A Study on the Hierarchy of Values
ABSTRACT: I attempt to look into the issue of the ranks of values comprehensively and progressively. Anti-values can be classified into the following six categories by ascending order: (1) the act of destroying the earth-of annihilating humankind and all other living organisms; (2) the act of mass killing of people by initiating a war or committing treason; (3) the act of murdering or causing death to a human being; (4) the act of damaging the body of a human being; (5) the act of greatly harming society; (6) all other crimes not covered by the above. Higher values can be classified into the following five categories in descending rank: (1) absolute values such as absolute truth, absolute goodness, absolute beauty and absolute holiness; (2) the act of contributing to the development and happiness of humankind; (3) the act of contributing to the nation or the state; (4) the act of contributing to the regional society; (5) the act of cultivating oneself and managing one's family well. Generally, people tend to pursue happiness more eagerly than goodness, but because goodness is the higher value than happiness, we ought to pursue goodness more eagerly. In helping people to get the right sense of values and to internalize it, education and enlightenment of citizens based on the guidance of conscience rather than compulsion will be highly effective.
1. Classification of Values
I will discuss what kinds of values exist, before talking about their hierarchy. Walter Goodnow Everett classified values into the following eight categories; (1) economic values, (2) bodily values, (3) value of recreation, (4) value of association, (5) character values, (6) aesthetic values, (7) intellectual values, (8) religious values. Everett's classification does not cover all the values in our life. To this we can add political values, social values, legal values, cultural values moral values, educational values, scholastic values, industrial values, athletic values, values of life, medical values, values of language, technical values and emotional values. In addition to values in our life, things have natural values, whether they are directly related to us humans or not. The nature system such as the universe, the solar system, the earth is composed of time, space and material, and is the most basic world of existence which provides living organisms with the base for their existence. If there is no land, water, air or light, the universe will become an empty space, in which no life can exist. The nature system generates living organisms, letting them grow or become extinct, by physically sustaining its constant state or changing itself, or chemically combining or dissolving its various elements. The stars are moving, exploding or transforming themselves in the apparently boundless universe by unmeasurable mysterious power. The stars have limitless power and values over the humans as well as all the other living organisms on the earth. These stars have values of sustenance and change, values of combination and dissolution, values of conservation and generation, and values of standstill and movement. Weight, energy, objects and light realize various values. Thus the nature system has many values which constitute the base for the existence of the humans. Values can be classified as follows by their qualities; (1) individual values and social values, (2) natural values and artificial values, (3) physical values and mental values, (4) instrumental values and intrinsic values, (5) temporary values and permanent values, (6) exclusive values and universal values, (7) lower values and higher values, (8) unproductive values and productive values, (9) active values and inactive values, (10) personal values and impersonal values, (11) theoretical values and practical values, (12) relative values and absolute values, and so on. Values are indeed manifold and countless, and values in our life are interconnected. For...
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