THE MATCHING AND
MISMATCHING OF VALUE CATEGORIES
We shall call
normative values relating to the
normativeness of being in general, and not to acting persons in particular
"nonagential (normative) values".
Stability, harmony and equilibrium, for instance, are traditional
We shall call normative values which are the subject of ethics
"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
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
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
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
Especially religious or
theodemonical values are, then,
doxastic, and can be factual, modal or normative.
Conversely, a normative value such as a certain motivational (doxastic)
value may be recognized by a particular religion or form of
theodemonism, or not, but such a
recognition does not turn 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
catenically necessary to promote the
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
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.)
nonmotivist, every motivational value is
an instrumental or corrective one related to a perfective or
nonperfective, performatory or intentional value.
This nonmotivism does not necessarily make a normative doctrine less
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
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
Values such as 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 at all— presupposes first
of all a principle of
relevance (with or without the recognition of
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).