from doxastic values; and on the basis of the classification of disciplinary thought one may differentiate scientific, philosophic, artistic and religious or other ideological values. Especially religious or theodemonical values are, then, doxastic, and can be factual, modal or normative. Conversely, normative values such as certain motivational (doxastic) values may be recognized by a particular religion or form of theodemonism, or not, but such a recognition does not make it into a nonnormative (doxastic) value, even if that religious or theodemonical doctrine is the sole one to recognize it. Thus we had better forget about the traditional mismatch of categories and stick to the ontological basis of the classification of values here, since the subject of ethics or of normative philosophy, as distinct from other philosophical subjects, rests itself upon that classification.

Values cannot only be categorized on the basis of ontology or epistemology, on the basis of the type of disciplinary thought in which they play a role, and on the basis of the triple-tiered profile of ethics, they can also be categorized on the basis of their position in a value hierarchy. Each value on a lower level can, then, be derived from a value on a higher level (but not vice versa). For example, if happiness is a value, then both the happiness of human happiness-catenals and the happiness of nonhuman happiness-catenals are values. But if the happiness of human happiness-catenals is a value, it is not logically necessary that happiness is a value, and that the happiness of nonhuman happiness-catenals is a value. Now, the value which is not and cannot be derived from any other value is the ultimate value, and the next one the penultimate value. A penultimate value may be perfective, corrective or instrumental. A perfective penultimate value merely relates to a special instance of the ultimate value. For example, the happiness of human happiness-catenals will, or would, be a penultimate perfective value if happiness is, or were, an ultimate value. A corrective penultimate value relates to a quality which is logically and catenically necessary to promote the ultimate value. For example, making happiness-catenals happier (or less unhappy) will, or would, be a penultimate corrective value if extreme happiness is, or were, an ultimate value. An instrumental penultimate value relates to a quality which is physically, socially or mentally needed or recommendable to promote the ultimate value. For example, beauty is an instrumental penultimate value if the presence of beauty makes people happier and if (extreme) happiness of persons is, or were, an ultimate value. The ultimate value itself is of course always perfective. It is relatively easy to see whether a value is perfective instead of corrective, and if it is perfective whether it is ultimate or not. It is much harder to see that many, if not most, values are instrumental instead of perfective (and ultimate). It does not matter, then, what level they belong to: the penultimate, the antepenultimate or a lower level.

When we speak of "values" in this context, we mean 'doxastic values', that is, values which are explicitly or implicitly taken seriously in one or more normative doctrines, particularly traditional ones. A pluralist has choice enough. Examples of what 'e can find in the A-horizon are (in alphabetical order): beauty, equality, freedom, happiness, intelligence, justice (in a sense), knowledge, liberty, love (in a sense), naturalness, peace, strength, truth and utility. (A few of these values may be identical for some people, but not for others.) In the C-horizon 'e can find, among others: benevolence, charity, chastity, conscientiousness, considerateness, courage, faith, fidelity, fortitude, gratitude, good-will, honesty, hope, integrity, justice (in a sense), kindness, love (in a sense), manliness, motherly love, prudence, temperance and wisdom. (Anything missing? If you're a pluralist, just add it! Even rarity and complexity have been suggested as intrinsic values.) For a nonmotivist, every motivational value is an instrumental or corrective value related to a perfective or nonperfective, performatory or intentional value. This nonmotivism does not necessarily make a normative doctrine less pluralistic tho, because the perfective values in the motivist doctrine may be the instrumental or corrective ones in the nonmotivist doctrine, and vice versa.

What does make an existing morality or normative theory less pluralistic (perhaps even monistic) is the removal of all doxastic values which are either disvalues or nonperfective values. This has already been done before with the values in the motivational horizon by distinguishing second- from first-order virtues. Second-order virtues would, then, be virtues covering the whole of the moral life, like courage, integrity and good-will. It has been argued that all the 'moral' (nonreligious, nonintellectual) virtues could thus be derived from two 'cardinal virtues' (ultimate motivational values), namely justice and benevolence. Others have distinguished four 'cardinal virtues': justice, temperance, courage or fortitude and wisdom or prudence. To these 'natural cardinal virtues' supernaturalists have added faith, hope and charity (or love or kindness). In no doctrine is manliness explicitly mentioned as a virtue, let alone as one of the cardinals, yet this is the origin of talking in terms of 'virtue'. The underlying stereotype is the same sexist one as that of chastity when laid down as a praiseworthy quality for girls and women, and as that of motherly love when mentioned and stressed without mentioning fatherly love, or for that matter, foster love.

With justice (or love) as a doxastic value it is always possible to subsume a wide variety of values under this 'cardinal virtue' but --as explained earlier-- without the normative doctrine getting any nearer to monism. Values like conscientiousness, faith (if you like), fidelity, honesty, integrity and wisdom presuppose some principle of truth (with or without other principles), that is, truth as a fundamental value. None of these values can therefore be wholly derived from justice which --if it is to have some denotation-- presupposes first of all a principle of relevance (with or without the recognition of certain rights). Perhaps justice presupposes a principle of truth too, but then we might as well speak about whole normative doctrines and leave justice alone, cloaked in secrecy (and a convenient polysemy).



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