Does Intrinsic Value Exist?
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Author:  riverc0il [ Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

Intrinsic Value seems to be a theme that Wielenberg argues for throughout the text. The concept that certain values are absolute in a naturalist world and that we should all strive to live up to them. Assuming a Godless Universe exists, do you believe there are Intrinsic Values? Feel free to comment and detail your ideas such as perhaps you feel Intrisic Value may exist by Wielenberg did not make a successful or valid arguement or provide enough support or proof.

Results (total votes = 10):
Yes 3 / 30.0%  
No 7 / 70.0%  
Maybe 0 / 0.0% 
Other (Explain) 0 / 0.0% 

Author:  MadArchitect [ Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

Assuming a Godless universe, no. At least, I haven't seen a persuasive argument for it.

Author:  JulianTheApostate [ Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

In other threads, I've realized that the word intrinsic has multiple meanings.

As one interpretation, some of my beliefs are intrinsic to my nature, such as the belief that it's wrong to torture babies. In that sense, other things I believe, such as the Pythagorean theorem, are not intrinsic.

Another interpretation defines an intrinsic value as one that's a universal truth, apart from what any individual believes. With that interpretation, a mathematical concept like the Pythagorean theorem is an intrinsic truth, while the evilness of torturing babies may or may not be.

Author:  riverc0il [ Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

Another interpretation defines an intrinsic value as one that's a universal truth, apart from what any individual believes. With that interpretation, a mathematical concept like the Pythagorean theorem is an intrinsic truth, while the evilness of torturing babies may or may not be.

this is the definition the author seems to be going with and is what i tried to base the poll on.

Author:  Jeremy1952 [ Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

It seems apparent to me that values are inextricably tied to point of view. I think right and wrong, moral and immoral are real: but human morality is only meaningful from a human point of view. From the point of view of the prairie chicken (which was hunted to extinction in the U.S.), anything which would have destroyed, limited, or crippled human beings would have been "good". In fact there are many perfectly valid points of view from which destruction of human beings is good. Since this is, to me, obviously true, it is equally apparent that values cannot be necessary truths, in the sense of the Pythagorean theorem.

If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984

Author:  Jade [ Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  words of advice

While chatting up a cute boy in a bar, do NOT ask him if he believes in a set of intrinsic values of good and evil.

He will look at you quizically and excuse himself.


Stupid beer... made me forget that I'm not supposed to speak intelligently while in bars...

Though... on another note... can we make a list? Cause.. I'm having some trouble.

Author:  MadArchitect [ Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: words of advice

A list of what?

Author:  dagege [ Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist? -- questions

Submitted for your discussion, my questions:

Must intrinisic values by definition be universal values?

God or no god, how can humans function without (at least) individually intrinsic values? Without them, we'd be blind to the most obvious of our pursuits.

RE: universal vs individual
Is the question of instrinsic values derived from the degree to which our social experience shapes them; or, is the question of their exsistence a challenge to our socialization.

If intrinsic values are prior to and regardless of socialization, can they be isolated as a purely sensory experience?

If they are a product of socialization, can they be analyzed as psychological phenemona?

Author:  Dissident Heart [ Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

Some thoughts.... ... .. .

A value gains/loses authority based upon its origin.

This authority can be limited or universal.

Submission to this authority is how we determine if an act, idea or relationship is valuable.

An intrinsic value has its origin in something other than human imagination/ingenuity or social construction/tradition.

Values that arise from human imagination/igenuity or social construction/tradition have a lesser scope of authority than intrinsic values.

Human imagination/ingenuity and social construction/tradition are sometimes in conflict with each other, and sometimes mutually supportive.

Intrinsic values may arise from a transcendent, supernatural source.

Intrinsic values may arise from genetic physiological source.

Transcendent or genetic sources carry greater authoritative scope than human imag/ingenuity social contruc/tradition sources.

Author:  dagege [ Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

The problem that I see by postulating a value derived from a transcendent or supernatural source is that its evidence enters only via the senses and/or experience. As such, the religious experience and the mystic experience, it would seem, are not so much departures from, but refinements of the senses.

In turn, I am wondering about the process of assigning a value supernatural or transcendent authority. More generally, I am also wondering about how sensory (gen- physio) construction effects participation in the social dynamic.

At the risk of reducing consciousness to a hard-wired biological system of meta-values, it would seem that increasing a chosen value's authority by invoking extra-sensory origins is a subversion.

My argument does not intend to discount the existance of intrinsic values or god. The argument is meant to state (anarchistically, perhaps) that the intrinsic-ness of any value lies in the degree to which it is directed rather than in the degree to which it directs.

I hope I wrote that right.

Author:  Meme Wars [ Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

I agree with Jeremy.

Intrinsic Values are utter nonsense. What is good for the Mosquito is bad for Humans. What is good for humans is bad for mosquitos.

Values are meaningless without a point of reference. As we become more enlightened, we begin to embrace multiple points of view dispite some understandable conflicts of interest between each position, but to extend to an infinite number of points of views, the idea of value, good & evil, completely evaporate into meaninglessness.

Monty Vonn
Meme Wars!

Edited by: Meme Wars at: 3/23/06 10:05 pm

Author:  dagege [ Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

That all entities (especially humans) take measures to attain a certain quality of existence makes the end product of this process an intrinsic value.

Different cultures do not even agree on what "measures to take" to "attain a certain quality of existence" (whatever that means). Some cultures would say that the American 'measures' and 'quality of existence' are superficial and self-serving...certainly nothing intrinsically valuable in that position.

The bottom line is that the only way something can have intrinsic value is for it to have something (or someone) who can assign it the property that the observer deems valuable. Without (insert any sufficiently intelligent being here) to debate all this, there would not even be such a thing as value in the first

The understanding for me is rather visceral. I'll attempt to explain, but it's like trying to explain how my teeth grow without a formal dental background.

Life is not made of random events with no cause and effect upon the other. All living beings take certain actions to attain their self-defined quality of life. For example, those interested in longevity might adhere to a healthy diet, workout, get regular checkups, etc. Others interested in feeling the immediacy of life might partake in more risk-taking endeavors. Even those solely interested in squelching the level of pain they accutely feel take actions (suicides) so that their experience is more palatable. Whatever their methods, whatever their culture, whatever the species, the temporal pattern that occurs among all living beings is driven by one thing: the intrinsic value of one's own identity. I believe we not only quest to experience this unceasingly, but we can do no other. Every single one of us does what we do (or doesn't do what we don't do) because we are attempting to more sharply shape ourselves -deceptions and lies included.

I think that the values that most of those on the board are trying to relativize and compare are only instrinsic insofar as they are an extension of each of our avenues into what is known in some circles as the Jungian collective (un)consciousness. Perhaps the apparent differences are only superficial. My analogy is of the ocean(s). Are there really waters that are Pacific and Atlantic? Or do they simply flow into one another?

Note: i edited the line "jungian collective consciousness" into the more historically accurate "jungian collective unconsciousness." by positing a jungian paradigm i am not seeking to validate it, but merely bringing the concept of differing values and beliefs under one rubric. it would be off topic to begin to discuss here whether unconsciousness exists at all (collective or individual), but it is a question that might merit later consideration.

Edited by: dagege at: 3/9/06 12:25 am

Author:  riverc0il [ Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

I hate to play the contrarian, but I think it is patently obvious that intrinsic values exist.

contrarian is a good thing, it fosters discussion among those of differing opinions and is more than welcome::121 however, a previous question was raised and i think it is a good one that you need to answer to defend your position: Mr. P asked for someone to name one intrinsic value. Mr. P also makes a good point that values differ between cultures, so to suggest that all entities are striving intrinsic values doesn't add up to from my perspective.

Author:  dagege [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

cultural values do differ between cultures. but I'm not referring to cultural values. you're almost hitting the nail on the head when you mention striving. it is not, however, striving (the forms of which vary infinitely) that is instrinsic value. instead, intrinsic value is the desire, force, factor, etc (however you may like to conceptualize it) that drives this striving.

"striving" may be a misnomer. the process is as passive as it is active.

it is the total degree both with which and to which we act out of our own personal compendium of wants, desires, socially conditioned and coerced impetus, and naturally occuring hunger that reflects intrinsic value. each and every manifestation is different, yes! but what we living beings share as all-important, as all-consuming, and as irresistably compelling and directing is that which forces each of us to be responsibly ourselves. there is simply no place to hide. intrinsic value forces us to self-define. paradoxical, but true nonetheless.

Author:  dagege [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

thanks for the welcome, river. cool site, great discussion group.

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