Value Logic

Addendum III - Value Vision

          Judgments that assess and compare degrees of goodness are value judgments. One way to explain our capacity to make these judgments is to attribute it to a kind of vision called value vision. Value vision is how we make ethical and moral judgments that apply to the goodness of human behavior with respect to interaction with other people affecting their welfare; to a person’s responsibilities, commitments, and obligations; and to a person’s respect for truth.

          Value vision is inate, and can be improved through study. One of the features of human value systems is the hierarchy (rank order) of our beliefs concerning preferable modes of conduct along a continuum of relative importance. The basis for the rank order of these beliefs is the relative goodness of the human values involved. In the study of law one learns that one way to classify crimes is to rank them among three categories as follows: crimes against order, crimes against property, and crimes against people. Crimes against property are worse (more bad) than crimes against order, and crimes against people are worse than crimes against property. If we assume that badness is a low degree of goodness then these three categories of crimes represent three different gradations at the lower end of the goodness continuum. Under this assumption things that have different degrees of badness can be termed as having different low degrees of goodness. Murderers hang out at the bottom of the goodness continuum and saints hang out at the top.

          In Value Logic order is an (S) concept, property an (E) concept, and individuals are (I) concepts. From this it concludes that the levels of goodness continuum looks like this:

Level No. Type of Situation Degree of Goodness
Protection of people Highest
Protection of property Next highest
Protection of order Next highest
Crimes against order Lower
Crimes against property Next to lowest
Crimes against people Lowest

          This scheme, which reflects our judicial system's general priorities, can stand alone as a guide in ethical decision making where priority among people, property, and order is involved. However, in Value Logic the scope can be broadened to cover more complicated situations that result in 8 basic levels of goodness. An example of using Value Logic to asses a condition or situation at each level is given in the table below.

Item Value Combination Example Value Dimension Level of Goodness
a I values I A parent (I) loves, empathizes with, and respects a child (I) Ic 1
b E values I An organization (E) provides individualized training for its members (I) Ic 2
c E values S Policemen (role of police = E) maintain order (S) Ec 3
d S values S A department (department concept = S) has policies (S) Sc 4
e S disvalues S Fallacious ( S) logic (S) St 5
f E disvalues S Breaking (act of breaking = E) a promise (S) Et 6
g E disvalues I An organization (E) treats its members (I) as a resource It 7
h I disvalues I A person (I) kills another (I) with malice aforethought It 8

          Each example in the third column above is a concept combination and has a final resultant value dimension that is the same as the highest of the value dimensions contained in the concept combination. This model can be used for differentiating the goodness of things in the real world. Items a - d are compositions and e - h are transpositions. Using Value Logic means that what is good for people is better than what is good for non-human life, inanimate things, ideas and ideologies. It also means that what is bad for a person is worse than what is bad for tangible things and ideas. Also, the enhancement of non-human life and inanimate things is a greater good than the enhancement of ideas and ideologies. Conversely, according to Value Logic, the depreciation of non-human life and inanimate things is worse than the depreciation of ideas and ideologies. The levels of goodness - 1 through 8 - may be thought of and used as the points of Value Logic's ethical compass.

          Value vision goes in two directions. One direction is toward the outside world, the other is toward the inner self. This condition exists because of the close relation between the ways people behave, including their ethics, and how they see themselves. The image of the self lies at the core of each person’s behavior system. Value Logic employs a conception of the self based on the same system that it applies to the outside world.

          Value Logic produces rank order combinations of aspects of the self similar to the value combination rank order used with the outside world given in the prior table. An example of each level is shown below.

Item Value Combination Example Value Dimension Level of Goodness
a I values I I am comfortable with who I am Ic 1
b E values I What I do (my work) enhances my self acceptance. Ic 2
c E values S My work improves my stature. Ec 3
d S values S My title enhances my reputation Sc 4
e S disvalues S My work standards are a disgrace to my position St 5
f S disvalues E My beliefs run counter to the role I play at work Et 6
g E disvalues I The work I do damages my spirit It 7
h I disvalues I I distrust my true self It 8


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Page last modified on July 9, 2008