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in Axiology


Executive Editor

Associate Editors
G, JohnM. Abbarno StevenV. Hicks
Mary-RoseBarnl RichardT. Hull
GerholdK. Becker JosephC. Kunkel
KennethA. Bryson VincentL.Luizzi
H. G. Callaway Alan Milchman
RemB. Rlwards GeorgeDavidMiller
Rob Fisher PeterA. Redpath
William C. Gay Alan Rosenberg
DaneR. Gordon ArleenSalles
J. EveretGreen JohnR. Shook
HetaAleksandraGylling Alan Soble
Mafti Hayry JohnR. Welch
The paper on which this book is printed meetsthe requirementsof "ISO
9706:1994, Information and documentation- Paper for documents
Requirementsfor permanence".

ISBN: 90-420-0670-6
@EditionsRodopi8.V., Amsterdam- Atlanta,GA 2000
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Editorial Foreword vll

Preface ix
Introduction by the Editors xv

ChapterOne. From the Mystery of Values to Axiotogy a
1. BeyondAppearances ^J
2. Axiology's Long Journeytoward Itself 10
3. The Searchfor Identity t3
ChapterTwo. Is a Scientific Reconstructionof the Axiological Possible? 23
1. The Challengesof Science 23
2. Values versusMeasurement 32
3. The Value Judgment 42

Chapter Three. Value in Culture and Culture as Value 55
1. Value, Creativity, Culture ))
2. Knowledge and value: The Problem of Axiological Rationality 63
3. Culture and Civilization; An IrreconcilableOpposition? 68
ChapterFour. Positivist Reductionismand the Mirage of
Non-PhilosophicalCulture 73
1. Definition by Reduction:The standardParadigmof Reductionism 73
2. Transfigurations,Mutations, Alternatives 78
3. A PhilosophicalMetamorphosis:From Logical Empiricism to
Constructive Empiricism 80
Chapter Five. Reductionism to Literature and the Temptation of a
Post-PhilosophicalCulture 85
1. Difficulties of the Theory of Post-PhilosophicalCulture 85
2. Post-Philosophyor Postmodernism? 90
3. "Philosophy as Style and Literature as Philosophy" 93

ChapterSix. The Phenomenologyof Value and the Value of
Phenomenology 99
ChapterSeven.Coordinatesof an Axiocentric ontology of the Human 107

Editorial Note rt7
ChapterEight. Happiness:The Loftiest Value of Humankind rL9
ChapterNine. The Orphic Myth and the Human Condition r33

Notes r39
Bibliography t45
About the Author 151
Index 153
Editorial Foreword

The study of value theory has become a distinct advance of philosophical

activity in the twentieth century. In responseto the questions of "What is
value?", philosophersdivided camps in a variety of ways. While R. B. Perry
proposedthat valuation consistin the severalpredicationascriptionsto objects
as "good," "true," and "beautiful," others were more specific with predicated
valuations,claiming that the valuationsdivide areassuch as moral, legal, and
political. C. I. Lewis made important distinctions of the kind of values that are
in the valuation, for example, whether they are extrinsic (instrumental)
contributory, inherent, or intrinsic. Much of the focus presumed a subject-
object or inherent-instrumentalitydichotomy which receivedcriticism by John
Dewey, whose approach viewed value as a dynamic relation: a whole
experience.That the nature of value as a whole or organic is not exclusionary
becamethe underpinning of later axiologists, such as Risieri Frondizi, Robert
S. Hartman, and Ludwig Griinberg.
Griinberg's philosophical writings on value continue the explorationsof
his predecessorsto discover the meaning of value - or as he aptly titles this
work, The Mystery of Values.In his early works, he notes that "values are the
reconstruction of what we experience as fundamentally human; that is, we
value as human and are human in that we are valued in a certain way."
Griinberg extends the meaningful dialogue on value theory in his unique
formulation of the "axiocentric view of the human condition."
In his ground-breaking work, Axiology and the Human Condition,
Gri.inberg, in characteristic humility, attributes his motivation to another
Romanian philosopher,Camil Petrescu.Petrescu'swords becamea motto for
Grtinberg's life's work: "I regard the problem of value bearing such great
importance, that, without it being clarified, philosophy itself looks like an
adventurous failure." During my interview in 1994 with Griinberg, he
commented that Petrescu's works set him in the direction to explore the
reconstruction ontology of the human condition, "supported by the
presuppositionthat values stand for fundamentaltraits meant to define man's
specifically human way of existing as a being that creates and gets self-
created by culture, while surpassing the natural condition to the human
Typical of his own way of living, Grtinberg believed that any form of
dichotomy of values presentsa partial meaning. Instead, he moves toward
unification and the universalism of humanity in valuation. He was an active
member of the "Bucharest Axiology Circle," whose efforts were moving
toward a reconstructionof axiology as axiocentric ontology of the human in a
universal project for the third millennium. Ludwig Griinberg's life was a

testimony to value, and it received its regenerationin his faith in humanity.

This hope will live on in the works he contributedto the clarification of being

G. John M. Abbarno
Value Inquiry Book Series
I first met Ludwig Grtinberg in 1983 in Montreal at the World Congressof
Philosophy. He was perfectly at home in the Francophone culture. We
participatedin the program organizedby John Somerville and Ronald Santoni
for International Philosophers for the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide
(IPPNO). Everyone at these sessionsspoke on behalf of peace and thereby
recognizedone anotheras peace-lovers.
After the Congress, Griinberg initiated regular conespondence with me
from Bucharest.His letters, graceful and gracious, though at times guarded,
were another opportunity for him to engagein philosophical activities outside
the closed world of Romania. For almost his entire professional life, he
remained a solitary thinker in a remote and restricted outpost of the mind,
while participating as an active member of the cosmopolitan community of
"We live in a strangeworld," he wrote one New Year's eve, "but we are
not strangers." He was to repeat this observation - and this commitment -
years afterward. Another time he wrote, "We try, together (in spite of
distance,space,and time) to make life better." And again, "Let's hope in the
'world of values'!" Another
time, "Let us hope in the power of philosophy."
Yet again: "Where there is a will there is a way. And a hope too."
After being preventedby Romanianrestrictionsfrom going to Nairobi to
give his invited paper on philosophy of values at the Extraordinary World
Congressof Philosophy, he wrote, on 1 August 1991, of future opportunities,
"Let's hope again.As Bacon told us, hope is always a good breakfast,but it is
a bad supper."
Grtinberg took keen interest in international activities involving
philosophy of values, especially the Journal of Value Inquiry and the
American Society for Value Inquiry (ASVI). From his distant yet far-seeing
perspective, he had striking insights about the role, the value, and the
developmentof such activities. On 3 May 1984, he sent an extensiveletter to
me with this historic proposal:

I dare, finally, to suggestyou - as Vice-Presidentof the ASVI (where I

am an old member) ... develop the co-[operation] between American
and European researchersin axiology. As you know, our ASVI is the
unique society for value inquiry in all over the world; the ASVI has to
do the first step for the building of a possible and desirableInternational
Society for Value Inquiry (ISVI)1.

The word I have edited as "co-operation" is "co-worker," a term Grtinberg

frequently used, perhaps becausealternatives, such as "collaboration" and
"comradeship,"had unfortunateconnotations.
Grtinberg followed his initial proposal with a plan for its implementation
(27 September 1984). He envisioned the establishment of ISVI as a
"philosophical dream come true."
I was able to sendthis reply on 28 January1985:

I am pleasedto report that at its businessmeeting,29 December 1984,

the American Society for Value Inquiry approved the four-point project
for internationahzation that you have proposed. Several committees are
at work on the tasks. 1988 is the goal for full realization You will be
receiving an invitation to join the committee planning the International
Philosophical Association for Value Inquiry and its first International
Congressat Brighton, England, 16-23 August 1988. The chair of this
committee is Sander H. Lee of Howard University; Washington. A
committee is being establishedto invite scholarsthroughoutthe world to
join the American Society for Value Inquiry as Corresponding
Members. You will receive the first invitation. Thus, the ideas are
launched,and we hdve set sail. The voyage will be worthy.

At the first International Congress on Value Inquiry, held in Brighton and

Arundel, England, in 1988, Grtinberg was elected Vice President in
recognition of his international standing and in appreciation for his help in
creatingthe ISVI. This was only the secondtime that we met.
Later that year, on 11 November, he wrote, in an exuberant hand, in
greenink on yellow paper:

I can't believe it! Our idea to build an International Society for Value
Inquiry crossedboundaries,grew over the years until it [has] given the
fruits it could give. We Ere now THE philosophical organization in the
world dealing with values.I am sure our Society will becomelonger and
stronger,... In our epoch, for all the humanisttrends in philosophy, there
is no area more important than the field of values.

He spoke of the philosophical eventsin England as providing "our generation

of axiologists .. . arcndezvouswith destiny."
I replied,5 December1988:

ISVI exists! Your idea of 27 September1984 crosseda continent and an

ocean and stimulatedthe minds of others. ISVI itself is the proof that a
valuable idea grows to make itself realized.
Preface XI

In his suggestionsfor developing the tie between the American Society and
the International Society, Gri.inberg also alluded to further cooperation
between the American Society and the Journal which shared its name.
Nothing could be more natural than that this Society and this Journal unite,
especially as both were engagedin international activities. JamesB. Wilbur,
the founder and editor of the Journal, and also a founder and past presidentof
the Society, favored the connection.
I wrote Grtinberg,20 January1987:

I have pleasant news to report about our professionalconcern: values.

The American Society for Value Inquiry officially approved affiliation
with the Journal of Value Inquiry at the annual business meeting in
December in Boston. Furthermore,the USVI] will be created. ... These
are your ideas. I was honored to speak on behalf of them, and our
colleagues have carried them to realization. In this way, you have
contributed immeasurably to the international advancement of
philosophicunderstanding. Bravo!

Griinberg'sinternationalconnectionswere the lifeline for his intellectual

work.Of conditionsin his homecountry,he wouldrarelywrite.He did say(3

In Romania, after thesedays which will leave a mark in our history, we

could realizethat, in the end, freedom prevails always, although the cost
is very high.

When the Value Inquiry Book Series was established in 1992, Griinberg
wrote, 13 December 1992, that VIBS is "the most important event in our
realm of researches which has happened for the last decade." Though
"overwhelmed with my work, ... and with the gap between my hopes in a
world of values and what has happenedhic et nunc," Grtinberg was in the
midst of writing a book-length work in English on values with the alternative
working titles, Axiology and Universalism,and The World of Values.
On2 May 1993he wrote

a short letter in order to let you know that I am still alive and our value-
inquiry is going on to be ranked as the third value in my own hierarchy
(after life and freedom).... And let's hope in our vocationto plea[d] and
to work - with professionalmeans- for a better world! (Am I crazy?)

Other proposedtitles for his book, which he handedto me on a large sheetof

paper in Moscow at the World Congressof Philosophy,August 1993, were

Homo Aestimans
Axiology and the Mystery of Values
Axio Iogy between P henomenology and Univ ersalis m
Axiolo gy, Phenomenology, and Universalism
Axiology and Universalism
and Human Condition and the World Of Values

This searchfor the right title tells a story of Grtinberg's searchfor his place
among current philosophical movements. As he treated me to bottle after
bottle of mineral water at the Congresscaf6, we went over the list. The VIBS
stylesheets had used The Mystery of Values as a hypothetical book title for
formatting instructions; Griinberg gently asked permission to use this for a
real book. Hence, The Mystery of Values:Studiesin Axiology.
Once the title was settled, Griinberg reached into his leather briefcase
and took out the book in typewritten pages. I was pleased to receive this
contribution to the human spirit as we sat in the former training academy for
Communist Party workers, now a school for administration.
Later he wrote (27 September1993) of the Russianhospitality:

in spite of my nightmare in the so-called "hostel" (without a chair, a

carpet, curtain or water, but with mosquitoes.. .), I found [the Moscow
Congressl to be productive. I could realize better what has happenedin
contemporaryphilosophy during the last 5 years (since our Congressin

In the cafd I reiterated an offer to consider translating his Romanian essays

into English for another book. But he waved this notion away. He explained
that what he wrote in Romanian was generallypart of his job. What he wrote
in English or French was part of his life.
We reviewed the scenein the field of value inquiry, reflecting on what
"the Grtinberg-Ginsberg team" had tried to accomplish. He tiked to refer to
the ISVI as our common child. We spoke for the first time, at this, our last
meeting, of our Jewishness.I realized that I could have led his life, while he
could have led mine. I told him how my parents had frequentedthe French
Roumanian Restaurantin New York, and how I rememberedthe refrain of a
Jewish song heard here,

Mamaliga, Mamaliga, a little Romanian wine !

"Griinberg and Ginsberg as Jews are lost in the world," I wrotehim. "What
can we do about that? Help the world. So we aresharersin thework."
Grtinberg revised and finished this book while busily engaged in the
early days of Romanian intellectual independence.But at the height of his
Preface xiii

intellectual powers, he was struck down by grave illness. He wrote, 29

November 1994:

I've lost my sleepfor a while. (It is a very interestingexperiencefor me,

but only as a philosopher,not at all as a human being!)

I wrote back, 16 December 1994,

Your mind is young and strong; so should your body be. I am only a
doctor of philosophy, so I cannot prescribetreatmentfor you, other than
rest and a little Romanian wine. Work will always await you. Don't
worry about that.

The last letter Ludwig Griinberg wrote me he was unable to send. It was
forwarded by his widow Cornelia Grtinberg and his daughterLaura Grtinberg.
With failing hand, and many beginnings,the short letter concludes:

Your advicesconcerningthe treatment- rest and a little Romanian wine

- are belated.I made a lot of mistakes.But I go on to hope.

Cornelia Grtinberg and Laura Gri.inberg have completed the preiparation for
press of The Mystery of Ltfe with loving care. It is a remarkable book of
original reflection on what humanity means. Griinberg's life's work is the
appreciation of human axiocenfficity. That is, we human beings are the
universe of value. Values are not simply something we possessor exercise.
We are value-beings. Grtinberg probes this mystery of human life with
engagingstyle, refreshingscholarship,and illuminating insight.
This is a work of hope contributed to all the co-workers of the world:

ValueInquiryBook Series
Introduction by the Editors
A book, once printed, departsfrom its author. The ideas in it acquire a life of
their own. They come into contact with other ideas and harmonize with them
or challengethem. The book, on its separateprogress,becomesa successor a
failure. It may take up its well-deservedplace on the library shelvesor it may
get lost in a Pandemoniumof ideas.And what does the author do meanwhile?
From the outside,the author can defend his/her ideas with new argumentation,
may suffer for them, or may rejoice due to them. Ultimately, the author can
write a new book resuming the ideas and strengtheningthem with a new
rationale and new evidence.The author can correct or even changethe details
and fundamentals of his/trer theoretical creation, with the hope for a better
receptionby the reader.
Ludwig Grtinberg has had no such chance. He left this world for the
world of the just. His ideas, good or less good, have been left alone. We
cannot foreseetheir fate. We would like though to forewarn the reader on the
dramatic history of the preparationof this volume.
An older project, the book was left unfinished.Ludwig Grtinberg would
think of it as a synthesisof the stage his reflections on values had reached,
which is the reasonwhy the volume resumessome of his previous writings.
Ludwig Gri.inbergloved his project and he believed in it. Several days
before his tragic decision, speaking with Professor Adrian Miroiu of the
University of Bucharest,Ludwig Grtinberg expressedhis apprehensionas to
the publication of his book. In subsidiary, vague terms, he was asking his
younger friend for help. And at a later date, ProfessorMiroiu fully contributed
to the publication of this volume.
The effort of those proposing the current structureof the book has been
guided by the author's last wish and heartache.We have done our best to be
true to the intention and spirit in which Ludwig Grtinberg conceived his
volume. We have had our momentsof great despair and helplessness.Should
we have lacked the force of persuasion and encouragement of Robert
Ginsberg, Executive Editor of Value Inquiry Book Series, we might surely
have abandoned the task. Professor Ginsberg and Professor G. John M.
Abbarno, Associate Editor of Value Inquiry Book Series, have restored our
motivation to finish the task already begun. We feel we lack the proper
number of words to thank them both for their support and for their mutual
esteemtoward Ludwig Grtinberg.
Now, in the end, we are fully aware that this book is far from what it
could have been. Our hope though is that the love with which we have
completedit will not be an act of treasontoward the author.
Further on, we would like to provide some clarification as imposed by
the probity of our action.

First, we have preferred to fully observe and maintain the structure of

the manuscript, despite the fact that, here and there, particularly in the last
section, the choice fails to honor the content. The reasonof our choice is the
fact that the structure of the manuscript ultimately expressesthe author's
global concept, his intent of theoretical reconstruction.This option has also
been favored by ProfessorIlie Pdrvu of the University of Bucharest.There has
always been a great communion of ideas between Ludwig Gri.inberg and
Professor Pdrvu. Their talks used to be conducted in complete spiritual
harmony. Perusing the manuscript, Professor PArvu has inferred the global
intent of the volume and the place of each part as projected in the
developmentof the philosophicaldiscourse.
Following an analytical exercise, by means of which the concept of
value is identified and characterizedfrom various perspectives,in Part One, A
Discovery: The Realm of Values, the concept is reinstated in its normal
articulation in the sphere of culture, in Part Two, A Connection: Value and
Culture. Based on this, a project to theoretically reconstructthe ontology of
the human condition is built, in Part Three, A Project: The Axiocentric
Ontology. Finally, the whole discoursewas to gain value in the context of an
innovative manner of philosophizing, Universalism, in Part Four, A Hope:
With respect to the last part, Ludwig Gri,inberg failed to prepare
coherentmaterial. He was to do it. We did not dare produce it from existing
writings, such as his communications to various scientific meetings, at the
First Congressof Universalism, in Warsaw in 1993, or his articles published
in Dialogue and Humanism : The Universalist Quarterly.We did not dare do
it for a multitude of reasons, the major one being our feeling of being
inadequateas far as the theme was concerned.And the fact that, in Romania,
this trend of thought has failed to grow roots cannot be ignored either.
Romania's opennessto the universal is still in the stage of rediscovery, of
defining its own identity. Undoubtedly, we are marked by this phenomenon.
Ludwig Griinberg had the enthusiasmneededto surpasssuch intellectual and
psychologicalrestraintsand the optimism neededto dream about the future.
Thus, we have kept the title of the section to record the global vision of
the author. We wanted his metaphysicalintentions to stay unaltered.The title
also subsumes, thanks to the editors' kind permission, some essays
representativeof Ludwig Gri,inberg'smanner of thinking. According to the
author's wish, the volume closes with his essay, The Orphic Myth and the
Human Condition.
Second, most of the writings in the volume were edited by the author
while alive. Sometimesthe editing was done directly in English. It is the case
of subchaptersThe Judgment of Value, Value in Culture and Culture as
Value, and of a major part of the chapteron Reductionismand the Temptation
of a Post-PhilosophicalCulture.
Introduction by the Editors xvii

At other times, the author wrote in Romanian, which made translation

into English necessary.This is the time to thank Mrs. Dana Sorea,lecturer at
the Faculty of Foreign Languages,the University of Bucharest.
We need to further advise the reader that some parts have already been
published, in summary or in a different structure, in the Journal of Value
Inquiry, or in Analecta Husserliana edited by Anna-TeresaTymieniecka.
The volume also includes some texts, selectedaccording to the plan in
the manuscript, from the author's writing, Axiologia si condilia umand
[Axiology and the Human condition], published by Editura politicd,
Bucuregti, 1972, and from another publication the author co-ordinated,
Ontologia um.anului[Ontology of the Human], Editura Academiei, Bucuregti,
All the above clarifications are intended to justify any incoherenceor
repetitions that might have been prevented by our direct intervention in the
text. We avoided any such intervention, with a view to remain faithful to the
type of rational discourseand style characteristicof Ludwig Griinberg.
Third, the subchapterentitled PositivistReductionismand the Mirage of
Non-Philosophical Culture has a distinct situation since we have inserted it
without its having been included in the manuscript. The subchapter was
published posthumously,in an extendedform, rn Revista de cercetdri sociale
[Review of Social Research],no. 4, Bucharest,L994.ProfessorMircea Flonta,
one of Ludwig Grtinberg's closest spiritual friends called our attention to the
need to retain the dignity of philosophical discourse in the volume by our
accuracy and fidelity to the manuscript.We hope to not have sinned much.
We consideredthat the study analyzingpositivist reductionism would add to
the subchapterReductionismby Literature in support of the forceful idea of
the volume. It refers to the concept of unity of culture focused on the generic
conceptof value.
In Ludwig Grtinberg's professionaltrajectory, implicitly in the history
of this book, a distinct note is struck by his sentimentof fulfillment he would
feel every time he would come into contact with the philosophers gathered
round the Journal of Value Inquiry and the International Society for Value
Inquiry. We shall refrain from mentioning names,for fear that, from distant
Bucharest, we might be wrong by omission. However, we would like to
underline that each contact with his colleaguesin the West was a breath of
fresh air to him. He would make unimaginable efforts for these periodic
meetings to take place. A Westerner might find it hard to understand the
actual circumstancesin which generationsof intellectuals,today aged 60 to
65, have lived and modeled themselves.Neither have we, those living in
EasternEurope, as yet, the distanceneededto proceedto a lucid analysis,free
of anxietyand passion.
An incomplete education,constrainedby ideology. Explicit or implicit
interdictions, generalor individual. The intellectual tension charged with fear

and burning aspirationto culture and freedom.These might be some

We are certainthat decipheringsuchhumanexperiences
coordinates. might
representuseful learning. It might prompt the younger generationsto adopt a
more resolute attitude in defending human dignity and the values of
democracy. But this is not what we should be talking about here. This is an
opportunity to stress the importance Ludwig Grtinberg assigned to his
contactswith the Western philosophical world. The theme of the book became
the focus of his preoccupationsin a period in which, in our neck of the woods,
to approach this type of topic seemed,in the happiest of the cases, pure
extravagance. A sort of opening in the 1970s was firmly marked by a
tendency toward spiritual autarchy. Escape from the Soviet dominance was
taking place at the cost of ideological convulsions with nationalist inflections.
The Romanian philosophical discoursewas blocked at the crossroadsof the
contemporary rationalist trends, of Marxist extraction, and the Romanian
inter-war trends.The Romaniantrends would bring along all the limitations of
the philosophical culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. The "fall
of the Berlin wall," with everything that it might have entailed, would not
occupy, as yet, the practical horizon of the Romanians.The gate toward the
West was opening, timidly, yet undeniably. It is at this point that the author
wrote his first studiesin axiology. The road from here to the presentbook was
long and arduous. We hope for the book to satisfy the exigency of
contemporaryaxiological thinking.
Ludwig Grtinberg put much passion in his research. Much of his
researchbore fruit and saw the light of the printing press. Much was shared
with his students, in whose human potential the professor believed with
tenacity. Many of his ideaswould be clarified in his talks with Arie Grtinberg,
his brother, a Professorat the Faculty of Journalism,University of Bucharest.
This book standsfor the final homage paid to Ludwig Grtinberg by all
thosehe used to meet with on the spiritual level.
We would like to expressour specialthanks to:
Professor Robert Ginsberg for his theoretical assistance,patience, and
time consumed,for his friendly encouragement;
Ms. Maria-Ana Dumitrescu, with the UNESCO Office in Bucharest,
CEPES, for the competenceand love with which she has prepared this book
for printing, for her translation work, word-processing,indexing, and final
ProfessorAdrian Miroiu, for his permanent,though discreet,competent

Cornelia Grtinberg
Laura Grtinberg
Part One

A Discovery:The Realmof Values


From the Mystery of Valuesto Axiology

1. Beyond Appearances

While following the dispute betweenAlexius von Meinong and Christian von
Ehrenfels,r or reading Ralph Barton Perry's book on the general theory of
values,2or the 1,500page-longtreatiseon axiology by Louis Lavelle,3you feel
that, before having startedthe reading, you could have given a better answer
to the question, What is valuel And you are tempted to agree with Andrd
Gide: any time a philosopher answersa question, what the question has been
about is no longer clear. Philosophy may look like the useless intricate
accountof simple mattersthat are within the graspof common sense.
Everybody seemsto know the nourishing value of food, the moral value
of behavior, the theoretical value of some scientific discovery, or the artistic
value of a painting that makes us evaluate, estimate, and covet it. Thus, in
everyday life, value might designatewhatever we crave for, seek for, love,
and hold high. Beyond the whims of personal bias, craving, and needs, we
might even try to draw up a list of values.We may open a dictionary and look
up various modifiers that make up antonymous pairs, good-evil, beauty-
ugliness,honesty-dishonesty,honor-dishonor,leaving out those toward which
we are indifferent and exclusively preserving those that trigger off a
preferentialchoice, such as, Would you rather have A than A'?
Theoretically, a complete list of values could be achieved.The world of
qualities to which we have assignedthe name of values looks like a world
which draws our attention, attracts support, arouses desire, urges us into
action, as an invisible waiting-room where all setting changesin the visible
world are wrought. Since we value these invisible qualities together with the
things or personsendowed with them, a painting, a house, a work of art, or a
human being are said to have value.
Furthermore, turn modifiers into nouns, and say they are values. Thus
values do not appear as mere subjective imaginings, but as real aspects of
existence,as featuresof the objects that our mind might discover there where
they have been lying as before. The concept of value is used whenever an
actual active interrelationshipexists betweennecessities,attitudes,and desires
on the one hand, and objects on the other hand.
Yet, far from solving the matter, this conclusion only discloses more
questionsto further unexpecteddifficulties.
A first difficulty: the infinite number of values. Height is not a value in
itself, but the height of a hill may establish its value as a military obstacle,
and, function of concurrent factors, the height of a Gothic cathedral is a

determinative of its aestheticvalue. Typically, the distinction between small

and big is axiologically neutral, but if you would rather have a big car than a
small one, your choiceis value-biased.
Actually, the list of values can never end, since values are invented all
the time, starting with fashion or dance, and ending with science and art,
where a mind of genius is characterizedby the fact that it imposes a new
value. Not all values are equally relevant, neither do they bear the same
significance. Ideal-values are separate from goods-values: ideal-values
anticipate action on an imaginative plane; goods-values are embodied in
cultural works and assignthings, beyond their perceivableappearance,a new
dimension, value, owing to which things acquire the ability to satisfy human
needs,goals, desires,and turn into cultural goods.We distinguish betweenthe
value of things and personalvalues. Charity and graciousnessare values that
only human beings are endowed with; when assignedthesevalues, things are
anthropomorphized and appear as fetishes of human features. Likewise,
edibility could only be the value of a thing. As Claude Ldvi-Straussremarked,
cannibalismrateshuman beings as things.
In this polyphony of values, basic values are also to be distinguished
from derived values. Values are never equally significant when establishing
the goals of human behavior. The heterogeneousrange of values seems to
arrangeitself around a few values,which we could call basic values.What are
these?Could they be reducedto the classicalthreesome,truth-good-beauty,as
most axiological works indicate? In one sense,truth seemsnot to fall under
the category of proper values, since it more-or-less rejects hierarchy. For
instance,we cannot say that the Pythagoreantheorem is more correct than the
Thalesian theorem, or that the theory of relativity is less true than quantum
physics. But, going beyond appearances,truth itself is discoveredto occur up
to variable extents, not only in the modern epistemologicalview, but also in
the strictly axiological view. This happens if we grant prevalence to the
pragmatic dimension of statements,to their theoretical relevance, gradually
hierarchized,so as to satisfy certain human needs.
Once we agree on this point, the very distinction between basic and
derived values appearsrelative, and we are entitled to wonder how we could
sift the basic values accounting for the imperceptible subtlety of human
behavior without ranking love among the highest. Love is both the source of
life and the everlasting fountain of art. Love is, as Plato points out, within
each human being, the confirmation as to the improbability of secludedlife. It
is the discovery that best defines the human condition, a discovery that
outshinesthat of fire, and, as Percy B. Shelley put it so beautifully, the only
thing that, when shared, can grow. Any doctrine of values should be able,
within the range of values,to delimit value from non-value,basic values from
derived values,accordingto pertinentcriteria. It should equally accountfor an
individual's choice of a specific value, under specific circumstances.

Ultimately, this meansto searchfor a basis on which the selectionof values,

their correlation, and ranking should be legitimized.
Difficulties equally arise out of the fact that, for us to grasp its
specificity, value needsto be, simultaneously,isolated and not to be isolated.
On the one hand, moral or aestheticvaluesare translatedinto theoreticalterms
in order to become intelligible. On the other hand, they prove to own a
specificity which is ireducible to other values.The most astuteexplanationof
a sonata or a painting in theoretical terms communicatesaestheticvalue but
within the limits of its translatability into conceptual language.Theoretical
thinking, which provides a quintessentialimage of things and acts by means
of concepts,fails however to reveal the singularity, the uniquenessof values.
It fails to encompassthose features by virtue of which, while relating the
nature of the object to the needsof the subject, according to specific criteria,
we become value-assigners.Each value seems to lose its peculiarity if
extrinsicplly approached. Likewise, if we elude the interconnection.and
solidarit! of values, we can betray the originality of each value. If science
appropriates the other values, moral, aesthetic, religious, it turns human
beings into mere mechanisms.Art for art's sake,heroism for heroism's sake,
by virtue of their narcissism,lack the solidarity of other cultural values.Hence
a whole range of paradoxesand antinomiesthat becomethe touchstoneof any
theory of values.
The overwhelming number of viewpoints and valuation criteria reveal
difficulties that often seem insurmountable.The same event may have not
only different, but obviously divergent reverberations on individuals or
communities sharing different lifestyles and other cultural patterns.Immanuel
Kant, for instance,is permanentlyjudged by different insights, ftom different
human perspectives,function of the local ring of an epoch. Albert Einstein
was right in replying to those who used to challenge his interpretation that
everyonehas a Kant of his or her own. Forensicpractices,which fit naturally
in any modern civilization, inspire any totalitarian society with abhorrence.
Such findings suggest counterbalancingand prudence in the assessmentof
customs and lifestyles different from ours and that we are tempted to credit
with either absolute virtues or absolute defects. On the other hand, our
certainty diminishes as to our own customs,which we mistakenly invest with
absolute value, either becausewe understandthem partially, or becausewe
estimate them by means of a thinking inadvertently subservient to the
generating cultural system. We aim at some absolute, ultimate value-
appraisal,although no two estimatesare entirely identical. The question arises
naturally: are some things, works, deeds valuable becausewe assign value to
them, or do we assignvalue to them becausethey are valuable?
Further difficulties are encountered while attempting to answer this
question. Seemingly, value designateswhatever is wanted. Seemingly, to
crave for A more ardently than for B is to assignA greatervalue than B. A

closer analysis, however, reveals that value does not designatethat which is
desired,but that which is desirable.Even if, in principle, value is acceptedas
the object of desire, then it does not follow that whatever one person or
another desiresis endowed with value only becauseit is desired.There are a
lot of things that we may desire, a luxurious car, a voyage to the Caribbean,
etc., not only becausethey satisfy human needs,the need for communication,
for work or rest, for spiritual fulfillment and ethical achievement,but also
becauseto possessthem grants us prestige in the eyes of the others.We may
watch stupid action-movies,with relaxing effects, while admitting that other
films have a grater aesthetic and ethical value. We may not feel enraptured by
Mozart's music, while being aware of its value. We may indulge in listening
to a one-night hit without ranking it topmost in our hierarchy of values. This
happensbecausenobody, when expressinga valuejudgment, claims to simply
translate a personal desire or preference.The value judgment is relatively
independentof the judgment expressingpreference.Value envisagesvirtual
choices that may be distinct from achieved preferential options. What value
refers to is not a matter of what happensto be, but a matter of what ought to
be. Value enablespassagefrom the desired to the desirable,from indicative
assertion to imperative and practical meanings to conscienceand behavior,
norms of action. Value is always expressedby means of imperative feelings
and judgments that designatenot what it is, but that what an individual or a
group considers, under given circumstances,it should be worth desiring,
prizing, seeking for, conquering.
Thus, values cannot be restricted to the preferences of individual
conscience. If anything X or Y prizes were value-bearing, we might
completely credit the spontaneousacknowledgementof value accompaniedby
a feeling of evidence, without resorting to any criteria, or float about in a
relativistic blur, allowing personal whims to acquire the rank of norm and
general standard. If the relationship a person establishesbetween personal
needs,desires,and aspirationsand a specific object meant to satisfy them fails
to be acknowledgedby other people,too, then we cannot be sure that what we
are dealing with is value. Value is trans-individual.It involves appreciationat
the level of the collective conscienceof a given human community. Far from
translating this or that individual preference, values prove to be realities
imposed by relating objects to ideals built according to society-specific
criteria. Judgmentsof the type, I prefer tennis to football, or, This flower is
worth one dollar, are descriptive judgments: the first because it states an
individual preference, the second because it expressesa value judgment.
Alternatively, judgments such as Kim Basinger is beautiful, Gold is more
precious than iron, X is good-hearted, are value judgments because they
reveal, implicitly or explicitly, our relating to a world that we might
conventionally call the realm of values. Whether we agree or not with the
phrase,we still cannot deny that valuesmake up a different kind of reality and

that is why our valuation of some objects dependson the value-ideal and not
on the existenceor non-existenceof the value-assigner.Freedom and justice
are conferredvalue even there where they are not enthroned.That is also why,
despite the fact that many of our individual choices are made freely, the
criteria of our choices comply with the society we live in, although we often
let ourselves be cheated into thinking of them as emissions of our own
conscience.As Max Schelerwould say, society operatesas a sluice gate.
Next, values are lived through. They are generatedby and act within
living experience. The mental representationof an object, no matter how
appropriate, is a necessarybut insufficient condition for crediting it with
value. Many things are known without being estimatedbeautiful or ugly, good
or bad, useful or useless;they appear to us indifferent, therefore they lack
value. Objects appearas beautiful, good, or useful not only becausewe come
to representor know them, but becausewe are the ones who endow them with
an aesthetic,ethical, utilitarian value becausethey echo human needs and
desires, becausewe become value-sensitivein their presence,becausethey
impress us, they interest us, they appeal to our sensitivity, Therefore, values
cannot be exhaustedby an exclusively logical analysis. Because language
often concealsthe purpose of value choices.An egocentricthinks, I must do
so-and-so becauseit is for my own good, what do I care about the others?,
but tells people around, I do so-and-so becauseit is for everybody's good,
becauseit is the right thing to do. Also, becausewe cannot offer a rational
explanationto everything.Why are we in love with a particular woman? Why
are we delighted by Chopin's nocturnein D flat major, opus 27?
Living, wanting, pursuing, cherishing values would suggestintuition as
the only way to locate them while probing into living experience.
Nevertheless,any value implies the transcendent.In other words, it is not to
be identified with its contingent occurrences;it appearsto the human mind as
a never-ending, poignant demand that needs fulfilling. It is not a mere
projection of our desireupon things, it seemsto entice us from beyond, it stirs
our heart and our will, it demandsour painstaking efforts, it offers us a goal
and incentive for action. Despite the free choice they imply, values look like
they are imposed upon us by a more or less clearly delineated social
constraint.Even while enthusiasticallyperforming a moral deed, we feel as if
we were outside ourselves,as if we were mastering ourselves,as if we rose
above our ordinary strength, which entails combining the desirable with the
compulsory to a hardly traceable extent. An impressive number of human
actions are generatedby what everyday languagecalls thirst for truth, need
for love, aspiration to social justice and equality.In this light, value appears
as the only way to transcendhuman servitude in the face of its imminent
demise,as the only way to transcendnatureitself.
Further difficulties arise becauseeach instanceof human behavior has a
purpose that becomesthe key-value in choosing the means and that holds up

to ridicule common causal relationships, because the future, through the

assumedpurpose that has evolved into a guideline for action, influences the
,In Suflete tari lBrave Soulsl, written by Camil Petrescu,a Romanian
playwright, the main hero, Andrei, vows to himself to kiss loana's hand by
midnight or commit suicide.The ensuingeventsacquire an axiological profile
only in connection with this proposedgoal. The event imagined for midnight
influencesthe appreciationof the real eventsoccurring in the precedinghours.
Such situations, absurd, yet possible, create an antithesisbetween admitting
the finality of human behavior in axiological analysis and a causal,
deterministicapproachto values.
The series of difficulties does not end here. Values imply unequal
ranking, namely, hierarchy.As Lavelle remarked,the conceptof value applies
whenever we deal with a breach in the indifference or equality among things,
whenever one thing needsto be classified before or above another, whenever
one thing is deemed superior to another and is worth preferring to another.
Values are thus comparable, but comparing them is onerous. Should we
choose good rather than truth? Should we prefer good to truth, or the other
way round? The answer we may receive is that this is not a matter of
disjunction, either/or, but of conjunction, and/and.Yet, more often than not,
life asks for an option. And then the question arises:How can we be sure one
value is superior to another?
Let us take a few examples.As a matter of principle, everybody agreps
that for the sake of an ideal, a moral value, it is worth putting up yith
deprivation, even with physical pain, a vital value. We neverthelessview as
gruesomea suicidal terrorist's fanatic act. Similarly, a person who is subject
to vital suffering in order to reach an insignificant truth seemspedantic and
ludicrous, while Don Quixote inspiresus with heartfelt exultation.
Difficulties continue. If the human world is to be defined primarily as a
world of meanings,human values could not be consideredanything else but
meanings, significance. As meaning, values coordinate human behavior,
values justify it by severe censure,and by the ensuing interiorization. Thus
they acquire a very complex significance resulted from merging individual
actions. To question the value of a kind of behavior, legal deed, or scientific
discovery, means first of all to think about their significance. In semiotic
terms, it means to separatethe signifier from the signified, and the only
logical way that allows us to define them is their complementary
presupposition. To interpret human values as significance, we should
therefore be able to delimit the signifier from the signif,red,beyond their
syncretism that can no longer explain polytheism, that is, the presenceof a
multitude of purposeswhich, although divergent at times, are reachableby the
same means. Or, to do it, values should be simultaneously regarded as
included both in the realm of human communication, for only in the

communicativeevent, in the act of speech,doesthe signifier join the signified,

and in the realm of human action. Any human action is meaninglessunless
purpose-oriented.From this point of view, value is the requirementfor action
of the human subject pertaining to a social framework. Included both in the
realm of action and in that of communication,while simultaneouslydenoting
substantiality and precariousness,values seem to abide by the common
epistemologicalstatusof the unknown or lessknown phenomena.
I shall stop listing difficulties. Faced with such obstacles,the frequent
attempts to use persuasioninstead of reason as a key to unlock the treasure
chest of values are not surprising. Note also that value was sometimes
regarded as expressing attainment of pleasure (Jeremy Bentham), of desire
(Ehrenfels),of interest (Perry), pure rational will (Royce); as apprehensionof
tertiary qualities (Santayana),as a life-intensifying factor (Nietzsche), as an
emotional a priori (Scheler), or as the synoptic experience of individual
indivisibility (Bowne). We may conclude that the concept of value itself is
insufficiently defined. Let us rememberthat, before Kant, philosopherswould
not doubt that they might be able to know good and other values. What they
did doubt was the authenticity of empirical knowledge. During the last decade
of the seventeenthcentury, John Locke doubted that there should be natural
science, despite the peerless work of Newton, without doubting for one
moment our ability to make up a corpus of moral knowledge as definite as
mathematics is. With Kant, the fact-value dichotomy is introduced into
philosophy in the eighteenthcentury, even if the concept of value is not used
in its modern sense. The knowledge of value comes to be regarded as
essentially different from the knowledge of facts, since values are assigned
featuresthat fundamentallydistinguishthem from facts.
Distinguishing values in this way and placing them apart from, but not
necessarilyhigher than other items in our life, generatesall the difficulties that
have been mentioned so far and encouragesus to find an answer to all the
questionsthat the knowledge of valuesraises.
As soon as we are persuadedto deal with values, with value judgments,
the simplest and still toughest question, "What are values?", needs new
rephrasing. Any value judgment includes a significance. But what does it
signify? Is there somethingit refers to? What would that be? Does it envisage
a kingdom of values or phenomena displaying peculiar qualities called
Values may not refer to anything outside ourselves. They may only
vaguely express states of mind, thus subordinating the world to subjective
desires and preferences.Such questionsare all the harder to answer because
value judgments have appearedto researchers,struck by the complexity of the
issue, as liable to multiple interpretations.Values have thus acquired the
epistemological status usually attributed to the "philosophers' stone": some
thinkers claim that values exist, therefore valuesrefer to somethingobjective;

othersclaimthatvaluesdo not exist;andstill othersdo not denythe existence

of valuesbut regardthemasthe mereproductionof feelingandmoods.
Having realized that we have not managed to know values to a
satisfying extent, some thinkers have rushed into theorizing that nothing is
knowable about them. Displeased,sometimesentitled to displeasure,by false
solutions,they have consideredthe problem itself as false.
However, values have not ceased to act as such, and, paradoxically,
those who deny them use valuejudgments.

2. Axiology's Long Journey toward ltself

The key to solving the countlessdifficulties raised by the comprehensionof

values is to define the concept of generic value. The concept combines in one
denomination whatever is expressed by a multitude of notions, good,
beautiful, useful, right, in other fields, and exclusively designates the
essentialsof various kinds of values, ethical, political, aesthetic,theoretical,
utilitarian, etc.
The concept, which nowadays plays a vital part in philosophical
thinking, has seepedinto modern philosophy slowly and painfully, since it
had not been used as such before the end ofthe eighteenthcentury.
Starting with the ancients,philosopherswould label the aspectsof the
problematic of values as good, all-reigning good, and perfection. Not even
Kant's work contains an analysis of the concept of value despite its
preeminently being a philosophy of value. Kant's three basic works could be
entitled "on Truth," The critique of Pure Reason, "on Goodness," The
critique of Practical Reason, and "on Beauty," The critique of Judgment.
Paradoxically,Kant dealswith the philosophicalaspectsof value, but does not
explicitly use the conceptof value in its axiological sense.
Five years before the publication of The Critique of Pure Reason,Adam
Smith credits the concept of value in a purely economical paper. In a
psychological account, utilitarian values are regarded in terms of their
relationshipwith the human needsand desiresthey can satisfy.
The economical meaning has long permeatedthe concept of value. That
is why English uses a distinct term, "worth," in parallel to the generic term,
"value." The use suggests that behind their stable, empirically provable
features,things might possesssome dynamic quality, weighable on invisible
scalesin order to have their degreeof importancein the satisfactionof human
needsestablishedand measurableby the effort neededto acquirethem.
It was only with the work of Rudolf Hermann Lotze, who in 1856 spoke
for the first time about a relatively autonomousrealm of values, Reich der
werte, and, later otr, with the works of Ritschie and of the Austrian
economists, Menger, Friederich von Wieser, von Bohm Bawerk, that the
concept of value started to be used in its strictly philosophical meaning,
Axiology's Long Journey toward ltself 1l

suggestively emphasized by Lotze's favorite maxim: whenever two

hypotheses are equally possible, one of which agrees with our moral
requirements,while the other disagreeswith them, the first one will always be
The concept of value was masterfully promoted in a learned readership
by Nietzsche, willing to re-establishthe Aristotelian equation of values, to
pillory decadent values, and to perform a transmutation of all values,
Unwertung aller Werte.
The conceptreachedthe peak of its philosophical triumph by the end of
the last century and the beginning of the present century, in Germany, by
means of Neo-Kantianism, in Austria, with the epoch-making works of
Ehrenfels,Kreibig, and Meinong, in the United States,mainly owing to W. M.
Urban, and then in France.In the 1970s,it turned into a concept-obsession.
I do not intend to make a comprehensivehistory of the issue.But I must
note that, as a distinct branch of philosophy, axiology is the outcome of
generic values that make up its object of investigation and that have been
dissociatedfrom specific valuesthat are investigatedby specializedsciences.
There was a time when papers collected as a result of the modern
distinctions made by specialized research on values, ethical, aesthetic,
political, legal, economic, etc., raised problems shared by many forms of
research: the origin and structure of values; value change, interaction, and
justification of values; value hierarchization and attainment. These
interference problems focus on problems that fall under the scope of
philosophy: the relationships between material culture and spiritual culture,
between knowledge and appraisal,between the objective and the subjective,
between the relative and the absolute, between the descriptive and the
normative, between creation and reflectiort. By virtue of the inner logical
character of the investigation, a movement toward knowledge has arisen,
complementary to the mwement toward differentiation, a counter-trend
aiming at the intermarriage of isolated research carried out from the
viewpoint of just one type of values. That approach had the widest
philosophical generality, and it intended to reveal the general laws of the
systemof values,regardedas an open system,shapedalong severaldiachronic
Once articulated, a general theory of values demands a philosophical
name. Following a seriesof tentative denominations,timology, axionomy, the
denomination of axiology proved viable. The term, "axiology," was
consecratedduring the first decadeof the twentieth century, independently,by
Paul Lapie, Logique de Ia volontd (1902), Eduard von Hartmann, Grundriss
der Axiologie (1908), and Wilbur Marshall Urban, Valuation: Its Nature and
Laws (1909). Originating in the Greek words axios, to estimate,to appreciate,
and logos, science,axiology has grown roots in the modern society as the term
that best designatesthe general theory of values. The term, "axiology," is

moreadequate thantimology,sincein Greek,axia meansvaluein the senseof

dignity, while time meansvalue in the senseof price. There are lots of
beneficial human creations that have a price, but only those objects, deeds,
and kinds of behavior that have dignity pertain to axia or to value; in other
words, they have an axiological characteristic.Some things have a time value,
and as such they can be exchanged,bought, or sold, without being axiological
values: drugs, pornographicpictures,etc. Things or deedsthat are values have
an axiological character, in the sense of axia, despite their having a time
value, say, a painting, the value of which increaseswith time, or their lacking
a time value, as is the caseof moral deeds,appreciatedand ranked according
to their dignity and validity but that cannot be exchanged,sold, or bought.
Some things have a price, but no value, while friendship, generosity, and
solidarity have value, in the senseof axia, but no price, in the senseof time.
The term, "axiology," better defines the ambiguity of value in whatever value
is specific, becauseit encompassesboth the objective and the subjective in a
complex interrelationship,and it generateshierarchiesas to the things that are
regarded as worth appreciating,mainly related to prevailingly spiritual needs
and desires.As such, axiology fails to cover all the statementsabout values
and valuation. It does not infringe upon the sovereignty of economic,
aesthetic,and judicial sciences,while analyzingthe economic, aesthetic,and
forensic values. Its object is clear-cut:it is the study of generic value and the
generallaws governing the systemof values.
Probing into the crucial events of human experience,knowledge, and
action, axiology highlights the bridge between the social-historical process
during which values are constitutedand their assimilation into the sphereof
individual reasons.In order to have their precise targets established,human
beings sift through various values,relate purpose-valuesto means-values,and
comparevalues accordingto specific criteria.
The valuation criteria area major problem, if we are to find an answerto
the question concerning life's meaning or to guide us through the maze of
contemporary art trends. Solving such problems requires making full use of
all scientific breakthroughsregarding types of values, while axiology, which
helps us identify generic values and elaborate a unitary theory of values,
reveals the complex relationship between object and subject and succeedsin
avoiding one-sidednessand intangibility. It is this object-subjectrelationship
that endows things, processes,actions, and human creation with value and
provides a new, fruitful basisfor the exploration of human subjectivity.
That axiology has become a distinct branch of philosophy and that the
realm of values has acquired a clear-cut position in the ensemble of our
existencemust stand among the most significant discoveriesin the history of
philosophical thinking. The word, "discovery," is not to be taken as a
metaphor.Once axiology emerged,a new realm of reality, previously ignored
or at best restrictedto other domains.was discovered.
Axiology's Long Journey toward ltself 13

The discovery is twofold. First a new concept is discovered.This is a

crucial moment for any type of knowledge. Without the introduction of the
concept of inertia, classicalmechanicswould have never existed; without the
concept of four-dimensional space-timecontinuum, relativity physics would
not have occurred; without the concept of reverse connection, cybernetics
would not have surfaced;without the conceptsof role and status, basic gains
in social psychology would have sounded nonsensical.We witness the
discoveryof the conceptof genericvalue.From this new point of view, value
appears as irreducible to the observable or to the mere reflection of the
observable,and axiology, the generaltheory of values,becomesirreducible to
ontology or gnoseology.
Second, a new realm of philosophical thought is revealed.It cannot be
completely integrated into physical existence,nor can it be included among
the ideal objects or psycho-spiritualphenomena:the realm of values.

3. The Search for Identity

Values are not independent of the facts they result from, owing to the
experience that human beings acquire in their complex relationships with
natural and social objects.The experienceof value is relatedto reflection, and,
at leasttheoretically,it can be verified.
Values are not independentof human thoughts, desires,and yearnings.
As long as values were regardedby ancient or modern philosophersas things
or as ideal objects, or as projections of affective and desire-oriented
experience,they could still be dealt with in terms pertaining to other domains
of reality. A failure occurred in pursuing the general coordinatesby virtue of
which all specific values occur as instaritiationsof the manner, specific and
irreducible, in which humankind relatesto reality.
From now on, all attempts to reduce the realm of values to other
domains of reality, things, essences,states of mind, become anachronistic.
Values are not things, since they cannot be mistaken for their material
carriers, although they cannot exist without their material frame, messenger,
bearer, carrier. Beauty does not exist by itself; it is always a feature of a
physical object, be it a piece of marble, the sunrise, or the human body.
However, value survives even after having been dissociatedfrom its physical
frame. Death deprivesgreat historic personalitiesor our nearestand dearestof
their existencebut fails to deprive them of their value, which seemsto depend
not so much on their physical frame, but on the life and feeling of the
survivors who grant the deceasedsubjectiveimmortality and value.
The treatmentof values as things relies on identifying values with their
material frame. But reducing them to ideal objects, such as essencesof the
Platonic type, relies, as with Nicolai Hartmann, on emphasizingthat they are
sensoriallyperceivable,which is a peculiarity of value. Thus, quality has been

identified with ideality, which characterizesspiritual values.Values cannot be

listed into what Edmund Husserl calls the class of ideal objects, essences,
relationships,concepts,mathematicalentities. Let us only compare beauty, a
value, to the idea of beauty, an "ideal object." We discover that the value-
beauty, without denying the interferenceof reason, is directly perceived by
meansof the sensorialand affective experience.The metaphorsof a poem are
meant to be expressive and are perceived emotionally, while they lack
informative and representationalintention. However, the idea of beauty falls
within the field of aesthetics,exclusively due to rational dissociation, by
means of concepts and propositions that bear significance at the level of
reason, of discursive knowledge. Values cannot be reduced to psychological
statesof mind. Pleasure,mentioned by Bentham, concern, regardedby Peny
as the foundation of value, or desire, extolled by Ehrenfels, who fathered the
formula, a value is higher when its desirability is greater, are only
psychological conditions for values to exist. Value cannot be restricted to its
object, to its conceptualtransfer,or its psychologicalconditions, becauseit is
not a thing, an ideal object, or somepoint of incidenceof personalexperience.
The conclusion is obvious: the realm of values begins wherever human
indifference ceases,whenever the world is no longer a stage performanceto
the human eye. This realm is present whenever differences and preferences
occur, whenever selectionsoperatea vertical hierarchy on the various forms
of reality not according to their genetic, causal, structural relationships,but
accordingto the extent they can satisfy human needsand desiderata.
The human being is not only part of the natural world and endowed with
cognitive abilities definable through complex statesof mind, but is also able
to develop attitudestoward reality, to assignhierarchiesto things and human
creation according to the interest they may stimulate during one stage of the
valuing being's "social practice." Without being left outsidethe jurisdiction of
determinism, value ceasesto be a realm of things or information about their
relationshipsand attributes.Value becomesa realm of feeling and preference,
of evaluation and human determination. This realm could not endure, as
physical reality does, outside the active instantiation of desire, at the level of
direct experienceand judgment, at the level of its translation into intelligible
terms. The discovery of a distinct statusfor the realm of value is crucial: first,
it is a basic, intrinsic coordinateof human action; second,it is the stimulating
atmosphereof our whole life. We live, work, and dream in an axiological
While attemptingto provide a definition for such a peculiar realm as that
of values,at least two questionsarise:
(1) Is there any contradiction between the statement that value is
irreducible and the attempt to define it? Becausea definition of value turns it
into an abstractobject by meansof theoreticalreflection.
The Searchfor ldentity 15

Any definition is bound to be both abstractand an absffact,a translation

into the conceptual, which implies constructive action on the part of the
gnoseological subject. But sciences do not discard definitions that are
regarded as useful tools required to embark upon the painful journey of
human knowledge.
Defining value means supplying a more or less adroit but necessary
synthetic expression,able to guide our spirit to acquire an intuition of value
and to make a preferential choice. For instance,we may consider value to be
an abstractterm the significance of which is liable to be judged in the same
manner as the commonly used phrase,X is good, is, if we reformulate the
phrase as, We should develop a favorable attitude about X. In this case, the
definition will focus around the essentiallynorm-settingidea of requirement,
simultaneouslyenvisagingattitude and object. Such a definition is only partly
satisfactory,becausedefining value as a property of objects, suggestingthat
you favor A insteadof B becausethe value of A is higher than that of B, or as
a valuation principle, you prefer A to B becauseA is closer to value than B, is
a one-trackprocedure.
However, any of these definitions brings along a legitimate viewpoint
that helps delineatethe object of knowledge and representsa strategic phase
in approachingknowledge. Thus, comprehensionof values and the theoretical
masteringof them are enabled.
(2) Since value is something pristine and essential, does it escape
definition? This questionneedsfurther elucidation.
Value does emerge as something pristine and essential, but only in
relation to the variations and changesundergoneby preferential options, and
only becauseintroducing value as a notion supposesa hypothetical invariant
of choice, virtually desirable,as comparedto actual choices.
Value is irreducible to other areas of reality, things, ideal objects,
psycho-spiritual phenomena,but this does not mean that these other areas
could be reducedto value or that value could stand for somethingpristine and
essentialin relation to the objective existence.
The startingpoint in our endeavortoward a definition of value is that the
notion of value designates characteristics acquired by things that exist
objectively in order to satisfy human needs.
At first sight, valueslook like a singulartype of qualities. Since there are
no qualities as such, only objects endowed with qualities, values do not exist
by themselves; they always occur as characteristicsof objects or beings.
Beauty is characteristic of a flower or painting; goodness of heart is
characteristicof a person; utility is characteristicof a tool. In other words,
values always need a bearer, a carcier,what Scheler calls Werttrriger, of which
they are inherent. If we carefully investigate a flower, a painting, a human
behavioral act, or a tool, we find that the feature we have ventured to call
value is completely different from those features that usually make up the

identity of an object. The length, weight, imperviousness,or hardnessof an

object are present irrespective of human conscience,while value can exist
only through the link between the objective structure and human
consciousness,beyond our feelings, evaluation, and judgment. An object
cannot exist as an object without displaying any feature, but it can exist
without bearing any value. Beauty, utility, or style are not conditions for
things to exist as things. If an object comes to be deprived of its qualities, it
may ceaseto exist as an object, while a couple of hammer strokesis enoughto
put an end to the utility of a device or to the beauty of a statue. Quality is
inalienable to the very existenceof objects, while value is inalienable solely
for the existence of those objects that meet cultural human needs and which
we call goods. A piece of marble is but a thing, exhibiting qualitative
parameters.Whenever the carver'Shand, "leaving the unnecessaryaside," aS
Michelangelo would put it, grants beauty to it and turns the piece of marble
into a cultural asset, we find that, though the statue still preserves all the
characteristicsof common marble, somethinghas happenedand has turned the
thing into an asset,enabling it to meet specifically human concerns, wants,
and needs.This somethingis value.
Thus, values can no longer be consideredan exclusive type of qualities
that some objects display,'sincethey do not intrinsically belong to objects,but
they are assigned to the object by the subject. They have to undergo a
treatmentdifferent from that of qualities becausethey do not belong to a class
of objects,but to a set of goods.They becomea kind of quality peculiar to the
subject which operates an axiological connection between objects and the
subject's needs, desires, cravings, and aims. Their defining characteristicis
not their substantialitybut their interrelationship.
Values are essentially relational in nature. Through the subject-object
relationship, they become inherent qualities pertaining to an object endowed
with value. Subsequently they detach themselves from their conception
processand appearin our life experienceunder a distorted form, linguistically
enhanced by the nominalization of the value-describing adjective, as an
intrinsic characteristicof the object, which is "value." This is tantamount to
the alarm clock urging us to wake up at dawn. But the clock does not really
urge us to wake up; it simply rings. Our understandingits ring as a wake-up
signal dependson our intention. We cannot say an alarm clock has waking-up
qualities, nor can we say that, intrinsically, a painting has "aestheticqualities"
or that, intrinsically, a behavioral act has "moral qualities," since values do
not envisagethe real structureor substantialityof objects.
Since values cannot exist outside an objective carrier and a subjective
signifying act, they belong to that class of objects Husserl calls "non-
independent." They are devoid of substantiality. This feature, so hard to
perceive,is a distinctive mark of values.
The Searchfor ldentity l7

Different natural things, together with different human acts do not rank
the same with all human beings. Their difference in rank relates to their
human significance, to the degree they satisfy needs or cravings that are
socially delimited and historically conditioned. Unequal ranking is
encounteredin any life experience,since attraction, preferences,and desires
all display hierarchies,and it finds its rational expressionin the concept of
The difference in ranking is not produced by the relationship among
objects. It is engendered by the relationships between objects and the
appraising subject, and it does not rely on the intrinsic characteristicsof the
object, but on the significancethesecharacteristicspresentto the subject who
is more or less attracted by them, according to their utilitarian, moral,
political, aestheticneeds.
Value implies polarity, a potential "yes" and a potential "no," a potential
approval and disapproval,and hierarchy, the vertical ordering of objects from
the inferior to the superior, in accordanceto their significance to the subject.
Whenever an object is grantedvalue, the granting is performed by comparing
and distinguishing it from something else bearing a different value. In other
words, by implicitly expressingpolarity, somethingis judged as positive when
compared with something estimated as negative, and with respect to
hierarchy, something is estimated as superior when compared to something
estimatedas inferior. If value is regardedas a relationship between an object
that is worth valuing and a subject that is able to evaluate it, and not as an
intrinsic quality, then polarity and hierarchy must be understood as the
primary relational determinantsof value. Polarity leads to revealing the poles
of value, while hierarchy reveals the degreesof value. These characteristics
further point to the peculiar statusof the "realm of values" as opposedto the
"realm of things," henceto the irreducibility of values.
The polarity of value evinces an axiological breakup from the
contemplative indifference that levels all objects pertaining to the physical
world and regardsall actionsexertedupon theseobjects as equivalent.We can
be indifferent to objects belonging to the physical world as long as we do not
invest that world with human significance,as long as they are not important to
us, and as long as we are not their value assigners.Once value is assignedto
an object, indifference is impossible. Axiological temperature never reads
zero. Any moral requirementis either attractiveor repulsive to us. There is no
axiologically neutral work of art. No looker-on might ever feel wholly
indifferent while listening to a symphony, contemplating a painting, or
watching a stage performance. Our evaluating response must be either
positive or negative. It will indicate approval or disapproval, acceptanceor
rejection. Since our valuation swings between two poles, discarding the ugly
by approving the beautiful, and acceptinggood while rejecting evil, all values
make up polar pairs, clear-cut dichotomies: good and evil, beauty and

ugliness,justice and injustice,truth and untruth.Polarity is exclusivelya

characteristicof the realm of values.While things are what they are by
themselves, and denying something does not mean asserting its opposite,
values are what they are due to the significancehuman beings assignto them.
Values encasepolarity in their structure,so that denying a value that lies at
one pole, good or beauty,implicitly meanspromoting the value that lies at the
oppositepole, evil or ugliness.
Values are either positive or negative, and human valuation, attitudinal
response, occurs as attraction or rejection, as approval or disapproval, as
desirability or undesirability.A negativevalue is not tantamountto non-value
or lack of value, since ugliness, evil, injustice, and disloyalty are as value-
efficient in our axiological experienceas beauty, goodness,justice, pleasure,
and loyalty are. Nevertheless,the subject regards them as negative to the
extent to which they seem to disfavor, instead of favor, the subject's needs
and aspirations.Negative values stand for hindrancesin the achievementof
the positive values which are their opposites. Instances might arise where
negative values could enable accessto positive values, as far as pain, error,
despair, anxiety are expressionsof poignant awareness,wheneverthey might
anticipate,in a veiled manner,positive values and an attempt to dominate and
convert them.
Since valueshave their reverseat the other axiological pole, or, in other
words, since values are symmetrically distributed to the negative pole and to
the positive pole, we are faced then with an alternative. Any valuation act
implies favoring one pole or the other. Preferring one value to another is not
only an alternative polar choice, but a choice made within a hierarchy.
Hierarchy is the other basic characteristicof the realm of values. If polarity
means a reversal of direction inalienable to the grouping of values in polar
pairs, hierarchy expressesdirectional continuity. Values have not only poles,
but also degrees.From disagreeableto agreeable,from beautiful to ugly, from
good to evil, from fair to unfair, there is a multitude of degrees.This complies
with how the needs, the aspirations,and the goals of a human community,
dwing a precise historical period, are attained, with precise social valuation
criteria, and implicitly with hierarchy-settingcriteria.
The hierarchy of values is vertical, unlike the hierarchy of knowledge,
which, at least at its boundaries, split from its axiological component, is
horizontal. The order of values deals with subordinationand superordination
relationships;the order of knowledge deals with coordination. The hierarchy
of values is ascending, from the inferior to the superior. Louis Lavelle
accounts for the degrees of value, and, implicitly, for the vertical scale of
values, by the threefold relationship that value achieves: with time, with
desire, and with effort, since it derives from the specifically human way of
establishingthe connection of the self with the world.o A hierarchic ordering
of values occurs in any human community, under given social-historical
The Searchfor ldentity 19

conditions. The rank on the scalerevealsthe degreeof significance the values

in questionacquire within that community.
The hierarchic ordering of values is different from the classification of
values, since classification does not necessarily imply an organized
significance.Chemical elementsmay be classifiedinto metals and metalloids,
people into overweight and underweight, tall or short, single or married, but
theseclassificationsdo not point to a group as bearing more significancethan
the other. Values are ordered hierarchically, according with their significance
in a human community, according to specific social criteria, generatedby the
practical-spiritual needsof that community. The template of the hierarchy of
values is not perennial. It constantly leaves room for new experience to be
acquired while bearing the imprint of a precise historical stageand of precise
cultural patterns within a given human community. Despite its being
revisable, fluctuating, in places incoherent, value endlessly provides
landmarks for a person's behavior toward nature, the people around, and the
judgments enabling a rational ordering of estimationsin terms of value.
The two opposite poles of values, one of which we favor, the other we
refuse, point to a moment of discontinuity in the progressive, continuous
hierarchy of values.By meansof a breachat the zero degreeof value, equal to
indifference, the two opposite poles insert a directional switch, a qualitative
separation of positive values from negative values. Values intertwine and
interpenetratedue to their gradability, since one value may be the means to
achieve another value chosenas purpose,and due to their polarity. A positive
value need not be defendedagainstsome other value, as Nietzschedoes when
defending the aestheticagainstmoral values, but againstthe negative value it
is linked to, within the same sphere,truth againstnon-truth, good againstevil,
beauty againstugly.
When analyzing the primary interdeterminations pertaining to the realm
of values, polarity and hierarchy, we eventually come to the conclusion that
value is not an intrinsic characteristicof some objects, be they material or
ideal, nor an intrinsic characteristicof the subject, but a specific way to trace
the preferential and desiderativelink betweensubject and object, according to
social and personal criteria. By virtue of the bond between objects and
socially generatedneeds, cravings, and ideals, objects are invested with a
hierarchic rank and a positive or negative significance. Thus, value is that
relationship between subject and object, which, by means of polarity and
hierarchy, expressesa person's or a community's judgment of characteristics
or facts, natural, social, psychological,potentially capableof meeting socially
and historically conditioned needs,desires,aspirations,etc. Value is the social
relationship expressing a judgment of objects or facts by virtue of the
agreement, historically determined by the social-cultural background and
ideals,betweenthe characteristicsof those objects and facts and the needsof a
given human community.

The dimensions of value come now into view in a wide vista. Value
displays an instrumental dimension, since it represents an item in an
assimilatedsymbolic systemserving as tool and standardfor potential choices
between alternatives, for any preferential trend toward an optimal
participation in the creation of cultural goods. Value displays an affective
dimension resulting from an intended active involvement of feelings, desires,
and choice that we develop toward objects,which, due to their characteristics,
can satisfy the variegated range of human needs: vital, utilitarian, moral,
aesthetic,political. Since value implies drawing out a hierarchy of human
behavior starting from needs, but related to an ideal, it has a goal-oriented
dimension expressedin the clash between goals and the self-censorshipof
conscience,the uttermostpatheticexpressionof which is remorse.Thus, value
involves principles in terms of which human beings set a relative degree to
each value, choose their goals, coordinate them in axiological systems, and
legitimize the meanssuitableto achievingthem.
This dimension is linked to three others: (l) the projective dimension,
since values provide reasons and projects for action, deeply rooted in the
human existential status during a given historical period; (2) the prospective
dimension, since value is not grantedto a desiredor favored object, but to an
object regardedas worth being desiredand favored and which complies with a
human ideal establishedby the potential prospectingof the future; and (3) the
norm-setting dimension, since once established,value becomes a means of
guiding for what cybernetics might call "inputs" and "outputs" of human
behavior in given "situations." Human desirescan never be wholly fulfilled.
Once a goal is reached, new action requirements arise, stirred by the
"inventiveness" of values. Consequently,value is also endowed with an
epigenetic dimension. The selective dimension of value is equally obvious,
since values expressthe hierarchy of objects or acts in human experience,a
hierarchy that is generatedby the relationshipsbetweendesiresand needs,but
that is brought forward and made objective by the social impact.
I do not claim my enumeration to have exhaustedthe dimensions of
value. I only wanted to emphasize the many-sidednessand the multiple
functionality of value. Whenever in the history of axiology only one
dimension has been made absolute or minimal, serious errors have been
Only by weighing the plurality of dimensionsand functions of value can
we understandwhy value is not a quality in the common perception of the
term. It does not belong to a classof objects,but to a classof cultural assets.It
implies that objects should be related neither to their immanent structure,nor
to the causes that once generated them, but to historically and socially-
conditioned human needs, desires, and yearnings. Value appears as a
relationship.We cannot perceive it with our life experience.We cannot grasp
and retrieve it in the absenceof an object characterizedby value and which
The Searchfor ldentity 21

we call valuable, or in the absenceof the subject capable of evaluating that

object and expressinga choice for it in the historical and socio-cultural frame
in which the active intenelationship takes place. This is no better place for
Goethe's words, If you are willing to enjoy your own value, then confer value
onto the world.

Is a ScientiticReconstructionof the Axiological

1. The Challenges of Science

In the traditional philosophical accounts on values, the gap between the

axiological and the scientific approaches wound up in undesired
consequences. Theoristsof value, making much of the lack of scientific rigor,
were easily satisfied with a speculative approach of their field of
investigation, while scientistscould hardly breathethe thin air of axiological
The attempt to createan axiomatic of value, such as that by John Laird,t
gave rise to substantialobjections.While studying values,is there any way we
could admit axioms of addition, commutation, and association?How can
beauty be added to vice? How can equivalencebe drawn between acquiring
material wealth, increasingknowledge, and hardly improving charity? Would
admitting that values could be dealt with in symbolic language,and adopting
the axiom of distributivity, (a + b)c - (a-c) + (b.c), entail degrading values,
belittling them into what Lossky called "disgusting shadows?"
Despite hardshipsand failures, the last decadewitnessedthe deep-rooted
belief that axiology had better acquire a downstream rather than stand as
counter-currentto science.Values are not parts of the perceptibleworld, since
they representmeaningsthat are not acquired through direct experience.This
does not mean that they are impenetrableto scientific investigation. Neither
are numberspart of the perceptibleworld, but nobody claims that the meaning
of a formula like (a - I) can be read by probing into life-experience.Science
fails to exhaustthe study of values.It fails to provide a reasonableexplanation
for my being in love with a woman or my taking delight in a sonataby Bach.
Although irreducible to the cognitive, becausethe determinism that governs
them transcendsthe field of the subject's rational decisions,values originate
in human action and are conveyed by languagesloaded with cultural input,
despitethe fact that they do not belong to the sensitive-intuitiverealm.
Today, the journey of axiology toward scientific methodology is almost
completed, without risking the loss of its philosophical status.However, the
concept of value must be re-evaluated by re-thinking value in terms of
scientific results.
A set of rigorously demonstrable and quasi-unanimously acceptable
propositions may be gathered,even if extracting and interpreting them would

unavoidably bring about theoretical deviations. For the time being, the
following ten propositionscan be validatedby science:
(1) Valuesdo not have a natural,but a socialexistence.
(2) Values are not qualities, but social relationshipsbetweenthe subject
and the valuation object.
(3) The primary relational determinants of value are polarity and
(4) Values do not exist outside the subject's valuation, although they
stem from objective data independentof the estimating subject and observe
some social and historical criteria.
(5) Values are meaning, not signs. To discover value is to discover a
human meaning; to create value is to create a human meaning. This way, a
new dimension and a new ontological depth are assignedto things turning
them into cultural assets.
(6) The relationship among rules, values, and signs is a counterpart of
the relationship among structure, function, and meaning in terms of human
(7) Values are cognizable, since meaning occurs in and by intelligible
structures.Knowing values has a sui-generischaractersince it connotesboth
explanationand comprehension.
(8) The experienceof value involves feeling, volition, and desire, and
also acquaintancewith the object of value, a noetic feature.
(9) Value is action, not evidence;it belongs to the realm of actions as a
prospectiveand purposeful requirement,verifiable by its empirically provable
(10) If consideredcoordinatesof human actions, and when their finality
is distinguishedfrom their efficiency, qualitative values, by virtue of items 1
to 9 above,flay become,within some limits, quantifiable.
It is now possibleto outline an open deductivesystemin axiology and to
draw out a generaltheory of values basedon a genuine methodologicalbasis.
Since any clearly formulated axiological theory cannot fail being functional,
the functional component of the theory of values can be implicitly expressed
by resorting to the clearest definition of terms that enables them to be
identified by experience and to the measurement procedures set forth
accordingto the specificity of qualitative values.
One of the most captivating attempts in this sense opens up the way
toward the reinterpretationof axiological problems according to the rigorous
theory of information. The starting point is that the experience of value
involves not just feelings, desires,volition, but also noesis, which may be
regarded as the informational side of value. The analogy between
informational operations and mental functions information storage:
memory; combining information: imagination; generation of information:
The Challengesof Science 25

encoding; collection of information: decoding is generally accepted

nowadays.Since information refers to the extent to which a sequenceof signs
is original, computing it inevitably raises the question of value. The same
piece of information may be essential to A but superfluous to B. Non-
Euclidean geometry or Leibnizian philosophy are of interest to a restricted
number of people, while a report on a football match is of a much wider
The very act of computing information presupposesan answer to the
question, for function of whom do we compute information? A and B may
read it differently. An absolute information measuring-unit needs be
computed, presupposingthe abstractcase of an infinite value displayed by a
sequenceof symbols or signs for an infinitely knowing and infinitely curious
This revealsthe multiple analogiesbetweenthe encoding,informational
system, and the system of values, as an ordered function of preference.Both
systems bring meaning to an individual's world. Their structuresuncover a
network within which some items are selected,while others are neglectedor
rejected. With both systems, the neglected classes or items usually stay
undefined.When I explain why I like a painting or why I appreciatean artist,
it is not important why I dislike other paintings or why I do not acknowledge
the value of other artists. When seeking for information, as well as when
urged into the pursuit or attainment of values, human beings also try to
achievecongruencebetweenideasand events.
The relationship between information and value is even closer, since
they both express negative entropy; the progress of an efficient structural
order is the oppositeof entropy. That is why sentencescan be translatedfrom
a system of values into a system of codes. According to the theory of
communication,any messagehas two aspects:(1) a statementconcerningthe
state of the event at the previous moment; (2) an order that becomes the
stimulus, the cause of coming events. Semantic research has proved that
words not only purport information but also engenderour future actions with
consequencesthat can be motivationally provable. When I convey to X what
opinion Y has about X's temper,I convey information about a past event, but I
also trigger X's future responsesto Y. Translating a system of codes into a
system of values is translatingthe report-messagein terms of order-message.
In this way, the theory of information does not replace a computation method
by a value judgment, but suppliesvalue judgments with the objective basis of
a computing method. This happenswithin limits, since value should not be
reducedto its informational side.
Scientific substantiationis thus provided for an outstandingaxiological
problem: the translatability and the ineducibility of values. Since values have
an informational side, they are mutually translatable:aestheticor moral values
can be translatedinto terms pertainingto theoreticalvalues,truth or falsehood.

Since values involve information, they display ineducible aspects that are
mistranslated into other structures. Far from implying their purity, the
ineducible character of values reveals their interaction. The message that
values always carry is never restricted to a single value, and, despite the
sender'sintention to assignit just one value, the receiver, by means of proper
reading, can decode in the messageother values embeddedin the respective
structure. A value always presupposes and embeds other values. pure
goodness,pure beauty, and pure justice are mere illusions, though sometimes
necessary.I get involved in the act by means of which I perform my good
deed, I do my duty. Theoretically, my action relies on a moral or theoretical
principle; politically, I statemy allegianceto a social group, and I might even
have to sacrifice my health or life in order to solve a problem of human
existence.There is no pure science,just as there is no pure art. Without an
explicitly alleged pu{pose, means claim to have the status of aims. Value
choicesdo not perish irrespectiveof their rank in a hierarchy. A scientist is in
pursuit of truth, but while decoding such truths, we come across plenty of
"impurities": moral, political, and ideological. Likewise, there is no pure
human beauty, since beauty is always an expressionthat implies the presence
of moral and intellectual qualities which masterfully mould the biological
matter into new, striking plasticity. Even when axiological clashesoccur, we
cannot and should not side with one value against another.We never defend
truth from goodnessor goodnessfrom beauty. What we fight against is the
opposite of that value within its specific area: truth against lie, goodness
against evil, beauty against ugliness. One value cannot exclude another; it
presupposesit. Each value can substantiatethe othersin the semanticworld in
which we live. This is how the ineducibility of values implies translatability,
and translatability implies comparability, which, in its turn, implies
From a different point of view, the re-valuation of value may resort to
the theory of decision-making.Individual consciousnesstranslatesvalues into
preferential acts. If we study preferential choices in their simplest
instantiations, attraction or rejection, we may envisage them as choices
between two different objects, as the accomplishment of either of two
alternativeactions,or as the triggering of either of two possibleevents.In this
respect, instead of X prefers a to b, we may say Object a is superior to object
b, in terms of its utility to person X. Whatever our formulation, a preference is
merely revealed,not explained.
If we want to account for the choice of a value beyond a proven
preference, we come across serious hindrances when trying to apply the
theory of choice. This happensbecausechoices may be inconsistent,options
may vary with each successivechoice the subject makes among a, b, and c,
and becausechoices may not display transitivity. A is prefened to b and b is
preferred to c do not entail a is preferred to c. Choices vary according to the
The Challengesof Science 27

nature of the object to be preferred, according to the socio-cultural

background, to the varying offers (if a is preferred to b when a and b are the
only ones to be offered, we cannot ascertainwhether the samepreferencewill
occur within a set including objects c and d as well), and to the subject's state
of mind at the moment of choice (reversalof preferencemay happen,such as
picking your food when you are replete after having been hungry). An object
being desirable, its exerting preferential impact upon us, is not one of its
intrinsic properties.Instead,it is a relationship between the subject's state of
mind and the properties of the object. Consequently,to explain preferential
options in rigorously scientific terms we should leave behind the inventory of
preferential options and renouncethe illusion of building up a system which
could rank preferencesaccordingto the intrinsic propertiesof objects.
Severalsolutions have arisen in order to surmount thesedifficulties and
to account for the puzzling variety of preferential choices. Some of the
solutions are tautological, as motivation prompts choice, others, although
leading to reliable explanations,fail to support refutable statementsand fail to
acquire theoreticalstatus.This is the caseof the psychoanalyticinterpretation.
These difficulties can be overcomeby introducing the notion of value in
the psychologicalanalysisof preferentialrelationships.Thus, value becomesa
hypothetical invariant, a function of the sum of transformations of actual
choices. In other words, in addition to the actual choices of real objects that
occur in our experienceat a given moment, we make potential choicesrelated
to kinds of objects that are invariable in time. In addition to the real subject
that makes a real choice and to whom the present motivation is relevant, we
supposea hypothetical subject whose potential choices are made according to
a code. In a virtual system, we come to estimatethe concept of value, over
segmentsof the cognitive chain, as a rigorous scientific conceptjoining two
meaningsof the term: (1) a property acquired by objects as to the evaluating
subjectX: X prefersa to b becausethe value of a is superiorto the value of b,
as far as the satisfactionof pre-establishedneedsis concerned;(2) a valuation
principle: X prefersa to b becausea suits the value better than does b.
The introduction of this hypothetical invariant in either instance, as a
human property of objects or as a valuation principle, accounts for the
preferential acts varying with time, which exceedsthe restricted axiological
areas and penetratesthe vast realm of sociology. There is no one-to-one
dependenceof preferenceto value, all the more so becausevalues may be at
stake at the same time. A combined impact of historical, socio-cultural, and
sociological factors is exerted upon preferences. The notion of value,
presentedas an invariant of transformationsof preferential choices, can be
investigatedas any other object of scienceand explained in terms of the way
values function as principles that rule human actions. Such an approachurges
us to grasp the meaning of each peculiar act, in compliance with the human

needs and aspirationsit voices, with the structure within which it has been
generated,and with the precisegoals it pursues:its finality.
What I have called re-valuation of value might enable axiology to rely
on the theory of purpose as well. Human behavior is purposeful, it always
aims at achieving one thing or another, and it alters according to its partial
consequences,success,or failure. But human behavior is not to be accounted
for only causally, since one moment is relevant not for the previous moment,
but for the future ones. Purposefulnessappearsas the process by means of
which balanceis gradually achievedbetweenprevious information and future
requirements. It simultaneously involves the orientation that any structure
striving toward increasing equilibrium requires, by a trial-and-error process.
Purposefulnessappearsthus as the instantiation of the various aspectswhich
come to strike a balanceowing to the action-interactiongame. Purposefulness
does not leave out causality; it includes and surpassescausality, since every
human action is purposeful and oriented. Values do not acquire the coercive
powers of causality that rules out option; all that they acquire is the
compulsory norm-setting character of requirements, the nature of which
allows us to observeor infringe upon them.
If value implies purposefulness, and measuring values supposes
understandingpurposefulnessin causal terms, then whenever it makes sense
to measure qualitative values, we have to perform reduction. On
methodological grounds, values involving fundamentalpurposesare reduced
to efficiency values.
If we consider Jean Piaget's idea that value can be seen as a conscious
understandingof the functional utility, we can distinguish between primary
utilities, related to the quality of values produced and preserved, and
secondaryutilities, related to quantitativefunctioning. Thus, values involving
fundamental purposes,oriented toward satisfying primary utilities, are to be
distinguished from efficiency values oriented toward satisfying secondary
utilities. Values involving fundamental purposes weigh the purpose-way
relationshipand are preeminentlyqualitative, while efficiency values envisage
the costs or gains in the inner energeticeconomy of the individual or inter-
individual actions,becausethey are quantifiable.
When dealing with qualitative values, due to their being coordinatesof
human actions, we may shift our focus from finality to efficiency. This is how
such values become quantifiable. Whenever a mathematicianis interestedin
and satisfied with changing opinions with a musician, their dialogue does not
sound like an economic exchange.Even if they agreeto trade math classesfor
music classes, they strike up an economic relation, which becomes
quantifiable, although there are no material assets,only spiritual values that
are traded.
Thus, translated into terms of efficiency, value becomes a secondary
weight of objects that is not gravity-bound but generatedby the attraction of
The Challengesof Science 29

the axiological sensitivenessof the desiring mind. Since the idea of weight
associates with that of balance, the value of an object results from its
equivalence to the value of another, as if human beings were weighing
everything on some invisible scale and thereby estimating the secondary
weight, the relative meaning of things and beings versus the sacrifices they
acceptto do.
Quantitative comparisonsbecome possible becausewe act as if things
and beings possessed,in addition to their perceptible properties, a dynamic
quality measurableby the effort we are willing to make to acquirethat quality.
Quantification is possible whenever stressis laid upon the efficiency and the
purposefulnessof value.
We may say that axiology faces a dynamic alternative.It aims at using a
rigorous method to measurethe human ability of making value options, and at
gathering enough pertinent meanings and explanations to obtain maximal
accuracy.It has to choose between refusing measurementand performing it
by painfully renouncingpurposefulnessin favor of efficiency.
The dilemma forces the researchersinvolved in the theory of values to
question theoretical and epistemologicalissuesand to critically examine their
own methods. They should render obvious any over-reduction, and they
should prevent any potential distorting effects. Redefining the concept in
terms susceptibleof operational analysisremains the sine qua non condition
usedto apply modern researchmethodsand strategies.
As specific products of the object-subject interaction, values do not
make up a realm of things or of information regarding the properties or
relationships between things. Values constitute a realm of feelings and
preference, of human intentions and valuation, that could not subsist, as
physical reality can, outside the active instantiation of desire, within direct
experience, and of appreciativejudgments, when translated into intelligible
The realm of values is not separatedfrom the world of action. If we see
action as inclusive of a whole range of kinds of behavior and activities aimed
at satisfying social human needsand ruled by the purposethey strive to reach,
then values representthe basics of human action. The concept of action is
employed to designateall the determined,goal-oriented,and finalized human
activities becoming socially useful by contentsand manner of being.
This concept should be distinguished from the Parsonian notion of
action that points to social behavior as a range of responsesto a given social
situation. Values have their source not in the conditions of action, but in
action itself. Social-human action is simultaneously value-generating and
value-oriented.Since it unfolds within precisehistorical circumstancesand is
value-oriented, action is wrapped up into social backgrounds and fields of
decision even when it makesuse of symbolic expression.

Axiologically,a personis endowedwith valuenot by havingsomething

but by beingsomebody, andbeingsomebody is definedby doingsomething.
Carrying out activities diminishes the existential uncertainty related to the
entire human experience, since, through activity, human beings embrace
values which usually representthe anti-entropicfactors for action.
Raymond Polin reveals the essentiallink between action and value that
are mutually measurableand understandable.In relation to the human being,
value and action constitute a dialectic system that outweighs personal space.2
That is why they should be studiedjointly when related to social structures.
From this point of view, the interconnection action-value is many-
folded. Values are products of social-humanaction. The productive activity,
labor, creates economic values. The aesthetic value of masterpiecesis a
product of cultural-artistic activity. Political values are the product of the
political activity of social groups and communities and of political parties.As
a purposeful modifier of the agent-environmentrelationship,action appearsas
value-creating, while value appears as a reason-purposeoriented toward
intention and effort and as a way to objectivize human activities embodied in
cultural assets,in what lasts after biological death,in the perpetuum of human
activity. Values are also a universal environment that mediates human
relationships meant to caffy out actions. Sociology no longer regards
interactivebehavior acts as dialoguesbetweentwo or severalconsciousnesses.
It estimates them as social relationships by means of which the subject
establishesan active link with the environment, sociosphereand zoosphere
In the same way, such links create an object for a subject and a subject
for an object. Axiological sensitivity is stimulated not only by creating new
objects of consumption of conspicuousaxiological status,cultural assets,but
also by creating new needs, chiefly cultural, and new, specifically human,
ways to relate to the world. Value is both an urge to action and a latent model
for action. It is generatedby action and generatesaction in its turn within
human axiological responses,direct stimuli, and needs.Value manifestsitself
through indirect stimuli, relatedto an ideal representationof the action goal as
a possible way to satisfy the need. The object is reflected with respect to the
socially conditioned human needs.This fact triggers off the ideal craving that
makes up the axiological stimuli for action and determines the motivation,
direction, and purposefulnessof action.
In human activity, values function as ideal tools meant to choose goals,
and as well-defined, often institutionalized, social products, latently
comprised in motivations. Values become meaningful by manifest behavior,
by the sequenceof states of mind that the human being experienceswhile
interacting with the environment. Value inevitably representsthe factor that
stimulates and optimizes human action. Value lends a human touch to the
satisfactionof human needs,and, owing to cultural creation, it generatesnew
The Challengesof Science 31

human and social needs. Value-creating human activities unfold under the
guidance of valued needs. Within the praxiological interlinking of agent-
object-goal-achievement-consequence,an interference occurs between
nomological and psycho-sociological motivations and value-based
motivation. Nicolai Hartmann used to say that moral Daltonism or
"axiological cecity" short-circuit action, since the entire human activity relies
on observingfunctional parametersthat logically are conditionedformally and
deontically-axiologically. Value is present during each stage of action: the
agent embraces values, prefers one valued object to another, establishesa
goal, picks up and employs the meansto accomplishthat goal, and weighs the
consequencesby resortingto a scaleof values.
To conclude, I would call value that specific determination of an
assimilated symbolic system which, under given historical circumstances,
offers the criteria or the standards for selecting among alternatives and for
openly and intrinsically directing preferential behavior. In this way, during
one stage in its cognitive journey, axiology may become what Charles W.
Morris named a scienceof preferentialbehavior.3Axiological inquiry pursues
not the manifest but the latent side of human behavior.
By identifying value in latent behavior, we can see that any attempt to
quantify the axiological realm should adopt from the start a definition of value
which could open up the way for the functional analysis of the meaning
implied in the manifestpreferentialresponses.
In this sense,Robert S. Hartman's attempt to reconstruct axiologya is
worth considering for the following reasons:(1) The attempt starts from the
fundamental axiom: value is meaning. (2) It achieves more rigorous
reformulation of the theory of valuesby employing methodsof axiomatization
and formalization, the efficiency of which has been proven by modern
science,and it thus has becomethe enticing gatewayto formal axiology. (3) It
achievesmeasurementof values while operating with qualitative mathematics
or human mathematics,as Claude L6vi-Strauss called them. (4) It aims at
measuring generic value, that is the very object of axiology, and it always
avoids being overlappedby specific values.
The value measurement-systemdesigned by Hartman endeavors to
surmount traditional difficulties, including those arising from the attempt to
formulate purposefulnessin terms of efficiency, by formalizing axiology.
Logically and mathematically,Hartman's systemis nearly faultless.However,
unless we take methodological precautions, the granting of sovereignty to
mathematicalproceduresrisks turning everything into an exquisite yet barren
game. The test Hartman suggestedis a tempting hypothesis to have the
axiological approachat leastpartly controlled by science.
Among the many possible objections that call for methodological
caution, I shall mention:

(1) The envisaged method relies on a bilateral relationship

establishedbetweenobject and its intensity. The measurementof
values assumes the thorough knowledge of the predicates
expressingthe defining properties of an object. In some fields,
such as ethics or aesthetics, sir), the characterization of a
behavior or of the beauty of a painting, such operations are
impossibleand the test proves useless.

(2) If value is reduced to cognitive value and if the differences in

individual valuejudgments are reducedto insufficient knowledge
of the expositionalpropertiesof the valued object, then the test is
a mere IQ test, This becomeseven more conspicuouswhen we
consider the distinction between the disagreementin belief and
the disagreementin attitude. Let us take an example. If A and B
are listening to one of Beethoven's sonatas for piano, and A
thinks it is Sonata No. 8 Pathdtique, while B thinks it is
Moonlight Sonata,so that they have a disagreementin belief, the
appeal to facts will solve the disagreement.But, if A declares,1
like Beethoven,and B declares,I don't like Beethoven, so that
they have a disagreementin attitude,then the appealto facts will
in no way help.

(3) If we take into account the dichotomy of intrinsic and extrinsic

values, we may defend the claim that being sincere, honest, or
open-heartedranks higher than doing something.Here we have a
purely theoretical level, and the complex context of axiological
experienceis underestimated.For the sake of sincerity, sublime
deeds have been achieved but atrocious crimes have also been
committed. For me, Richard the Third's My kingdomfor a horse!
is not a preposterouscry, as R. S. Hartman maintains. It is the
triumph of survival, a vital value, over kinghood, a symbolic
value. Under some circumstances,people justifiably assign a
higher value to lunch than to a piece composed by a musical
genius, for the simple reason that when hungry, they cannot

2. Values versus Measurement

The scientific point of view brought into the axiological discourseenablesthe

measurementof values. But such an encountermay look paradoxical at first
sight. There are three main objections against applying measurementto the
ValuesversusMeasurement a n

First, we should keep in mind that values are preeminently qualitative;

they disclose polarity, good-evil, beauty-ugliness,and involve valuation of
objects in respectto human needs,desires,and intentions, all of which reject
quantitative evaluation. As coordinates of human actions and preferential
behavior, values are primarily manifest in verbal communicationby means of
symbolic items that reflect the judgment, tenets, and attitudes of a human
community and that the observercan judge as decodablenatural phenomena.
The analysis of such symbolic items can be achieved owing to subtle
strategiesthat attempt an objective, systematic,and quantitativedescription of
the latent value-contentof preferentialbehavior that becomesmanifest during
a particular act of communication, against a precise socio-cultural
background, and in relation to a specific referential framework. Although a
rigorous, verifiable approachcould penetrateonly the boundariesof axiology,
it can provide a commendableexplanatory addendum to less verifiable and
lessrigorous knowledge,meant to cover basically non-quantifiableissues.
Second, the objection was raised that quantification and measurement
encompassonly the outer aspectsof such a complex phenomenonas value is.
In this case, the three levels of quantitative analysis, the illustrative, the
technical, and the methodological, are being mistaken for one another. I am
now solely interestedin the methodologicallevel. This is the only level which
refers to the constructionof the abstractobject of investigationin such a way
that conceptscould be translatedinto indices and can undergo operations in
order that dimensions, feature spaces,functional variations, and correlation
can be detected. The specificity of values does not exclude their
measurability, their quantitative comparison.Measurementdoes not infringe
upon the principle of value irreducibility. It operatesupon an abstractobject,
the valuating subject,in the sameway in which other social sciencesdeal with
such notions as inhabitant, demography, producer, or economics, without
envisagingspecific individuals. Measurementdoes not despisethe qualitative.
On the contrary, we might say that it quantitatively graspsthe qualitative. The
differencesamong values,truth, goodness,beauty,justice, pleasure,or among
the valuating subjects are temporarily suppressed during the cognitive
journey, not for the irreducible to change into reducible, but for the
incomparableto changeinto comparable.
Third, objections are raised as to a supposedspecific of the social, and
especially of the axiological by virtue of which measurementin the field of
values would be an illegitimate extrapolationof the methodology successfully
applied in natural sciences.Far from being a upholder of quantification or test
mania, I cannot help concluding that we should not necessarily renounce
measurement itself, but we should refrain from granting measurement
absolutesovereigntyand we should embark upon elaboratinga theory suitable
for the domain under investigation.The cognitive and functional meaning of
any measurementdepends on the quality of conceptualizationand on how

accuratelythis conceptualizationis translatedinto variablesfor the analysisof

the investigated object. With physics, measurement implies enumerating
remarks and data analysesand the mathematicalprocessingof thesenumbers.
But this measuringdevice is not fruitful in social sciences.In this domain, any
phenomenon comprises human subjectivity, be it in its objective
instantiations.Further difficulties arise from the historical characterof social
phenomena,from reconstructing the whole out of fragments of reality and
behind the moral boundariesof social experiment.A quiz and a scalemeant to
record, rank, and compare attitudes, valuations, opinions, and preferential
behavior, generate deeper and subtler problems than a device designed to
measurethe trajectory of a bunch of electrons.Measurementdoes not prove
impossible; it only proves more complex. Such thoughts make me conclude
that the generaltheory of values is striving to becomearticulatedwithin those
theoretical systems which secure inflection with the object and disclose the
meaning of valuesat the level of the objects.
All methods of investigation, including measurementprocedures and
techniques, cannot be elaborated outside the theory. Indeed, theoretical
hypothesesmust be turned into investigation tools. Speaking about a method
to measurevalues implicitly means speaking about axiology as a theoretical
discipline. Each axiological conception advancesa theoretical model. This
theoreticalmodel has an explanatory function which includes a latent pattern
of organizing the componentmoments with a view to investigatingits object,
in other words, a method. The unity between theory and method in the
measurementof values is evidencedby'the requirement of functionalism. In
order to be adequateand accepted,any theory must be formulated to comprise
the modalities to investigate, measure, and verify in practice its own
conclusions. Under the headway of investigation, a theory needs to be
convertible into the methodsspecific to the sciencein question.
In a wider sense,the measurementof valuesappearsas the projection of
a system of value-bearingreal objects onto a purely formal abstractsystem of
items equipped with some properties, and of operations that apply to these
items; that is, in a mathematicalsystem Rudolf Carnap would call calculus.
Successivecalculi correspondto successivemeasurementstages,and calculi
imply an increasingnumber of ever more complex properties and operations.
The purpose of this transposition of a system of real objects into a
mathematicalsystem is to substitutethe operationsin the abstractsystem for
operationswhich are performable in a concretesystem.For the operationsin
the abstract system to make senseto the physical, real-world system, which
also includes value relationships,the axioms that underlie the abstractsystem
must satisfy the conditions peculiar to the physical system.
Measurement relies on a major operation: choosing a level for
measurement,an abstractsystem,where all data are orderedby nominal scale,
ordered metric scale, interval scale, ratio scale, etc. As Clyde H. Coombs
ValuesversusM easurement 35

remarks, the axiomatic basis of the selectedmeasurementlevel makes up a

theory on the behavior in question.s
Axioms determine the relationships that are to be recorded in the
database and the properties pertaining to these relationships. Axiological
concepts turning into measurable functional operators enhance operationai
efficiency with regard to adequatelyoutlining the object of investigation, to
choosing a suitable measurement level, and to suitably interpreting the
collected data. We need to resort to a method that can employ the stratified
mix of all quantitative analysistechniquesin the intricate realm of values, in
an attemptto have them inclosed in a theoreticalpattern.
A unifying structural approach,with but a few alterations,supplies the
means to use Robert S. Hartman's techniques of measuring the noetic
dimension of value.6Once we have discoveredthat the relationship between
rules, values, and signs translatesthe relationshipbetweenstructure,function,
and meaning into terms of human behavior, a new avenue to measuring
qualitative values opens up. If we consider rules as systems of obligations,
values as systemsof exchanges,and signs as conventionalsymbols serving to
expressrules and values, as does Piaget, then the realm of values becomesa
vast field for comparativeresearch.T
If, on the other hand, the starting point is another dimension of value,
say, desirability or attraction, and the operational definition pertaining to it,
say, a hypothetical invariant providing the code to choose between desirable
action alternatives,then the measurementof values follows a newly-traced
trend that should not be underestimated.The researcherwill study inferential
constructions instead of directly variable phenomena. The researcher will
replace manifest choices, which are not values but expressionsof value, by
desirableoptions that impact upon meansand ends, influence alternativesfor
action, and heavily bear upon preferential responses.Persons and groups
always have to make a choice between alternative desiderata.Preferences
differ with distinct contexts, but they always follow and reiterate a model
assigned to values that stands for the code supplying ranking and
hierarchization criteria for the intensity of desires, in case of diverse
desiderata.Each socialized human being lies at the crossroadsof several
social force-fields that draw that being toward varying desiderata. If
desideratum means whatever a person wishes for at a given moment, a
material object, social relationship, a piece of information, or any object of
desire, then valuation can take over W. R. Catton Jr.'s definition: an action
expressing the intensity of an individual's desire as to various desiderata,
namely, that person's determination to achieve the desideratumin question.
The in actu choice, projected onto an n-sized axiological space, helps us
measurethe valueshaving generatedmore or less intensedesiresand compare
the relationships between desiderataand values. The proceduresdevised by
Catton have managed to prove that, if starting from this operational

framework,we introducethe conceptsof valueperspectiveand axiological

space,thenwe couldtalk aboutthelimitedmeasurability
of humanvalues.8
If I abide by Catton's operationaldefinition of valuation, I can formulate
the following thesis:The impact of valuesupon human choicesamong several
desideratais conditionedby the socially acquiredknowledge of characteristics
that values have. When these characteristicsare fully known, this influence
becomesan invariant, while the differencesbetweenthe preferentialbehavior
of the valuating subjects,involving the subject's adherenceto the value to a
higher or lesser extent, will depend on several variables. The perspectiveof
value might be one of thesevariables.If, for instance,two Romanians,A and
B, are in Rome and feel hungry, the food they would normally prefer when in
Bucharest, s4), mititei or sarmale, the traditional Romanian dishes, will not
present immediate value to them. In their new perspective,this desideratum
wanes, while the effort they might undertaketo achieve it, as compared to a
similar, encounterabledesideratum,is equally bound to dwindle. The apparent
value of an object varies not only with the intensity of desire, but also with
spatial proximity. The framework for this value-perspectiveis provided by a
space endowed with different properties than the physical ones, and I shall
call it, axiological space.A subject perceivesa goal as less valuable when the
social distance separatingthe subject from the goal increases.In present-day
political activity, a remoter goal is translated into emergency targets, and
perspectivetrends are traced with increasedhuman effort. As to scienceor art,
waste of talent is often generatedby the subject's inability to translate a
generous desire, say, to be in the service of humankind or to create
masterpieces,into tangible targets, the perspective trends of which should
generate axiological attraction and activate abilities. Owing to the
counterbalancingmechanismsinherent to social determinism, any action or
value, as Robert T. Merton demonstrates,is always controlled by closer
targets, or, to use the words of Talcott Parsons,by tangible targets. As with
gravity, the attractionexertedby a target-objectdependsupon the distance,in
axiological space, between the valuating subject and the object liable to
Valuation involves severalvariables as functions. Choosing only a few
such variables niurows down any approach. A generalized operational
analysisis neededto turn a one-sidedview into a holistic view, to assessvalue
as a whole, by means.of a wide range of methods and complementary
techniques.I consider the actual value a subject promotes as being a function
of three variables:(l) the socially acquiredvalues,(2) the thorough knowledge
of the various desiderata,and (3) the distancebetween values and desiderata
within the n-sized axiological space. A valuating human being lies at the
crossroads of several force fields and is thus attracted toward multiple
desiderata.In each case,the attraction is a function of the proximity from the
desideratato the valuating subject within an n-sized axiological space.Each
Values versusM easurem.ent 37

person defines the kinds of desideratathat are activated within the respective
fields of forces according to assimilated cultural patterns and to social
interaction. The many-sided axiological space which hosts the relationship
between the desideratumand its values should be regardedas a sociocultural
product. In this context, I attempt to correct Catton's magnetic model of
values that renders absolute the treatment of values as forces. Within
operational analysis, value may be a sui generis force, but it can be such a
force only in a sociologicaland psycho-sociologicalsense,and not in the
physical sense. This idea paves the way for the investigation of the
mathematicalstructureof the axiological space.
From this point of view, we could considerthat the axiological space,as
a socio-culturalproduct, containssubsetsin different culturesand subcultures.
If preferencesfor some desideratavary with the distancebetween subject and
desideratawithin the axiological space,the size of the axiological spacewill
vary with eachpersonor group.
The graph below presentsthe one-sidednessof the desiderata,located
within a two-sided axiological space,with X1 and X2 as dimensions,and A, B,
..., H, the desideratafound in a coordinating system with the value assignerat
the origin.

Assuming that a person in one group is enculturated to perceive the

object-desideratain terms of the one-sidedspaceX1, while a personin another
group comes to see it in the X2-spaceterms, the first person will display the

preferential order D', A', H', F', C', G', E', B', while the second person will
favor a different order, H"rG", F", E", D", C", A",8", althoughthe values
are the same for both groups and their variations can be a measured function
of the referential dimensions of the axiological space. Though limited, a
gateway is thus opened to measurepreferences,explain the functionality of
values,and passfrom manifest behaviorto potential values.
The separateuse of a peculiar technique of value measurementwould
not engendertricky methodological issues.Serious hardships,however, may
arise in our analysis if we use an overwhelming variety of methods and
proceduresin order to collect, analyze,and measureobservationaldata. Not
even Hartman's and Catton's approachesare comparable. They fail to be
comparable because their logical syllabus is different. To make them
comparable,to help them communicatewithin a wider theoreticalpattern, we
should keep in mind that they both operatewith reductions.My suggestionis
that the measurementof values might become a pseudo-problemfor whoever
An axiological analysis that overlooks the emotional, intentional, and
desiderativemeaning and pays heed only to the descriptive meaning of the
uneven ranking of things, expressed in human hierarchies, is bound to
underestimateor disregard the specific cognitive core of axiology. Statistics,
mathematical models, or axiomatic schemesshould not deprive axiology of
the need for observation and experience.All they can do is outline efficient
and rigorous devices for analysis and comparison over some stages of the
cognitive journey. Each measurement strategy has its limits, since it
complicates the concept of value. With each of them, the strategy considers
only one dimension, functionally defined, in a many-sidedsystem.The limits
are obvious even in the fortunate casesof contextual analysis,when variables
are set for individuals and their environment and the scientific proceduresare
enriched by a sociological perspective. Measurement is performed at the
expenseof reducing value to its instrumental,noetic, perspectival,epigenetic,
selective, or desiderativedimension. Each kind of measurementis justified,
since it converts raw phenomena,the result of the investigation of symbolic
matter in the natural environmentof social life or in simulatedconditions, into
data liable to quantitative treatment that can be integrated into a notional
system and lead to conclusions that apply beyond the boundaries of their
Notwithstanding, any type of measurementis one-sided. If we rely
exclusively on just one kind of measurement,this might deal a deadly blow to
research,all the moreso that measurementis meaninglessat a macro-social
level. Relying on just one type of measurementwould entail leaving out the
complex structure of society as a whole and focus just on elementary
responsesand exchangesbetween individuals or small groups, where the
connection among valuation, the structure and dynamics of culture, and the
ValuesversusM easurement 39

psychological mechanismsmight or might not be revealed.Value needsto be

approachedin layers by multiple methods. The axiomatic of classesand of
relationshipsand attitudinal scaleselaboratedby social psychology are useful
to acquire an accurateexpressionfor the mechanicsof hierarchy-building and
qualitative value-exchange.
All methods of measurementrely upon the hypothesis that manifest
behavior is a function of a latent, genotypical attitude of the subject, and of
conditions that the subject encountersin a given situation and when faced
with stimuli. Whether we accept or not the presenceof an axiological space,
two levels of descriptioncould be accepted:
A. a phenotypic, P, level of behavior as observed, the manifest
B. a genotypic, G, level of latent behavior, supposedlycomprising a
pre-establishedcomplex of possibilities and underlying manifest
As long as a number of subjectspassa test and we classify their answers,we
provide a description of the manifest behavior,the P level, and obtain either a
pattern of classifiable answers,successes,and failure, or a numeric score of
congruent versus deviant answers. This is only a starting point for the
investigator whose endeavor is to draw genotypic conclusions on valuation
abilities and strategiesand to extract genotypically infened observationsby
correlating answersand measurements.
social psychology widely uses scaling procedures to achieve
measurementsof attitude (Thurstone, Rickert, Guttman, Lazarsfeld, etc.).
Passing on from the phenotypic level, which is intelligible by interpreting
each answer given during a test, to the genotypic level relies on the combined
answers a person supplies to several questions. This transition aims at
measuringvaluation abilities or the intensity of value options, in relation to an
ideal or to a parameter.
Once attitudeshave undergonemeasurement,investigation should probe
into the subtle blend of intentions,desires,and volitions, that characterizesthe
realm of values in relation to the informational moment. The rating scales
used to measurethe intensity of the attitude, namely, differences of degree,
and not differences of species,allow us to infer from the phenotypic to the
The theoreticalbaseunderlying such inferencesmight be a unanimously
accepteddefinition of information included in phenotypic observationand in
the relationship betweenthe (P) and (G) levels. In order to grasp the subject's
valuation ability and standpoint, we must employ stimuli that trigger off a
manifest behavior with axiological relevance, such as answering questions,
collective statesof mind, moods, and stimulus situations.
We will find two types of information in the phenotypic manifest
behavior and, hence, two different procedures to acquire them. The first

procedureis to run a teston the subjectto establishtwo groups,successand

failure,accordingto the natureof the itemsandthe numberof itemsrequiring
lesserabilities than those with which the subject is endowed,and then to draw
genotypicalconclusions.The secondprocedureis to let the subjectpick up the
item closest to his or her hierarchy ideals and discard all the other items,
whether they lie above or below the chosenone. In this way, we establishtwo
more groups, the acceptedand the unaccepteditems, and we draw another
kind of genotypicalconclusion.
The measurement of value will pursue two complementary goals,
corresponding to the two types of information that are to be reached by
suitable methods and procedures.During the process,we will understandby
"appraisal," the theoretical act of ranking an already-existingvalue, and by
"valuation," the pragmatic act of assigning value to an object that lacked it
previously since the object can satisfy human needs,desires,aspirations.
Now, distinguishing between relative behavior, the collected data of
which are based on the relationshipsbetween two or more stimuli, say, the
subject's preference for either of two politicians or two friends, and
independent behavior, where the subject's judgments refer to only one
stimulus, with the subject simply stating a like or a dislike for a politician or
friend, we can also displdy them in a four-squaretable. The table provides a
unitary schemeof all the methods of data-collectingand analysisinvolved in
value measurement.
Borrowed from Coombs.the table reads:

Independent Relative
behavior behavior

Task A I

TaskB ilI ry

From an axiological point of view, to introduce data into one of the four
squaresmeans to adopt one or anothermethod of data-collection,elucidating
the type of information to be extractedfrom the data in question,and to use a
precise method of analysis: a set of proceduresfor the data that fit into each
square.By meansof measurement,this should help the investigatorpass from
phenotypic information to genotypical conclusionsand from a gnoseological
ValuesversusM easurement 41

diagnosis to an etiological one. I should note that in squareII, subgroup IIA

includes monotonous stimuli and the subject fails a test, as with arithmetic
tests, while subgroup B includes non-monotonous stimuli and the subject
agrees or disagreesto a statement of opinion, while choosing those items
which are closestto an ideal.
My intention here is not to go deeper into technical details, since
specialized writing provide an impressive number of such details. The
considerationsabove allow me to draw a few conclusions which I regard as
crucial for the future of axiology.
The measurement of value is not a pseudo-problem. The problem
remains genuine,despitethe pseudo-solutionsso often provided to it.
First, we should know exactly what we intend to measure.It is not a
matter of listing or numbering persons who have come to voice preferential
opinions; it is a matter of strictly measuringthe ability to value or the attitude
as to value, of assessingthe statusa value holds within a community, and of
ranking a value within individual behavior. Given our presentknowledge, to
judge measurement as more than an accessory meant to facilitate the
understandingof values would sound utopian. This accessoryneverthelessis
valuable. Provided we do not make measurementabsolute,we will find out
that we cannot do without it. We have striven toward getting axiology ready
to undergo such schemes of analysis, to assimilate the measurement
procedureswithin its specific language,and to shapethem within its specific
thought, instead of merely witnessing the strict application of those schemes.
Our endeavorhas resultedin what I dare call re-valuation of value. This is the
way for rigorous scientific procedures to enter the realm of axiology, by
tradition speculative. The much-discussedineffable character of value is
consequently an axiological echo of the impossibility of fully formalizing
scientific research. Dealing with axiological issues in terms of scientific
methods and proceduresmeans to self-inflict restraints and constraints,but
only to make axiology more fruitful and knowledgeable.Far from diminishing
curiosity and astonishment with the unknown, this approach enhances
bewilderment and shifts it from the realm of emotions to that of rational
Second, we should know how to proceed to measurements.The flaw
with most measuring methods and proceduresconsists not so much of their
technical drawback as of their claim to be all-encompassing.Most methods
need refreshing. They need a fresh network of relationships to assign new
consistency to each method and to the methodological ensemble as a well-
structured whole of methods, procedures, and techniques. Since the
measurementof values is a componentof operationalresearch,we should put
aside individual, isolated devices in favor of a flexible, interdisciplinary,

The use of scientific data as a foundation of cognitive procedures

pertaining to axiology is a process in itself. Science is not a saturated,
completed abstractsystem,but a huge building-site where an edifice is being
erected, ceaselesslyprogressing, forever perfectible. No general theory o?
values can be founded by juxtaposing demonstrationsand points of view
taken from several sciences.Scientific explanationsneed to go beyond the
boundaries of science into the invigorating realm of philosophy. Scientific
data and arguments need interconnecting by means of a cumulative, yet
unitary, languageand a sufficiently comprehensivetheoretical model, which
should first translate the scientific approachesand then articulate them into a
unifying synthesis. Any such translation could be only partial, since an
exhaustivetranslation is unattainablefor a given state of knowledge and as a
matter of principle.
The strategy of investigating values in an intuitive, skilled way is
obsolete. Not all quiz-makers and option-processors help axiology to
progress.Axiological researchis incompatible with the intellectual candor of
a Labiche character, who thought that science meant counting the widows
who used to cross Pont-Neuf in Paris. Axiology cannot be reduced to
measurement.Yet, axiology is not possible if measurementand computation
are discarded. The ontological substantiationof value, as a feature of the
human existential modality, provides the premisesfor the use of conceptsthat
are technical enoughto detecttheoreticalerrors and to solve the practical. The
philosophical status of axiology will not be diminished if axiology adopts
scientific methods.Far from being affecied as a theoretical disciptine, it will
acquire the practical benefits of applied disciplines and will better contribute
to assessing,guiding, and foreseeingsocial contemporaryaction. Probing into
the sphereof action will enable us to adjust to the increasingrate of historical
evolution and to the continual, often amazing, growth of the number of
situationsin which a decision needsto be made.

3. The Value Judgment

Value judgment is a philosophical problem. As Arnold Berleant remarked,eit

is one of the most recurrentproblems in modern value theory. Before dealing
with it in a library or during a lecture, we come acrossit during our solitary
daydreaming,in our encounterswith people, in the street,in the forum. People
love or hate, they experiencedelight or agony, they go in for struggle or yietd
to resignation, they live and die while searchinga rationale for their value-
baseddissociationand hierarchization.We might even say that their pursuit of
valuejudgments is never-ending.
within the polyphony of human judgments, the value judgment
representsthat kind of judgment that lends objectivity and universality to acts
otherwisepurely individual and subjectiveand that are latently engenderedby
The Val.ueJudgment 43

spontaneousaffective and desiderative psychological reactions. The value

judgment is the logical axis of axiological preferences.Wondering whether
the value judgment is true or false is tantamount to wondering whether this
judgment has cognitive value. Dealing with such a problem belongs ro
axiocentric human ontology, and its purposeis to interpret the meaning of the
value judgment by considering the path from the logical to the axiological
At a first glance, debatesabout the rational basis of value judgments,
their origins and relevancealso, should take place in the fietd of logic. This
approachmay be acceptedor refuted. The answeris yes in relation to the form
of the logical meansof thinking; it is no in relation to the basic manifestation
of the human spirit. With the first alternative, we have strict logic-
mathematical formalization. with the second, we deal with the human
motives of valuation, namely, with its ontological meaning. Here are
passionatephilosophical inquiries about the kind of ontology. To Plato, it was
an ideal rational order, transcendentto human beings. Kant conceived the
foundation to be a priori structures in the depths of the human spirit. To
Husserl, the ontological foundation meant the intentional structures of pure
consciousness,with experienceas a starting point for an autonomous game
through which the value judgment offers a conceptual formulation and
justifies, within an irreducible Geftilslogik, the values presentin experiencing
Though it may seema paradox,any judgment implies a value as it refers
to a choice: we are bound to choosebetweendifferent possibleassertions.The
mere fact that about any judgment, S is P, we may make the meta-judgment,S
is P is false/true,shows that any judgment incorporatesvalue. since it implies
discrimination and choosing between various possible statements and a
statement relative to a standard. Even if we know that a judgment that
subordinates the particular to the general does not create value, but
discriminates value according to a precise criterion, we cannot deny that the
act by which the judgment makes its statementis a valuation act. The reverse
cannot be refuted either: valuesimply judgments.
I am not speakingabout an "inborn common senseof value" (Ren6 Le
Senne), but about a critical spirit capable of a value judgment, rationally
grounded. It is true that we cannot reason in the absence of a valuation
judgment, and, as Stephen E. Toulmin pointed out, that thought cannot get
hold of value without reason. Yet the nature of the correlation reason/value
becomes dramatically important when we reach the axiological stage in a
processthat involves a hierarchy ofpreferences.
The presenceof a preferenceis a necessary,but insufficient, condition
that shows we are on the right track in our inquiry into the value judgment.
From preference to judgment, we pass from sentiment to reflection, from
individual subjective projects to objective foundations,from the spontaneous

to the conscientiousact, to critical analysis. The value judgment stands for

that type of judgment which gives an objective and a universal form to an act
of a subjective and individual character, gradually obtained as a result of
psychological, emotional, and preferential spontaneous reactions. Value
judgment is the logical axis of axiological preferences.
A value judgment is not a simple statement about a preference.
Judgmentssuch as,I like Mozart's music,I don't like Twin Peaks,I preferfair
women to dark women, are not valuejudgments. They statea preference,as a
mere fact, or they are sentenceswith an emotional content alone. On the other
hand, the value judgment is a judgment in which value is the predicate of the
judgment, A is good, or, X is better than Y, that joins the act of evaluation and
valuation, that is, the act of stating a value and the axiological act of assigning
value to an object. Generally speaking,the value judgment is a judgment the
subject of which is always the valuatedobject, that always comparesvalues.
If we accept an it-is-good interpretation,we can rcahze that the it-is-
good statementrests upon the unstatedcomparisonbetweenwhat is good and
what is not good. Moreover, we are unlikely not to even consider questions
whether there are other equally good objects or behavioral alternatives.A is
good, used in the senseof a value judgment, is always an elliptical expression
for any number of more complex predicates,such as good-in-such-and-such-a
respect,good for one of its kind. The axis of this processis the comparisonof
This is not a comparison between two objects. Let us discuss the next
example. Those who consider the judgment, A is better than B, a simple
comparison betweenA and B, are inclined to think so. But this is a complex
value judgment that implies from the very beginning that the two entities are
good. Namely, they start from the simple value judgment, A is good, and, B is
good, and move on to comparison,concluding that, A is better than B, or B ls
less good than A. But, if in the simple value judgment of the A is good type,
the valuation is the corollary of placing the fact against an ideal, of a
comparison between object A and the tendency of the subject, the complex
value judgment A is better than B presupposes,in its turn, either the judgment
B is good, making a comparison between B and the ideal, followed by the
judgment A is better than B, comparing A to B, or the judgment A is good,
comparingA to an ideal, followed by the judgment B is not as good as A.ln
these examples, the value judgment implies a comparison resulting from
relating both objects,A and B, to a common tendency,or wish.
As they are always comparative,value judgments are also valuations of
objects, setting up a vertical hierarchical order in relation to a determined
criterion that guides the assertion or rejection of the value hierarchy.
Sentencessuch as, This picture is more beautiful, or This behavior is worthier,
imply the idea that they ought to be prefened to others. This ought to is a
primitive term in relation to value, and it cannot be translatedas a fact, but it
The Value Judgment 45

may be tested in action, as it tends to become a practical axiological

experience.It may either refer to achievedvalues or to ideal values, as in the
case of moral, aesthetic,and religious ideals. Perhaps Socrateshad grasped
just this aspect when he said that there was no difference between knowing
the good and doing good. Thus, the value judgment is not rendered by the
subject's passing emotional mood. It has an informational content, closely
linked with the emotional state of mind, as it expressesa socially determined
attitude on the part of the subject. This attitude may be tested within the
axiological experience.The valuejudgment informs us about the nature of the
axiological relation between the subject and the object. Our approval or
disapproval is no longer a formal characteristicsof the value judgment, as
negationand assertionare in the judgment of inference.The conceptsof good
and bad, beautiful and ugly, right and wrong, do not come into play in such
judgments, X is good. X is uglier. Z is best, or in negativejudgments, a role
different from is/is not or copula. They substitute for the copula, and such
conceptsbelong to the attributesof judgment, that is, to its material.
The value implied in the predicateof the value judgment is not an entity
to be displayed. It is a meaning to be recognized.This leads the way to a sui
generis intensional and extensional analysis, one based on the non-
reductionist understanding of the relations between descriptive and value
Some authors think that the value judgment, P(a), is true when (a)
belongs to the denotatum of the valuation predicate,P, and becauseof this,
the difference refers to the manner of establishing the extension of the
predicate, P. And they feel it has an exclusively pragmatic character. I
disagree.I will demonstratethat, when dealing with a value judgment, we will
not find the object included within the sphereof the valuation predicate.
We can speakof an

Thus, the value judgment cannot t:tHf; strictly extensionally,by rejecting

its relational character. It is a well-known fact that when saying P(a), we
relate object (a) to value P, and therefore assign value P to (a) Despite this,
we cannot but accept that, though in the judgment, A is good, the predicate
good does not refer to a natural quality of things that could be empirically
found out, but the non-naturalquality expressedby the predicateof the value
judgment may be testedin a specialway. Our experienceas a whole, either in
the practical or the phenomenologicaldimension,keeps us from assertingthat
the position of the democratcannot be anymorerationally explained than that

of the fascist,that human solidarity is not any more rationally explainablethan

Let me explain the idea above by using a semanticanalysisof the value
judgment on the intensional plane. The traditional method of the extensional
approach,a < P, becomesirrelevant for the judgment of a relation, as it is in
the case of the value judgment. Through human action, as a third member, a
relation is establishedbetweentwo different entities, the object and the value.
As the value judgment concludes that the object a has a value p for
individuals, as members of a community, of a given culture of an historical
period, and finally, as human beings, a semantic analysisreveals that in this
case, as in the case of descriptivejudgments, we project it against a field of
facts as well. But in this case, it does not representan empirical datum. It
standsfor a given socio-cultural,historically determinedprinciple, because,as
JamesColeman said, there is no absoluteobservationpoint, outside any social
systems from which a value judgment can be made.r2So, the differences
betweendescriptiveand evaluativejudgments are here to stay.
Therefore, I am not saying that value judgments may be reduced to
descriptivejudgments, nor am I saying that they can be inferred from them.
By accepting the irreducibility of value judgments, I consider, nonetheless,
that those who draw from these premises the conclusion, value judgments
have no factual content, have committed the sophism of justifying to
conclusions. My conclusion is that value judgments involve descriptive
conditions; they both involve them and transcendthem.
From my point of view, which is that the value judgment is irreducible
to the descriptivejudgment, value judgments, although factually unverifiable,
can be compared to already accepted value judgments, and in this way
coherent systems of value judgments can be established.Even if we do not
appeal to facts, value judgments are not mere emotional outbursts,since they
can be assigned not only attitudinal meaning but also logical value which
determinestheir congruity or incongruity with other value judgments, already
acceptedin a given cultural pattern.
A descriptive utterance and the sentenceexpressingit differ in syntax
and logical form from the axiological value-formulating utterance. The
difference is visible in the predicatestructure.
As demonstratedby David Hume, no sentenceof the type, this ought to
be the case, can be deducedfrom a sentenceof the type, this is the case.The
reasonwhy is that the value residesin the predicate.
Moreover, it cannot be deduced because,in the last analysis, the
distinction between factual and value judgments is not a simple logical
distinction.The first has a prevailing epistemologicalstatus;the second,by
including value in the predicate,that is, a human existentialdetermination,has
an ontological status. Thus, we have the dianoetic pivot of consciousness,
marked, on one hand, by an appeal to investigative experience,and, on the
The Value Judgment 47

other hand, the axiological sensitiveness, appealing to a committed

experience. The value judgment offers a foundation for human action in
which interestappearsexclusively as finality, and not as efficiency.
If we analyze the active relation of the axiological subject to the
objective situation and we take heed of the indispensablerational quotient, we
cannot deny that axiological sensitivity plays a major part. Assigning value is
an act performed by the subject not as an all-knowing spirit, but as a complex
human being endowed with axiological sensibility.What I have in mind is not
a Cartesian cogito but an axiological cogito. All primary tendencies that
undergo co-ordination and hierarchization make up, through their inner
connections,the foundation of axiological sensitiveness,which can engender
proto-valuation.Thesetendenciesare intentional and becomemeaningful only
to the envisaged outer object they vaguely, still poignantly, yearn for, thus
arousing pleasure or pain, satisfaction or dismay. Axiological research has
revealedthe position of past experienceas the starting point of tendenciesand
that of the obstaclesthese tendenciescome across while attempting to get
satisfied. Several contextual factors make tendencies contribute to the
complex processduring which finality turns from a blind craving into a target
consciously accepted,the strain of the pursued effort turns into volition, and
the tendency to satisfy that volition associatedwith the craved-for objects,
turns into desire. The subject assignsvalue to the intentional object of desire
that is first experienced as attraction. The alternative, or rhythmical,
successiveachievement of values is closely related to the structure of the
psychological human universe,to the proteic, molding axiological sensitivity.
Value is consequentlyinvolved in the act of assimilating primary experience
into structures pertaining to the tendencies delineated by axiological
sensitiveness.The next step is the separationof value from the assimilating
act and the focus of axiological sensitivenesson the goal it strives to attain. In
this way, attraction becomes detached from the structures in the subject's
conscienceand becomes a value in itself. It is assignedto the object as a
quality pertaining to that object and making that object desirable, as if the
object itself has had a ne varielzr status.
The agreementbetween needs, necessities,and aspirations,on the one
hand, and objects, creative works, and behavior, on the other hand, is
perceived as a feeling of value, which stays blurred and puzzLing,unless
undergirded, substantiated,supported, enriched, and justified by a value
Value judgments cannot be discussedwithout admitting that they are
based on experience and develop within human experience, that they get
shape by applying judgment to the values present in our experience.
Experience is not to be taken in its limited meaning, as a precise responseto
observablestimuli. Values make up anotherrealm of reality, with a different
statusfrom that of the sensoriallyperceptiblethings. Things are designatedby

perceptions;values are designatedby feelings. As any perceptive experience

comprises,or exhibits, aspectsof things, so feeling designatesa value asserted
or assessedwithin axiological experience.There is no value that fails to stir
our affectivity, that fails to stimulate attraction and desire. A value fails to be
known unless it is experiencedfrom within, as much as a thing fails to be
known unless it is first glimpsed from the outside. The act of judging, in
which rational abilities play the prevalent part, analyzes, substantiates,and
justifies the implicit presenceof value in axiological experience,in the area of
feelings, desires,and volition. Since it involves our conscienceas a whole, not
just its dianoetic axis, the axiological experienceincludes the entire range of
human activities, governed by the physical, social, historical, and cultural
conditions in which the individual lives.
Axiological experienceimplies not only activity, but also an object of
activity. Guided by cultural needsexpressingwhat opposesthe social to the
biologic, activity is selective,intentional, conclusive, hierarchical,projective,
and prospective.Its object is value, identified through intentional conscience.
The value of judgment offers a conceptual formulation; it classifies and
anchors present values in axiological experience. Axiological experience,
consideredas an experiencepervaded by temporality, respondsto reality by
acts specific of axiologichl sensitiveness.Such an experienceis determined
simultaneouslyby the psychologicaland cultural conditioning of the valuating
subject and by the object. It is an estimating description, including
information. So it also includes some knowledge about the object, even if
transfigured by emotional accretion or need inflections. Sometimes, the
transfiguring could be distorted at the level of one individual experience.For
instance,some faults could be attributed to an unpleasantperson,even if that
person does not have them. By examining though the crucial facts of the
axiological experience, we discover the connection between the social and
historical processin which valueshave been createdand their incorporation in
the sphere of individual motivations. This does not imply that value
judgments lack a factual content, but that this content is limited and
transfigured. Its presence could still be verified by confronting value
judgments with the values actually present in the living axiological
By further introducing the conceptof situation into our analysis,we may
reap the fruits of the analysis made by Hartmann on the importance of
situation in the human ethos.We start from the finding that tension is present
in axiological experienceas an expressionof the contradiction between the
pursuit of value and the circumstancesmaking possible its attainment.Human
action has no value in itself, but only in relation to another.Value exists only
in a situation. As a function of the situation,justice may becomecruelty, love,
or weakness.In all such confusing cases,we do not usually deny value but
catch its inactuality in the given situation. In other words, axiological
The Value Judgment 49

sensibility has the intuition of a discrepancy between value and the given
situation, declining to actualizeother values except for those that could really
function as adequate values in a given situation. The situation seen as a
context of circumstances, objective and subjective, becomes one of the
constitutive moments of our axiological experience. Situations have both
generaldeterminantsand somethingindividual that only exists once. A person
who, having been in a situation, has failed to perceive its virtual richness of
ethical attainment,has lost the possibility to actualize a value and will regret
the irreparable. Our axiological experience is woven from a multitude of
situationsin which major axiological conflicts are engraved.In any situation,
a human being has the occasionto discover valuesthat he or she can attain or
through which she or he can self-realize.Each situation is an occasionto test
human forces or weaknesses;it is a stimulation or tension, an occasion for
ethical self-realizationor abdication.The signs of a value judgment reside in
understandingthe concretesituation. In a historically constitutedcommunity,
an individual is determinedto consider as moral a certain behavior, and not
another one. The axiological experienceof humankind is not oriented by the
timeless transcendentalprinciples of good or beauty, but by criteria able to
always solve concrete problems posed by concrete events in concrete
situations. Values exist and have a meaning in a given situation alone, in a
given social context. In point, perennial values are explained by the
generality,recurrence,and stability of some situationaldata. Quite frequently,
the situation offering support to a value judgment may change.Its horizontal
axis is the pluralism of social positions and roles, of the types of human
communication,and of cultural patterns.Its vertical axis is temporality. There
are contexts when we judge a certain behavior as intrinsically good or a
picture is intrinsically beautiful, but this is just a way of distinguishing a
categoryof goals from other categoriesthat we want to rule out.
The value judgment conceives and organizes values that appear in
axiological experienceas a responseto typical situations.The processis based
on social criteria of desirability and has its consequencesin the world in
which humankind circumscribesits existence.The aspiration of the value of
judgment toward universality, by passing on from existence to need, and
toward objectivity, by relating to extra-individual criteria, is based on the
dialectics of the social and individual. The disagreementbetween someone
saying,X is yellow, and someoneelse saying,X is not yellow, is solved by
confronting the descriptivejudgment with facts. The axiological disagreement
between someonesaying, X is good, and someoneelse saying, X is not good,
is solvable by confronting the value judgment with its consequenceon the
axiological experiencein a given situation.
The predicate of the value judgment no longer appearsas a manifest
entity, but as arecognizablemeaning,since it relies on the consequenceof the
value judgment being involved in actions that are participative and verifiable

at the same time, and not on psychological motivation. Value judgments are
not equivalent. They can rank hierarchically because they are involved in
in theenvironment-changing
Taking into accountthe above considerations,I feel reticent toward Max
Weber's desideratumof axiological neutrality of the cognitive approach.13I
admit that the cognitive approachincreasesin objectivity while unloading its
distorting axiological connotations,its deceiving ideological prejudices, and
its narcissistic survey of the subject's emotional responsesprojected on the
investigated object. I agree with Weber in his request that axiological
presuppositionsnot be convertedinto explanatoryhypotheses.I agreewith the
requirement for the researcherto formulate verifiable statements,to acquaint
others with the valuationsdemandedby investigation,atrd to reach an optimal
degree of objectivity. I cannot believe that excluding the value judgment
might provide an outer condition for scientific objectivity, as causal
explanations provide the inner condition for objectivity. Counting out the
value judgment from the cognitive investigationcarried out by social sciences
is neither possible nor necessaryin order to enhancethe degreeof objectivity
in research. It is not possible, since, on the one hand, by establishing an
axiological ratio, Wertbeziehung,as Rickert calls it, the researcherinvolves a
value judgment in the selectivecriteria that allow the delineation of a specific
field of social research.On the other hand, the truth-value sentencesare not
value-free, Wertfreiheit. Neither is the exclusion necessary, since value
judgments do not boost objectivity in research,becausethey have an objective
content and objective consequencesentdiled by action, and they do not turn
causal reasoning into conditional reasoning. The much-discussedevaluative
must rn the value judgment is generatedby concretehistorical circumstances,
and if we consider the referential system, the context, we can establish the
objective source of the informational content of the judgment. This
information can be proven by the value judgments being compatible with
scientific truths and can be verified by their practical consequences.Overrated
causality as a way to neutralizethe subjectivity of value judgments is useless,
since making a valuejudgment implies a causalrelationshipto a standard.
In phenomenologicalterms, axiological sensibility is intentional, aiming
at objects that correspondto its interests.But, if our own structurescan be
intentionally directed toward objects, this means that, in reality, something
allows for or favors the assignmentof values. Without being based on the
objective data of the real, values could no longer play the key role of
optimizing human action.
I have thus adopted a view that is the antithesis of the empiricist-
positivist position: valuejudgments are not cognitive.
A new beginning was promised to axiology by the type of conceptual
analysispracticed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations
and by ordinary-languagephilosophy, as practiced by Ryle, John Austin, and
The Value Judgment 51

Strawson. Reductive analysis was abandoned. Wittgenstein asked in his

lectureshow value judgments could really be meaningless,when they played
such an important role in everydaylife and had such a tremendousrole to play
in ordinary language.la Value judgments zre not inferior to descriptive
judgments, but are of a different nature.The task of researchis to find out the
differencesbetweenaxiological and assertorialsentences.
Thus, we can surpassthe alternative intuitivism/emotivism. If George
Edward Moore's intuitivism considered value judgments as having the
cognitive content characteristicof descriptivejudgments, the only difference
being that the predicateof the judgment representsa non-naturalquality, and
if Charles L. Stevenson's emotivism felt them to be completely void of
cognitive content, both explanations are the same: they share the same
prejudice that value sentences might be assimilated to the category of
assertorialsentences,or that they could not.
The person who is delighted with a work of art is an axiological subject,
not a gnoseological subject. The emotional states, the echo of which, for
emotivism, is proof of their non-cognitive character, belong to human
experience.The sentencesabout this experiencehave thus an informational
content. They can be confronted with a sui generis experience.They can be
controlled, provided we distinguish between values as modalities
characteristic of relational human experience and value judgments as
statementsabout these modalities. The value judgment offers a conceptual
formulation, classifies, and justifies the values present in axiological
Their verification, also extremely complex, appears theoretically
feasible.For instance,the statementthat it is right to sterilize the incurable is
false in Kantian ethics, the way that the statementthat it is better to take
revenge than to forgive is false in Christian ethics. A value judgment is
falsified either when we reject the whole value-systemwithin which the given
judgment is interpreted, or when it is impossible to find within the given
value-systema principle to justify the judgment, sometimes even when the
facts presupposedin the value judgment are wrong. Thus, value judgments
meet the postulate of controvertibility, that is, for any given value judgment
we can indicate conditions under which it may be proved false. Interpretedon
the basis of the given value-language,a judgment contains the cognitive
information that the person, object, or act mentioned meets or does not meet
valuation criteria. The criteria have to be demonstratedin a specific language-
game, otherwise the statementwould be incomprehensible.The information
about meeting or not meeting rationally acceptablecriteria of valuation can
facilitate the recognition of the evaluatedobject. Likewise, the circumstances
in which anyone who understandsthe given value-languagecan, on the basis
of an implicit description of specific facts, formulate his or her appropriate

valuation, indicates the presenceof cognitive content connectedwith

emotionalcontentin valuejudgments.
In this way, the value judgment no longer appears as a whimsical
projection of some feelings or desires, but it involves a special kind of
rationality and a knowledge of its object. Its object is nothing other than value
that confers supreme dignity on the human being and continuously devises
fruitful issuesfor a philosophy that aspiresto meet Seneca'sancient endeavor
of being a recte vivendi ration.

A Connection:Value and Culture


Valuein CultureandCultureasValue
1. Value, Creativity, Culture

Two centuries have passed since, in a book that was a trailbreaker for the
modern concept of culture, Johann Gottfried Herder complained about
nothing being vaguer than the term, "culture." He insistedon the idea that the
term, "culture," might involve a philosophical predicament to the extent to
which it comprisesthe whole range of customs,morals and manners,ways of
thinking and acting, characteristicof a given society, and to which it manages
to enable that society to bring its significant contribution to the notion of
Far from losing ground, interrogatory issues related to culture have
acquired new dimensionsin modern times. The query is about what we have
done to ourselves, about our responsibility. It is concerned with what we
should be, and with what we could do for our life to have a meaning and for
humanity to have a future. These are questionsthat human sciences,such as
sociology, ethnology, or psychology may try to answer by providing the clues
of a possible solution, but the questionsare commonly ascribedto philosophy,
given their scope,comprehensiveness, and perspective.r
The starting point of the discussion is that the old prerogatives of the
philosophy of culture have become questionable under the impact of the
successesof cultural sciences.Cultural anthropology and culture theory have
a set of rigorous concepts, such as element, complex) area,type of culture,
acculturation,cultural pattern,function of culture, and others,that overshadow
reiterated philosophical distinctions between culture and civilization,
immersed in a disconcerting semantic indetermination. However, a concept
pertaining to the philosophy of culture resistsany attempt made by sciencesat
capturing it in operational definitions, at reducing it to laws, structures, or
logic-mathematical symbolism. This is the axiological concept of value.
Starting from this concept, philosophy can render, in an integrated
perspective,what is specific to culture. This is what I will try to prove in the
following pages.
A philosophy of culture that tries to ignore the gains of sciencesabout
culture would be inconceivabletoday. Philosophy offers a propaedeuticand
completes the scientific approach; it is not a substitute for this approach.
When it rises to that conceptus cosmicus Immanuel Kant talks about,
philosophy can remain behind or beyond the scientific data, creating

The circles are dialectically ananged and lead to meanings through a

relevant, significant integration of knowledge with the existential, spiritual,
and axiological order.2
A different referential framework and a different notional content to
direct the search for answers to the two complementary procedures are
implied in the very question,What is culture?
Often this question appears a scientific problem, and the suggested
answer may be expressedaccordingto Edward Tyler's definition of 1871.3
We are told that by culture we could designatewhat human intelligence and
feeling have accomplished through the ages: values, symbols, myths,
language, religion, arts, sciences,technology, laws, philosophy, social and
political structures.
If we were to stop here, we would run the risk of dealing with culture as
though it were a juxtaposition of unrelated factors that cannot be made to
agree with one another, by our ignoring the conditions in which they are
possible or the way they are involved in, united, on an axiological horizon.
However, as Ernst Cassirer noticed, a philosophy of value begins by
presuming that the cultural universe is not a mere accretion of components
and by stating the conviction that the multiple and seemingly incongruous
rays can be concentrateddnd brought to a common focus.a
In this perspective,only by taking into accountthe values in culture, that
is, culture as a realm of values, can all types of non-philosophicaldefinitions
of culture be critically examined, integrated, and dialectically excelled. The
types are systematized by Alfred L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn as
descriptive,historical, normative,psychological,structural,and genetic.s
At close-rangeanalysis, the six types of non-philosophical definitions
used in social sciencesare operationalin an accurateepistemologicalcontext,
and the determinantsof the cultural phenomenonare correctly grasped.But
when the definitions try to substitute for the philosophical approach, they
make the mistake of becoming unilateral and oscillate between extremes.
They either expand the cultural spheremore than may be admitted, as in the
case of historical definitions that, comprising everything that is a product of
social, non-biological heredity, come to identify the cultural with the social, or
they artificially confine the cultural spher to its symbolical, prescriptive
expressions,as in the case of norm-setting definitions. They either shift the
accent to the subjective moment of culture, by psychological definitions, or
they pave the way toward understanding the objective moment within
structuraldefinitions. Or the social sciencesappealto enumerative,descriptive
definitions, frequent in ethnology, and include in culture all that is not
containedin other speciesand might describea specifically human condition:
language,myths, arts, science,moral codes.Even when values are included in
an enumeration, their role is only that of components, sometimes even of
primus inter pares, and not that of ontological foundation, of cultural unity
Value, CreativiD,,Culture 57

and intercommunicationof a diversity of cultures. Or else the social sicences

come to use genetic definitions, viewing the culture spheremostly as an ideal
of socio-humanperfectibility.
To pass beyond these alternatives,a tertium datur may be offered only
by going from a non-philosophical to a philosophical definition of culture,
within the framework of an ontology of the human that appeals to the
methodologicalvirtues of the conceptof value.
If the diversity of cultures is a source of polyphonic harmony and not a
potential source of conflict, if the historical development of cultures
engenderscommon cultural assetsfor humanity and a common responsibility
for their preservation or continuation, this proves that any cultural creation
contains something ineducible: value, as a specifically human way of
responding to the world through projections, attitudes, preferences,ideals.
Value is, in the human realm, part of the order of existence itself, being
involved in all tension-adaptation-transformationissues pertaining to the
harmony, always to be created and re-created,between ethos and situation,
between the real human being and the real world in which the human being
acts and therefore exists, through the organizationof culture, as a constitutive
and irreversibly constituted dimension of the human-way-of-being.
Ultimately, cultural creation appears as the work process by which we
introduce an object into the realm of values,thereby giving a new fulcrum to a
human need and aspiration. And the products that are thus created are
considered cultural assetsonly if they acquire the power to satisfy human
needs:theoretical, moral, aesthetic,etc. A shapelesspiece of marble has the
same natural properties as the one from which Michelangelo eliminated what
was superfluousin order to make it respondto the human need for beauty. It
is not a cultural asset unless axiologically structured, unless it obtains a
human significance felt through past experience, through the hierarchical
range of attractions, preferences,wants, purposeful valuation acts, and is
expressedin rationalizing form by the conceptof value.
Approached in the axiological perspective,culture as realm of values
can rediscover a dialectical, integrative meaning, growing aware of the
condition of its possibilities, of its distinctive ontological status, and of its
humanistic vocation. At the same time, the viable elements included in the
non-philosophical types of definitions are also present, yet the pseudo-
alternativesmentionedabove are avoided.
Culture is no longer limited to the symbolical, spiritual area,as was the
case with norm-setting definitions, nor is it expanded so as to identify the
cultural and the social, the way historical definitions proceed, because it
envisagesthe axiosphere,that which pertainsto the realm of values. Value is
begotten only by those products of human action that have the faculty of
satisfying human needs and of awakening purposeful preferential acts. This
way, values acquire a cumulative character, expressed in non-hereditary

behavior,learnedand transmittedthroughthe relay of generations,

intact or
invigorated,amplified,yet occasionally
culture is no longer reduced to the subjective moment, as in
psychological definitions, because,as Louis Lavelle remarks, in axiology,
explaining values through a subject's pleasureor need is a superstition.6We
can feel or think of value only as long as it establishesa sui generis social
rapport between something worth being appreciatedand someonecapable of
appreciatingit, of creating a hierarchy of objects, works, behaviors, etc., by
judging how important they are for the human being, for the being I would
call homo aestimans. As such, culture implies a relationship between the
subjective and the objective moment, anticipatedas an ideal in the pursuit of
values and materialized in assets,in obtained values. This relationship is
structured and evolves into the sphere of action, of valuation criteria, made
possibleby socio-historicalexperience.
The last remark allows us go beyond the alternativeinto which the other
two types of non-philosophicaldefinitions, enumerativeand genetic, fall. The
alternative may be expressedas follows: Does culture store the results of
human action, or does it mould the human condition, maintaining the
awarenessof a life that, since it cannot last indefinitely, should not be lived in
any way? Yet, a human being createsthe realm of values,the axiosphere,and
also a second nature, an artificial one, culture, through which new needs and
new conditions for action are pursued.The pursuit takes place not at the level
of the quasi-automatic,biologically-motivatedbehavior, but at the level of the
value-orientedbehavior, recognizing truih, goodness,beauty, etc. Devised in
analogy to cultura agrorum, the phrasecultura animi indicates,from Cicero's
time to the contemporaryphilosophical literature, what human beings plant in
the ground of natural abilities, in other words, the way human beings benefit
from education,learning, using intellectual and moral powers to reach beyond
the natural state, assimilating the values belonging to their time and creating
new ones.That is why, to humankind, values are not somethingadditional, an
accessory, a luxury. They are determinants defining the human being's
specific way of existing as a being that creates and self-creates through
culture, transcendingthe natural stateby the human condition. Culture, as the
realm of values, as axiosphere,is not a by-product in relation to an aspiration
projected somewhere,in the natural abyss.
Thus, in the axiological perspective, culture appears as incompatible
with any form of reductionism. Value is the ontological foundation of
constitutive culture; it is the ineducible factor of human creativity. By way of
its axiological propensity,culture is not only a continuation and amplification
of nature by mankind. Beyond a certain limit, culture is a sourcepursuing its
own purposes,the biological causeof which cannot be found. Understood in
the perspective of the axiocentric ontology of the human, culture is an
Value, Creativity, Culture 59

autonomousrealm of values with its opening toward the dilemmas of human

In spite of the variety of problems, we can easily understand,for every
contemporary trend, that the human condition differentiates itself in the
infinity of the world and within the unity of everything that is alive, as a-
determined-way-of-being-and-becoming. Human existence appears as
irreducible to other modes of existence,allowing for the configuration of a
new human ontology, where the existence, for us, therefore the human,
replacesexistencein itself, and the processof the becoming of being replaces
existenceas a given fact. Thus, when scienceitself defines its objectivity by
referenceto the human point of view and adopts the anthropic principle, the
traditional discourse has to be substituted for by an ontological discourse,
liable to stressthe edification of the human as a self-realizationof the human,
and to surpassthe alternativetranscendent,or transcendental,by highlighting
the immanent dimension of the human way of relating to others and to the
world, due to the valuation endowmentof a homo aestimans.
By way of the axiological approach, contemporary culture can
rediscover the global, all-human problems of the contemporary world.
"Global problems," Robert Ginsberg said, "invite global perspectives...
Philosophy will have greater human value when it crossesworld cultures as
we fully become global thinkers."T According to metaphilosophy, starting
from such an understandingof the connectionbetween value and culture, it is
difficult to deny that the global problems of our epoch, like life, freedom,
democracy, welfare, justice, peace, have granted first-rank significance to
universalism in order to defend and promote the all-human values, altered in
technocraticsocietiesand re-discoveredin 1989 even in those countries which
ignored them, forced by their totalitarian'regimes. Across the beneficial
differences and pluralism of values, the universalistic way of thinking is
always trying to find a unified conceptionof contemporaryculture on a global
scale. Its motto could be, "Nothing that pertains to the universal realm of
value is alien to any culture."
In other words, universalism is a new metaphilosophical way of
approaching culture. Across the beneficial pluralism of values, the
universalistic way of thinking is always trying to find a unified concept of
value as an all-human modality of human self-educationand a pre-condition
of world culture.
Let us remember Goethe's heritage, becausehe has brought along a
promising shift of vision concerningthe bond of universality in art, relevant to
our discussion about Polishness, Europeanism, and Universalism. Like
Montesquieu, Goethe recognizedthe constraintson the mind that arose from
its being rooted in a particular community. But unlike Montesquieu, who
wondered, How is it possible to be a Persian?,Goethe showed that a Persian
could have wonderedin the sameway, How is it possible to be a German or a

European?To Goethe,Germany,Europeanism,or Asianism were the issue of

a specific cultural tradition, a fact to which, henceforth,no one could be blind.
There are realities that should be recognizedbut not worshipped.In Goethe's
terms, our Polishness,Romanianness,or Frenchnessare our different ways of
seeing,judging, and estimating things rooted in our common Europeanism.
We should be proud of our cultural heritage,a dependencethat ennoblesus, as
cultural beings, and enableus open the horizon to universality. A precursor of
universalism, Goethe could appeal to art to transcendthe dependence,not to
reinforce it.
On 31 January 1827, in his conversationwith Eckermann,Goethe, then
at the height of his fame and in the evening of his life, was talking about a
Chinese novel he was reading that had struck him as quite remarkable.While
he had expected the book to be strange and picturesque,he had found in it
affinities with his own Hermann and Dorothea and with the novels of the
English writer, Samuel Richardson.He was surprisednot by the exoticism of
the book, but by the lack of it. This patriarch of Europeanism,through the
feeling of familiarity arousedin him by a Chinese novel and through a bond
stretching across beneficial differences, became aware of the genius of the
mind that can overstep cultural and historical boundaries. Dazzled by this
rcahzation, Goethe immediately drew a conclusion from it. Since literature
was capable of transcendingdifferences of space,time, race, language,and
culture, without any hesitation,this opportunity becamefor him an ideal. It is
the same universal ideal we meet with in John Locke's Two Treatises on
Government.sThe country and the European epoch he was born in were not
fortuitous but fundamental elements of his life and work. Yet through his
Englishness and Europeanism he has become the theoretical architect of
democracy as it exists in the Western world today and as it will exist in the
European countries that have ignored it, forced to do so by their totalitarian
regimes. A careful study of the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution of the United States and of the new Constitutions adopted in
Romania and in other countries in Eastern Europe, reveals an abundanceof
phrasessuch as AII men are created equal, The main values are life, freedom,
and the pursuit of happiness, and so on. From the forerunner of modern
democracy,we have learnt that if a nation valuesanything more than freedom,
it will lose its freedom. The irony is that if a nation values comfort or money
more, it may loosethem, too.
Approached in this perspective,culture can rediscover its axiological
meaning and its humanistic vocation. Since human beings affirm themselves
as cultural beings who createboth the world and the self through values, and
since the condition or possibility of the human being derivesfrom assigning
value, the ontology of the human condition becomesaxiocentric. It conforms
to Edmund Husserl's advice to understandthat all values are part of the one
and sameaxiosphere,culture, where unity does not mean uniformity. It is only
Value, Creativity, Culture 61

in freedom, tolerance,complementarity,and pluralism that human beings can

advance from the diversity of national and individual values toward the
community of value.
In Phenomenologyand the Crisis of Philosophy, Husserl pointed out
that to restore the lost genuine links with life-world and to live as a human
being is to live in an axiological framework wherein we all live together in a
community and have the community as a horizon.eWe can find here an
unconditional universal imperative,not to allow anything to happenthat is not
in accordancewith the growing solidarity of world community, associated
with the intersubjectiveresponsibility for the fulfillment of human vocation as
a value-assigningbeing, homo aestimans,and to reach for the supremegoals
of the universalistic approach of culture, that may be summed up by Paul
Eluard's symbolic phrase:Passerde l'horizon d'un seul d I'horizon de tous.
I consider that Janusz Kuczynski's words, For universalism does not
neglect anything of value,to may also be interpreted as an assertion
conceptually intelligible in the framework of what I called an axiocentric
ontology of the human condition. In the axiological relation between local
values and all-human values, a Copernicanrevolution appears,analogousto
Kant's Copernican revolution in approachingthe cognitive relation between
subject and object. In both cases,we note a fertile shift of direction.
In the cognitive relation, the subject,with a priori forms of intuition and
categories,has become the sum of our knowledge. The axiological relation
makes a shift of direction from the traditional phenomenologicaldescentinto
the diversity of cultures to the axiological ascent toward the unity of
humankind, emphasizingthe irreducible human condition, the common realm
of values, and the all-human values by which the human being becomes a
The human, creative, value-laden activity is the vehicle without which
the human being would not be able to endow existence with a specifically
human meaningfulness.Because I conceive of human beings as able to
surpasstheir creation but never surpassingtheir condition as creator, I am in
search for the specific of the human way of being in the process by which
human beings createand createthemselvesthrough cultural values,exceeding
the natural statethrough their human condition. The processof the passingon
from nature to culture, from iterative adaptation to value creativity, takes
place through what we may call a coupure ontologique, to paraphraseGaston
Bachelard.The essenceof the ontological mutation consistsin the following:
while other beings integratein the given circumstancesof existenceaccording
to their prevailing inborn needs,the human being, as a value-assigningbeing,
as homo aestimans,establishes,by creativity, a fundamental specificity of a
new way of relating to the environment. Thus, the issue of cultural creativity
appearsas the focal point of interest in philosophy. By reflecting upon the
creative process,on the one hand, and on the creative product, on the other

hand, philosophy can understandthe fundamentalspecificity of human beings.

If we approachthe issue in axiological terms, the creative processappearsas
the sui generis work processby which we actually introduce an object into the
realm of values, thereby giving a new fulcrum to one of the human needsand
aspirations, to value. And the creative product is always a concrete and
relatively durable reality structured by purposeful acts of valuation and
endowed with value. The core of creativity remains value in both cases.
We owe to Karl Marx the emphasislaid on creativity as a distinctive
mark of the human being as a generic being. Creativity represents the
assertionof the human ability to dominate natural existence,not by simply
adjusting to it but by progressively adjusting it to the self, by creatively
assimilating it, and to dominate social existence. Potentially, the realm of
creativity coexistswith the generalareaof human activity.
Becauseits distinctive mark is that of identifying and socially assessing
creation in value, the way creativity is defined as production of something
new, original, socially valuable, and resulting from the processof creation, I
maintain that creativity is present in actu in any human attempt materialized
in work. That is the reason why, as Anna-TeresaTymieniecka pointed out,
creative action is the prototype of action, and value becomesthe irreducible
factor of human cultural creativity.tt Everywhere and every time we try to
investigateculture and cultural creativity, value is inescapable.This is not to
be taken as a claim for the objective existence or categorical force of any
values in particular, but rather as a claim that the processesof estimating,
ascribing, modifying, affirming, and even denying value, in short, the
processesof valuation,can neverbe avoided.12
Creativity, Pete A. Y. Gunter says,has many meanings,but all of them
include the production of novelty, of something new, not something just
apparently new but really, ultimately new.r3 which means, all of these
meaningsinclude value creation and creation value. This accounts,inter alia,
for linking up the axiological viewpoint with other approachesof creativity in
order to understandthe human being as a being surpassingits creation but
never surpassingits condition as creator. But, as you can realize, my purpose
was only to submit the axiological point of view for our discussionconcerning
the philosophical understandingof creativity.
Perhapsno one else has expressedthis point, which I use to designatean
axiocentric ontology of the human condition, more emphatically than John
Feketehas. So, I will gratefully paraphrasehis words: No aspectof human life
is unrelated to values, valuation, and validation. Value orientation and value
relations saturate our experiences of life practices from the smallest
establishedmicrostructure of organizations and institutions. The history of
cultures and social formations is unintelligible except in relation to a history
of value orientation, value-ideals,goods values, value responses,and value
judgments, and their cultural objectivations,interplay, and transformations.ra
Value, Creativih,, Culture 63

The axiological interpretationsuggestedin the present chapter is,

therefore,inescapable. This is not meantto replace,in the investigationand
understanding of culture,an old scientificreductionismwith a new, valuation,
What I havc actually plcadedfor is what Ilya Prigogineand Isabelle
Stcngerscall a ncw alliancebetweenscienceand philosophy.That agreeswith
understandingvalue as a fundamentalconcept of the philosophy of culture
and with the antireductionist spirit that the metamorphosis of scienceitself
impliestoday.We are not, therefore,talkingof a reductionof cultureto value,
but of understanding the multiple determinations of culturein an integrating,
axiological perspective. This docs not overlook anthropological,
psychological, sociologicalaspects. It doesnot excludethe cognitivemoment
from the cultural sphcre,containingthe cumulativeproductsof knowledge,
subordinatingit to that eternalsenseof culture:that of' assuring,within the
complexrcalm of values,thc preeminence of moral-spiritualvalucsby which
wc rise, even when we stray or err, to higher stepsof humanity.Thus. after a
long detour throughthe complexphilosophicalproblemsto value, we come
acrossE. Herriot'ssuggestive maxim: La culturec'est ce qui restequandon a
tout oublii.
And if culture is what remains once we have lbrgotten acquired
knowledge,thcn lhe way its resultsinf-luence the mannero1'buildingour own
realm of values,startingfiom variegatedpossibilitiesof choiccsopenedby
becomeshighly significant.

2. Knowledge and Value: The Problem of Axiological Rationality

I start from a commonplaceyet question-posing finding: we can clearly see

the beneficialinfluenceon humanknowledgeof the revolutionin scienceand
technology,but we celnbarelypcrcciveits repercussions, their hows,and their
whcretos,on human valuc-loadedresponsesto thc world. As Alexandre
Koyre pointed out, the influences of the new scicntific paradigm on
knowledgeand valuesare uneven.Althoughmodernsciencehas removedthe
barriersseparatingheavenand earth,the macrocosmand the microcosm,and
organicand inorganicmatter,the unitaryand unifying image of the universc
and doesnot tell us anythingaboutthe world in which we live, love, and die,
while it placesus in a world where,thoughthereis room fbr everything,there
is n o ro o m f br hum anit y.rs
situation.much more complexthan the diagnosismade by Koyr6
would suggest,raises the question: what is the importanceof the new
relationships between knowledge and values fbr the philosophical
understanding of the specificcharacterof axiologicalrationality?
I will try to answerthis question.Bccausephilosophershave long been
in the habit of preceding every theoreticalapproach by an analytical
examinationof the questionitself and by an outlineof the conceptualcontext,
I must say that I am taking into consideration a relationbetweenclassesof
distinct values.In other words, I will introducea conventionaldistinction
bctwcenthe field of knowledge,which includesspecificvalues,and the field
of the other values,calledethicalin Husserl'smanuscripts publishedby Alois
Roth. At the sametime, I will deliberatelyuse a conjunction,knowledgeand
values,insteadol'a disjunction,knowledgeor values,becauscin the caseo1-
disjunctionwe would be faced with a false alternative:to hcad for the myth of
technocraticrationalism,claiming knowledge against values, or for thc
narcissisticimmersion in personal experience,claiming values against
With the questionset in these terms, logical analysis,syntacticand
semantic,helpsus seethat the problemof the knowledge/values relationship
would be meaninglessif there were no convergencebetweenthe two terms
and if they were not distinct.I only continuea significanttrend in Romanian
philosophicalthinking when statingthat the problemis meaningfulprecisely
because:( I ) values,in the humanrealm,belongto the orderof existenceitself
and cannotbe reducedto a cognitiverelation,to the productionof knowledge;
(2) scicntific rationality is not the only, or the paradigmatic,type of
rationality, which is polymorphous and comprises all intentional acts,
includingthosewith a prevailinglyaxiologicalload;(3) in practice,the human
being keeps the attributesof homo cogitons and those ol homo aestimans
We can therelbre say that the present revolution in science and
technology has not provided the possibility of a oontradictionbetween
knowledge and values deriving from the determinationsof the human
ontologicalstatus,nor has it transformedthis possibilityinto reality for thc
first time. It has causedthe contradictionto developinto an acute conflict,
becauseit substitutesthe new myth of axiological death of the physical
universe for the old pessimistic myth of thermal death of the physical
universe.Intoxicatedwith operationalityand accuracy,scientificknowledge
may transfbrm logical rigor or technologicalefficiency into an end in itself,
may invert ends and means, and may reduce the human being to an
exhaustibleobjcct throughthe frozen rigidity of abstractformulas and codes.
Paradoxically,thc mctamorphoscs of contemporaryscience,while enhancing
the divorce between knowledge and values, creates,for the first time in
history, both the necessityto bridge the gap, becausethe self-reflectiveness
knowledgeconstantlyoalls for value optionsand thesesupposea cognitive
support,and the possibilityof overcomingit by making useof the impact of
scienceon the understandingof the specific natureof axiological rationality.
By adopting, tacitly or explicitly, new philosophical presuppositions,
contemporary science provides the prospectsof a new alliance between
humanity and nature.The allianceregardsobjectivity of knowledgeas a value
Knowledge uncl Value: T'heProlslem of Axiolo,qic'al llationolih 6.5

that involvesa humanref'ercnce and becomespart of oulturewithout assuming

the right to deny the pcrtinenceof other viewpoints,includingthe axiological
point of view, and dispensingwith the fascinationof rationality,irrespective
o l ' i l . sc l o s c n e st so u s . ' n
Dwelling on the last-mentioned consideration,we seethat our time has
broughttogetherthe two terms o1'theknowledge/values relation.Today, when
scientific knowledgehas proved, through its technologicalapplications,to
have good or nef-arious consequences in terms of value,scientificrationality
can no longerbe the authorityentitledto judge good and evil unconditionally.
The traditionaljudge of valuesshould be the one to be judged in the first
place.That is why, as Hilary Putnamnoted, we are compelledto reversethe
terms and to ask not, How rationalgoodnessis?, but, Why is it good to be
rational'/ The instrumentalistanswer is unsatisfactorybecauseit values
rationalityexclusivelyin terms of efficiencyof the meansused for an end,
whilc it deniesthc cognitivestatusof valuejudgmentsand doesnot rationally
legitimatethe ends,the ultimatevalues.Logioalempiricismis a sophisticated
expressionof the same instrumentalisttcndency, even though it values
rationality not lbr practical-utilitariansuccess,but Ior the theoreticalsuccess
of prediction and rctrodiction, of the means used to verify or Ialsify
propositions.In this restrictiveview, Putnam points out that the question,
What good is rationality'?, finds no longera valid epistemological explanation,
and the soleanswerto the questionis that rationalityis good for the discovery
o l ' mca n s / end c onnec t io nIs7.
The critical responseto this view on instrumentalrationality,irrelevant
in both variantsmcntionedabovc,led to the conceptionof intrinsiccognitive
rationality,which shiffs the emphasisfiom the means/endconnectionto the
purposeol-thc cognitivcproccss.The answerto the qucstion,Why is it good
to be rational'/,has become,becausetruth may thus be discoveredby an
inhcrcntmethod.Unfbrtunatcly,as long as it was belicvedthatjust the fbrmal
part of the inhcrent scicntific method was the necessaryand sufficient
condition to guaranteethe in actu rationality of all knowledge, a risky
method-fetishismdeveloped. When Nelson Goodman distinguishedthe
implicationsof Bayes's theorem regardingthe limits of formalrzattonin
inductivelogic, the dependence of the formal part ol' scientificmethodson
prior informaldecisions,it becameclearthat,underthe impactof present-day
scientificmetamorphoses, the hope for a formal method,capableof being
isolatcdfrom actual humanjudgmentsabout the contentof science,that is,
about the nature of the world, and from human values, seems to have
Becausethe rationalityof value judgmentshas been contestedon the
grounds of now unacceptablesuppositions,the falsc idcntification of
rationalitywith scientificrationality,and of scientificrationalitywith the use
of a fbrmal mcthod, prescntscientificknowledgeitself has restorcdvalue
.judgmentsto their cognitivestatus.We reachthe conclusionthat rationality,
in a broad sense,including also what we have called practicalreasonsince
Kant, involves criterizrof relevanceand of rational acceptability,which no
krnger opposc knowledge to value, but are specificaily applied to both,
becausethc study o1'thepracticalrationalityof moral endsmay also be non-
arbitrary.If rationalityis an ability that enablesthe possessorto determine
what.questionsare relevantto ask and what answershe or sheis guaranteedto
acccpt,thenits valuelies on its sleeve.r"
If we try now to distinguishother implicationsof the atbrementioncd
conceptionof the knowledge/values relationship,we see that, in point of
axiooentricontolo-qy, we oughtto identifya rationalityot valuejudgments.
l'he intuitivism/emotivismalternativemay bc resolved dialectically
becauseit is based on the unsatisfactorypresuppositionthat descriptive
judgmcntsalonehavecognitivccontents.To acceptthe cognitivecontentsof
value .judgments,George Edward Moore's intuitivism reducesthem to a
speciesof descriptive judgments,while to denythat cognitivecontent,Charles
L. Stevenson's emotivismappliesto valuejudgmentsthe criteriaof cognitive
significanceput forward by logical empiricism,and, bccausereduction is
impossiblc,declaresthem meaningless, althoughthey are highly relevantin
everyday life and in building scientific theories.And yet logical criteria
cannotbe appliedto valuc judgments,not becausethey lack raticlnality,but
becausethey possessanothertype of rationality.Moreover,as John Rawls
noted, the criteria that identify thesejudgments are not arbitrary. They are
actuallysimilar to thosc that singleout consideredjudgmentsof any kind.2O
The discourseof ethicsno longer appearsto be inferior to the theoreticalone.
It is a practicaldiscourseoperatingwith valuejudgmentsthat arc irreducible
to descriptivejudgmentsand the rationalityof which shouldbc examinedby
proceedingfrom its specificnature,sanctioned by the highestauthority:social
Another inf'erenceis that distinguishingin the sphereof knowledge
between instrumcntalrationality, which concernsonly the relevanccand
rational acceptabilityof the means used to achieve an end, and intrinsic
rationality, which endorsesthe relevanceand acceptabilityof the end itself,
has a correspondent in the realm of values,where technologicalrationality
and what I term axiologicalrationalitymay be delincated.
Technologicalrationality poses only the problem of optimizing the
resourcesand means used in an action with a view to achicving an end.
However, becauseoptimizing the efficiency of the instrumentis different to
the end fbr which it is uscd,optimizedmeansmay efficientlycontributeto the
implcmentationof vague, inadequate,or downright irrational ends, such as
nuclearwar, massexterminationcamps,or settingLa Mettrie's vegetableman
as an educationalexample.
Know'!edgeancl Value: the Problemrl'Axiological Rutioncrlin, 6l

The axiological rationality of an action involves non-arbitrariness,

humanrelevancc,rationalacceptability, and,hence,the valueof the end itselt'.
Whereasrules,like thosesuggestedby Mario Bungc's technocthics, may bc
formulatedfor technologicalrationalitybecausethe sufflcient condition of
correspondencc ol' the meanswith a given end becomesalso the necessary
condition,no strictrulcsmay be formulatedfor axiologicalrationalitybecause
the end is open to innovating value creativity that cannot be put into
algorithms.Thus, the necessarycondition, non-arbitrariness of the end,
becomesalsothe sufficientcondition.
Technologicalrationalityignoresthe quality of the end. An action is
regardcdas non-arbitraryi{'the meansare optimized.Axiological rationality
does take into accountthe quality of the mcans.An action is considered
rationally aoceptableon the strcngthof the fact that the value of the end
prcvails,though thc higher principleof finality docs not suspendthe quasi-
causalrelationshipbetweenthc quality of the meansusedand the deliberate
achievementof the goal. Wc cannotobtaina lofiy moral or political purpose
by usingrationallyunacceptable means.That is why it is not recotnmended tct
use any means whatsoeverfor the achicvementol' an end, even though that
end were superior in itsell',as the Jesuitssuggestedin their adage,The end
justifiesthe means.The end does not justify the means,becausewe cannot
implement a humanistic program by anti-humanisticmeans. The end
incriminatesthe means,becausewhen tcchnologythreatcnsthe human,it is
the human,which must be saved,not technology.From the axiologicalpoint
of view, an action,or a set of actions,like thosel"r'iggcred by the present-day
rcvolution in scienccand technology,meets the criteria of relevanccand
rationalacceptabilitycxclusivelywhen and where it maintains,by the very
naturcof the meansused,thc supremcvaluethat grantsit purposefulness and
In a lectureclnthe crisiso1'humanexistenceunderthe conditionscrcated
by techno-scientillcprogressthal was beginning to elude moral control,
Husserlsaw the major sourceof'the dawning crisis in a crippled cognitive
rationality,boggeddown in naturalismand objectivism,and that had lost its
links with the world ol-hf'c,thus, its axiologicaldirnension.Husser'lbelieved
that the breachbetweenknowledgeand valueswas not a somberdestiny.an
unavoidablcf-ate,and hc advocatcda possibleovercomingof the crisis by the
s p i ri t o f philos ophy ,by h e ro i c re a s o n .2Hr i s v i e w a s si gnsphi l osophythe
leadingrole in the complex,ever-openprocessof crcationof value and ol
self-oonstructionof human condition, in the cstablishrnentof criteria of
rclevanceand acccptabilitycapable of avoiding the risk of substituting
instrumentalrationality by axiological rationality,the risk of an abcrrant
inversionof endsand means.
Can philosophy mcet the prcsent-dayhuman need of axiological
rationality?Can it associatcthe valuc of knowledgeand the knowledgcol-
values?Can it aim at keepingthe meansof humanactionunderthe controlof
moral ends,while carrying on rts searchfor an agreementbetweenknowledge
and values?The possibleanswcrsto the questionsadvancedhere are lel't to
thejudgmcntof the reader.

3. Culture and Civilization: An Irreconcilable Opposition?

The relationship between culture and civilization ranks lbremost. in

contcmporary philosophical debates generated by the olash betwcen
technological progrcssand spiritual-valuc deadlock.I oftenwondercdwhether
moral,artistic,philosophical, religious,and evenscientificvalueswere altered
or disregardedin a century hauntedby the alleged boons ol hypertechnical
conspicuous consumption.A more strikinglormulationmay soundas follows,
Are culture and civiliz.ationat irreconcilableodds/
I cannotembarkupon sucha philosophicaldebatewithout f irst clearing
out thc spccificterminology.
We rnay find distinctconnotationsof the tcrm, "culture," in Romance
and Germanic languages.Thus, in French, the philosophicalconcept of
culture is translated by civilization. Thc French translation of Jakob
Burckhardt's Die Kultur der Renaissancereads "La oivilisation de la
Renaissancc,"and it influenced the English translation as well, "The
Civilization of the Rcnaissance." The Spanishtranslation,"La cultura del
Renascimento,"and the Romaniantranslation,"Cultura Renaqterii,"have both
faithfully preserved the initial German meaning. Ambiguity increases
whenever an author invests the concept of culture with new shadesof
meaning.To Cassirer,culture is a systemof symbols,while Claude L6vi-
Straussseescultureas an ethno-eraphical entiretywith significanthistoriclag-
behinds.RalphLinton cnvisionscultureas a configurationof culturalpattcrns.
Marshall Mcluhan uses it to designatecommunicationalphenomena.The
tcrrm,"oivilization,"is alsoproncto variousintcrpretations.
Leaving aside the ethnographicinterpretationof thc concept o1'
civilization, that dcsignatcsthc particularitiesol- a well-dcfined human
communityand makespossible{br us to talk aboutthe Aztec or the Etruscan
civilization,and the historicalinterpretation, which envisagesa stagein thc
historyof humankind,distinctIi'om savagehood and barbaritydue to literacy,
township,arndan increasinglycomplexsocial lifc, the philosophyof culture
assignsa new meaning to the concept of civilization. This concept will
dcsignatcthc rcalm of thosevalueswhich pertainto the realm of satisfiable
materialneeds.It includesthe utilitarianitcms in the sphercof civilization:
and t c c hnolo g i c sd,w e l l i n g ,fo o d , c l o th e sp, u bl i cbui l di ngs,means
t e ch n i q ues
o1'communication,economic and administrativcactivities,social-political,
military, and legal organization,and the artificial cnvironmcntthat securc
cverydayconvcnicnce.While investigatingthe relationshipbetwccnculture
Cultureand Civiliz.atiort:An lrreconcilableOppo,sition'/ 69

and civilization, philosophicalthinking renouncesthe sensu lato of the

conoept,cultureseenas the ensembleof materialand spiritualvalues,in f-avor
of its sensu stricto that designatesonly those values that satisfy spiritual
nceds:the discovcryof thc unknown,the pursuitof an ideal,the searchlbr the
self, the pursuit of the self into other selves,the thirst for the absolute,
contemplationof beauty,the fice exertionof crcativity.The sphereof culture
comprisesonly spiritual values that live through customs and traditions,
religious creedsand belief's,scientificand philosophicalworks, literatureand
music,architecture,painting,sculpture,fine arts.
The conceptualization suggestedby Nietzschebasedon the clear-cut
distinctionbetweencivilization,as the totality of materialvalues,and culture,
as Lheaggregatespiritualvalues,substantiates the irreconcilableopposition
between culturc and civilizatron.In 1918, Oswald Spenglerdevelopeda
synthesisof the oppositionin his book The Declineof the WesternWorld.He
metintainedthat the priority assigned to strictly utilitarian, technical,
economicalvaluedevaluates the spiritual.This entailsa moral crisis,a lack of
laith in democraticand humanitarianideals,a minimalizationof the rolc of
philosophyand art. Civilizationmarksthe twilight of cultures,foreshadowing
their degeneration and decline. To Spengler, culture means the
accomplishment of thc spirit,while civilizationmeansthe unavoidableend o1'
any culture.Spenglerand Arnold Toynbeeadvancedthe idea of the cultural
lag that increases with the progressof civilization.Philosophicaloutlooksthat
extol societiesgovernedby technological rationalityand consumption-biased,
utilitarianmentalities,and that regardthe progressof cultureas achievableby
narrowingdown the spiritualhorizon,havebroughtcountcr-arguments.
In his writings,HerbertMarcusedevelopedan amplecriticalanalysisof
such theories.With Marcuse,the dangerof "one-dimensionalman" in the
conditionsof administered happiness may be eliminatedby act"ivating the new
sensibilityof the erotic-aesthetic or moral type. In other words,the authorof
One-DimensionalMan resortsto the procedureof restructuringthe hierarchy
of values.The proccssis to take placc in agreementwith the realitiesof-the
contemporarycivilization and the cultural aspirationsol- thc human beings
living in the twenty-firstcentury.22
During the last deoadeof our century,more and more analystshave
rallicd aroundthis point of view. For example,from a diff-erentperspective,
Alvin Toffler speaksabout the authority of' moral values.23Mircea Eliade
declaresthat the twenty-firstcenturywill be religiousor will not be at all.
Both outlooks,that in which culture is privilcgedfbr spiritualreasons.
and that in which culture is underestimated on technologicalgrounds,share
the idea that civilization might bc seen as an entity opposedto culture.
Nevertheless, delimiting materialvalues fiom spiritual valuesis significant
only in some ideationalcontexts,when we attemptto prove that material
valuesare means-values and that spiritual valuesalone are entitled to rank as
purpose-values and resistto being renderedabsolutc.If we discussmodern
means of mass communication,including printing, the media, television,
movies,CDs, we cannot deny their involving spiritual valuesbeyond their
matcrialessence,sincethcy are instantiations of crcativeintclligcnceanclclf
scientific knowledge. They impact upon the cultural message,lacilitate
worldwidecommunicat"ion. as ntuchas moral or aestheticvaluesirnpactupon
the levcl o1'civilization.The distinctionbetwcenmaterial(civilization)and
spiritual(culture)generates a clashonly in discascdsocietiesthat suffcr frclm
the undcrdevelopment fallacy,from the noxiouseffectsof technocratism, or
liom endemicintoleranceof spiritualvalues.If we consistentlyregardculture
Iiom a philosophical-axiological perspective, as an ensembleof all material
and spiritualvalucscreatedalongthc courseof history,we regardthe concept
of civilization,as seenby contempclrary approaches, as somcthingthat, far
liom lying outside culture and opposing it, is culture-assigning.It is
neverthelessrestrictcdto partial culture, deflned by material valucs aimed at
practical-utilitariantargets. We nced not destroy civilization to acquire
culture.We shouldstrive to enrich civilizationand admit that wheneverthe
valuesof civilizationhaveaugtnented within a framework,we shouldwonder
whether highlighting those values alone is enough and whether that
civilizationnccd not be cnrichcdby the pursuitof humanculturalpurposes.
Civilization need not be ignored in order to save culture. On the
contrary,it should be expandedand enriched.Humankindneedsan integral
culture,whereautonomous forms shoulddevelopin naturalinterconnection.
We are not dealing here with the nostalgiaof the lost paradiscin
Magdalenianor Paleolithiccultures,whcn the genuinelink betweenculture
and civilizzttionwas imposedby the lack of autonomyof culturalforms,all ol'
which were rootcd in myth and magic. Thc modernprocesswherebyvalues
gct diversified and acquire autonomy is undeniable,despite all thc ill-
lunctioningaccompanying it. In all technocraticmodenrsocicties,a tendcncy
may appearto overratctechnicaland material-valuesand to overrankthem as
purpose-values.Totalitarian re,eimeswitness the decay of Iundamental
spiritual valucs in the name of unreasonablestate reasons. Between
worshippingLechnicalprogressand dooming it, there is a wide range of
attitudesand opinions,of appreciation and interpretations.
The modcrn differentiationof values is an essentialcondition lbr
culturalprogrcss.For valuesto becomeembodiedin culturalassets,a set of'
citmplextechnicalprocedures is needcd.Producingculturalassetsrequiresthe
meansto faultlesslyadaptto the pursuedgoal.
Thc abovc paragraph rcveals the fundamental contribution r)l'
contemporaryphilosophyto the understanding ol' thc relationshipbetween
cultureand civilization:we risk a clashwhen the differencebetweenpurpose-
values,inherentto spiritualculturc,and means-values, pertainingto material
civilization.is erasedand when utilitarian,technical-economical, and political
Cultureand Civilizatiott:An lrreconcilahle Opposition? 11

valuespreposterously turn from efficientmeanstowardhumanself-realization

into self-standinggoals.
Civilizationand cultureare intertwinedto suchan extentthat separating
them could bring abouttheir gettingmaimed,The only legitimatedistinction
is that with certainvalues,strcssis laid upon the universaluseful,while with
others, it shifts to the specifically human gratuitous.Reversing a long-
worshippedscaleof values,I may claim that what mattersabove all is the
gratuitous.The uselul, in all its fbrms (political,economical,organizational
action)is usefulonly to the extentto which it servesas a meansto createthe
In evcrydaylif'e,this issuecould be rephrascdas a question What is the
nteaningoJ'beinga vvell-readperson today? The answermight be jocular: it
mcans what it used to mean yesterdayand what it will mcan tomorrow.
Beyond the joke, the answer points to an option. Culture presupposes
knowlcdgc and thc handling of advancedtechnology.But it necessarily
irnplics the impact of the latest discoveriesof the human mind upon lil'e
ideals, upon how to render creativc abilities fiuitful. Culture generatesthc
poignantawarenessof hurnandignity and establishes demandingcriteria to
operatevalue distinctionsand influence lifestyles.I1' culturc is what we are
lcft with once wc havc fbrgotten whatcver we have learned,the significance
ol'our learninglies in its impactupon the way we chooseto build a home of
our own arnid thc variousoptionsprovided by life circumstances. Without
deprivrngthe useful of its rank, this scale of values would in all sincerity
proclaimthc prevalcnccof the spiritualovcr the technologicalachievements
that keep bedazzlinghurnankindand thus reachthc wisestsolution.What is
supposcdto bc thc attitudco1'thegenerations to come as to thc issueI have
dcalt with'? I can only makc a wild guess.Thc substanceand quality o1'
lornorrow'sculture,its {utureplace in clur lil'e, will dcpendon this attitude.
The questionis dccisivelbr anyonewho standson thc thresholdol'philosophy
whilc consideringthe rclationshipbetweenculturcand civilization.

PositivistReductionismandthe Mirage of Non-

1. Definition by Reduction: The Standard Paradigm of Reductionism

No other issueseemsmore centralto the philosophyof sciencethan that of

rcductionism,maintainsGerhardVollmer.rBy placingthe issuein the context
of justification or in that of discovery, whether by answeringit in the
affirmative or in the negative,the philosophy of sciencelegitimately asks
whethera law, a theory,or a I'ieldof researchcould be reducedto other laws,
theories, or llelds. Whcn Logicai Positivism, though, granted absolute
sovcrcignty to reduction,the term, "rcduction," becamc the magic word by
which modern science assertcd its right to expansion into eminently
philosophicdomains.Rcductionismthen becamean anomalywith a scientiflc
cast. A new mythology o{' the epoch surfaced:in terms of culture, the
supremacyof science, and the reductionof all the other types of rationality to
the scientific type, which, in its turn, is identifled with the utilization of
n e o p o si t iv is t cicr it c r ia.
As long as the boundariesof the logical analysis in the scientific
languagcare ncltinvaded,the operationof suchcriteriacannotbe summarily
rejected.Yct, it is not lesstrue that an invasionof thoseboundariesand the
persisLcntapplicationo1' ncopositivisticcritcria could cnd up in the total
spiritual drain of the cultural crcation.Thc type of analysisproposedby
reduct.ionism,with lormal logic as thc supreme {brum clf cognitive
signilicance,rcachesthe conclusionthat, since rnetaphysicalsentencesare
ncithcr analytic:alnor synthetic,and are liable to cndure the prinoiple o1'
crr-rpiric confirmation,they shouldbe eliminatedfiom cultureas meaningless.
According tcl the neopositivistdoctrine, not only metaphysics,but also
philosophyas a whole consistsof such meaninglesssentencesand pseudo-
problems.Hence,the conclusionthat philosophyis left with the act of self-
annulment alone. Sinoe neopositivism itself is reluctantly a kind o{'
philosophy,you might say that neopositivism cravesto be the self-destructive
dcedof philosophy.
Even if suchan act cventuallyfails, the metaphysical dimensionmaims
thc rcsulting philosophy,which is deprived of its interrogative-axiological
role, and its self-infliotedwoundsprcventit fi'ornfulfilling its role as the self-
conscicnceof culture.The place philosophyholds in culturc would be more
appropriateonly as long as it could usc sentcnces rcducibleto the languageof
science(Rudoll'Carnap),as long as it transl-ers its cognitiveprcrogativestc)
scienoe(Otto Neurath),or, finally,if it becomes
a sciencein itself (Hans
Reichenbach).In all thesecases,the standardparadigmof the scientific
reductionismperpetuates the mirage of some chimericalnon-philosophical
The advisedreadermight be surprisedby the placementof the discourse
in the spiritual atmospheregeneratedby the Vienna Circle. The readermight
rightly objectthat the option fails to considereitherthe typologyof reductions
or thc chronologyof reductionism.Typologically,reductionsare inscribed
into so vast a rangethat, even leaving asidethe distinctivereductionof the
Husserlianphenomenology,eideticor transcendental, it seemsimprobablefbr
us to find a standardparadigmable to merge the different possiblevariants.
And even if wc would find one, it seemsunacceptable to placeit in the third
decadeof our century,since,chronologically, the mechanisticreductionismof
the sevcnteenthand eighteenth centuries, with its project of rnrfihesis
universalis,has precededthe logistic reductionismwe have in view. A series
of remarksarc thereforerequiredfbr the sakeof accuracy.
First, I deliberatelyproposenot to discussall types ol reductionism,
except for that used in approachingthe status of philosophy by scicntific
reductionism.This type of action refers to the reduction of one form of
culture,namely,philosophy,to anotherform of culture,namely,science.It is,
therefore, an explanatory reductionism with an axiological load and an
axiologicaltrend.Scienceis not seenas superiorto philosophy.It is not about
a reductionismwith neutralityof value,as happenswhen explainingthe laws
of thermodynamicsby means of statisticalmechanics,for example. It is
ultimately a reductionism"intendedto reveal that philosophy turns {iom
spcculationinto science."2This is the reasonwhy I will not consiclerthc
technicalsubtleticsof the vast epistemologicalliteraturc,except for thosc
aspectsthat ref-erfiom an axiological perspectiveto the intentions of the
Second, no prior instanceof rcductionismhas involvcd an explicit
metaphilosophical program.Logical Positivismgovernedthe sccneo1-science
philosophyfbr three decades.It startedwith thc publicationin 1929 of the
manifesto of the vienna Circle. preparedby otto Neurath, H. Hahn, and
Rudolf Carnap. It culminatedwith the publioation,in 1960, of the study
dedicatedby Carnapto thc methodological statusof the theoreticalconcepts.
It had a metaphilosophical program.In the outlook of Logical Positivismon
thc status of philosophy, side by side with the dogmatic acceptanceof the
analytic-synthetic dichotomy that would open the only alternativein the
fbrmulation of meaningful statements,the other rule is that of reductionism.
Any significantenunciationis consideredas being [he equivalentto a logical
construction, achievedin termsreferringto an immediateexperience.
Now, going beyond the preliminary considerations,I think we can
understand the reductionistconceptof logicalempiricismin the contextof the
StandardParadigm of Redur:tionisnt 15

projeotof a unifiedhumanknowlcdge.This presupposes that only what bears

l.heimprint of scienccobtainsthe passportto enterthe territoryof knowledge.
Philosophyappealsto u priori syntheticsentences, the truthfulness,or
Ialsity of which can be determined neither by a logical-mathematical
cxpression,nor by cmpirical verification or lalsification. This is why
philosophywith its specilicsentences is non-existcntas a lleld ol'knowledge,
adjoiningscience.The body of the scientificsentences consummates the bulk
of the meaningful sentences.r In addition to reductionismin science,the
reductionismof meaningfulknowledgeto scienceis alsoinvolved.
The realizationof such an aspirationeliminatesthe possibility of a
philosophy imperceptiblethrough the grid of a formalized analysis of
scientific language.Thc identificationof the effort to obtain a systematic,
cohcrcnttype ol- knowledge,in consonancewith the target of thc unificd
Thc building of such a rcductivesystenrassumesa differcnt approach.
The rcprcsentativcs ol- logical cmpiricismno longer ask thcmselveswhether
the wor'ldis unitary,whcthcrthercis a diffbrencein kind betwcenthc physical
and mentalproccsses, or il'all the eventsin the world are of thc sametype.
only thing thcy ask is if the productso1'scicnce- bearingthe mark ol'
their genesisand pu't,zhngin their diversity- could nol be reducedto and rc-
lbrrnulatedin a unitary language.Their attention is exclusively directed
toward rcvealing the unity of science through logical re-construction
conductedwith the help ol'a rcductiveanalysisof the rapport betweenthe
terms used and the statementsassertedby scientists.Since, in science,the
analysisof linguisticexpressions that is placedin the contextof the logical-
structuralapproachof the scientific-activity{rutcome,the context of the
generatingprocesses beingdeliberatelyignored,is callcd the logic of science,
thc issueof thc unity of scienceis herebyunderstoodas one of sciencelogic,
an d n o t as an ont ologicails s u c .r
Thc main chapterol'the studyin which Carnapoutlinesthis argumentis
cntitled"Reducibility."Carnapshilts the emphasisliom thc ontologicalissue
o1 world unity onto l.hclogical-epistemological issuc of sc:ienceunity. The
issucof world unity is declaredas meaningless, while the cognitivcdimension
ol'mctaphysics and in generalthatof philosophyis challenged.
It is the principleo1'reducibilityminutelyclaboratedby Carnapthat the
formal study of'the logical relationshipsamong terms pertainingto various
partsof the sciencelanguageis basedon. Accordingto the principle,logical
syntaxresortsto criteriato demonstrate if two termsare interdefinable. if one
tcrm could be reduccdto the other.When the conditionsol'usinga [crm,r, are
characteriz.ed by other tenns, ,r' and z, by mcans o1'the procedurescallcd
reduction,we may say that the initial term, .r, is rcducibleand that the end
resultis the reductionstatcment.Thc basiclbrm of thc reductionstatcmentis
dcfinition, yet it is not always possible.When dispositionalpredicates,
expressingthe property of the obiect to react in a certain function of thc
situation,occur in the reductionstatement,then that statementtakes on a
conditional fbrm. A hi-ehly refined logical procedure,appealing to thc
mentionedconditionaldefinitionsand thc dispositionalpredicatcs,cnablcs
Carnap to advancchis criteria toward the rcductionof' the terms of othcr
scicnccs,such as biology and psychology,to the physical language.This
languageis granteda privilegedstatussinceit includesa sub-language, that of
Lhings,the thing language.It lackstheoreticaltermsbut includesobservational
predicatesof objccts,such as yellow, cold, light, and soluble,that off'er a
sufficient reduction basis for the heterogeneous theoreticalterms to be
translatedfrom the entire field of science into a unique, homogeneous
language. As it may be easily observed, the standard paradigm of
reductionismidentifiesrationalitywith logic, which conf'ersupon scicncethe
ability to put scnsorialdata in order and thus build the coherentedificc of'
theory,undera strictobservational control.
Whilc succinctlypresentingthe reductionist-logistic orientation.I tried
to ovcrlookthc projectof rcpresenting thc world as elpurc logicalconstruction
made of data taken fiom the perceptivcexperience,presentcdin Der logische
Aufbau der Welt ( 1928)Carnaphimself passedquickly over thc excessesof
this episodeof his spiritualitinerary.
In his laterworks,Carnapdevelopsthe nuancesof the standardmodcl of
Iogical cmpiricism. At flrst, he abandonsthe idea o1'translatingphysrcal-
world statementsinto statementson the immediate expericnce and of
substitutingthe phenomenologistlanguagefor the physicalisticlanguage.
the principle ol' verifiability is replacedby that of confirmabilityand
controllabilityas a criterion lbr term significance.Thc scquenceof shading
continueswith the proposedprotocol sentcnccs(Neurath),to distinguisha
subclassof scicntificsentences expressinginformationaboutreality obtained
through perception,etnd to formulate a distinguishingcriterion between
empirical scienceand metaphysicsor philosophy,which would no longer
involve the requiremcntto reduceall sentences pertainingto scienceto direct
experience. Moreover.C. G. Hempelno longeracceptscorrespondence rules
for a term-by-termreduction,advancinginsteadto a holistic approach.The
theoryis connectedto an empiricalbasisof "rules of interpretation."s Beyond
thesevariantsand variations,one invariantis lcfi: the ideao1-doublclanguagc,
the custom of dividing sciencc language into two parts, observational
languageand theoreticallanguage.The observational languagemakesuse of
termsto describenoticeablethingsand events,while the theoreticallanguage
containsterms that may ref'erto the unnotioeableaspectsof phenomenaor
The acceptance clf a clear distinctionbetweenthe theoreticalterms and
thoseof a pre-theoretical vocabularyis accompaniedby the assumptionthat
the pre-theoreticaltermsarc fundamental. They ref-er,directlyor indirectly,to
StandardParacligmof Reductionisnt ll

perceptible phenomena,given by cxperience,possessinga prearranged

significanceto any rational human being, while theoreticalterms reccivc a
cognitivesignificanceby meansof a secondarygame,and correspondence or
intcrprctationrules are resortedto Ibr them to be reducedto the terms in the
We can easilyseethat the conceptabovealreadyimpliesthe non-sense
of the metaphysicalissues.Becausethey appeal to an a priori synthetic
sentence,the descriptivepredicatesof which do not relate with possible
observations, they hold no cognitivesignificancc.
And as we can casily see,even in its nuancedand liberalizedvariant,
Logical Positivism,with its generalprogramof rationalreconstruction, which
dominatcd epistcmolo-eyfbr three decadcs, remains attached to theses
essentialfor thc standardparadigmof the scientificreductionism.Logical
Positivismacccptsthe unitary and neutrallanguageof scicnce.It combines
cmpiricist suppositionson the origin of knowledgewith a fbrmalist-logicist
approachto its nature.It placesthe basis of inductivc cmpiricism on the
dogmas of analysis and reductionism.By reduction, Logical Positivism
identiflesrationalitywith logicism,and it identifiesknowledgcwith one of its
Due to its metaphilosophicalprogram, the standard paradigm of
scientific rcductionism has had disappointingconsequences subjectedto
repeatedcriticism. Resumingthe systematrzation proposedby Ilie PArvu,Tthe
fbllowing points of criticism could be detected:(l) a criticism of the
cpistemologicalpremisesof the program;(2) a criticism of the ontological
assumptions, suchas a clear-cutdistinctionbetweenthe observational and the
theoretical;(3) a sharpdifferentiationbetweeninternaland cxternalissues,in
other words, scicntific issuesconcernin! thc cxistenceof some theoretical
cntitiesinsidethc linguisticframcworkand the philosophicalissuesaboutthe
rcality of thc cntirc systcmof thoseentities;and (4) a global criticismof the
analytical-empirical approachof the mcthodof fbrmalizedanalysisof science
and o1the reductionistapproachto the statusof thc philosophicaldiscourse.
fhe sequcnceol' criticism mentionedabove was not lcll without an
echo. By abandoningthe standardparadigmor by lending it a series of
nuances,the analytical philosophy f ollowed the path leading liom its
positivist stage to its postpositivistone. In other words, the analytical
philosophywas forced,throughinternaldialectics,to takeon a more and more
pronouncedantipositivisticcoloring and withdraw,gradually,falteringly,yet
irreversibly,fiom Reichenbach's dreamo1'justifying the philosophicalissues,
approaches, and optionsexclusivclythroughsciencecriteria.
2. Transfigunations,Mutations, Alternatives

The Carnapianproject for the reductivetranslation.by logical rneans,of thc

theorcticalinto the observationalproved r-rnf'casible. The corollary of the
project,a strictdelimitationof the meaningfulsentenccs of scicnceliom those
ol' the meaninglessones of metaphysics,could not endure analytical
examination.Based on the criterion of cognitive signilicanceadvancedby
neopositivism, F. Waismannis forccdto realizethat thc very thesisaccording
to which metaphysicsis nonsensicalis a non-senseitself.t In his turn, Kar'i
Poppercriticizesthe thesisof logical empiricism.Popperconsidersthat the
statements of. rnetaphysics could be delimitedfrom thoseof sciencewithout
the need to judge them as nonsensical and without expellingthem from thc
continent ol' knowlcdge.The critcrion proposedto separatcscicncefrom
metaphysics is farlsillability.
A systemshouldbe consideredas beingscientific
only if it fbrmulatcsassertionsthat may contradictobservations.The systemis
efl-ectivelytested by an attempt made to produce such contradictions.
Thcrefore,the distinctionin kind betwccnmeaningfuland meaningless turned
into a gradualdclimitation.A theory is so much the more capableof being
testcdas it imposesmorepreciseexigencieson reality.
Given that statcments of philosophyarc not falsifiablc,thereresultsthe
prccariousness of thcir cognitive status,and not thc fault that they would
verge upon pseudo-problems. Popper resiststhe tcmptationto replacethe
criterionof completeverifiability by that of completefalsiflability,since he
acceptsthe theoreticalload of the observationalknowledge.As a matter of
principle,Poppereliminatesthe possibilityof refutationby meansof a flnire
numberof observational data.Thus. in the Popperianversionof falsification,
an importantmodificationemerges,as comparedto the standardparadigm:thc
theorybecomesnow more importantthanthe observational data.
The idea of a basicobservational languagethat would allegedlyprccecle
theoryand, following the applicationof the reductionprocedure,offor a last-
minute justification ol the theory is no longer accepted.In the dynamic
approach of science as proposed by Popper, theory precedesdata. The
developmentol' knowledge as a shift from oldcr problems to new ones
ultirnatelydependson the suggestionand rejectionof thcoriesin a rational
manner. By shifting the acccnt toward incrcasing knowledge. Popper
c;onsiders that scicnccdocsnot build on a granitefoundation.Sciencecoulclbe
comparedwith a construction, the pillarsof which sink into a swamp and are
not supportedby firm ground.And if wc stop shovingthc pillars down, it is
not bccausewc havc reachcdfirm ground.We simply stop whcn wc think the
pillars are steadlastenough lor thc constructionto stand.!)Thc metaphor
submitsthe idea of the relativity of basic statements, of thcir relizrnceon ir
theoreticalmeaning.Yet, despitethe accentbeing shifledliom the Carnapian
translationof the theoreticalinto the observational on the comparisonof the
r urrs.fi,qurut i orts, M utu t i ons, A lt er nat iy,es 19

testabilityor falsifiability degreesof theory.thc reductionol the rationalityin

scienceto logicism is only transf'erred in a diff-ercntarea and nuance.As a
conscquence,dcspite open criticism, an unwantedaffiliation with logical
empiricism is maintained,although it trusts the ability of philosophy to
cooperatewith sciencewith a view to teachingus somethingaboutthe enigma
o l 'th e wor ld in whic h w c a rc l i v i n g a n d a b o u tth e e n i gmaol ' our know l edge
erboutthis world. Popperassignsthe theory of scicncethe role of ref-eree in
Since rt is not possibleto reducethe statusof the theoreticalterms to
that ot'observationdata,the weight is shiftednow on thc competitionamong
rival research programs. The programs could bc rationally compared to
unbiasedbackgroundknowledge.This way, by being theoreticallystructured,
all knowledgeproductsentail that rationality is reducedto logicism. The
move towardchallengingnon-problematic backgroundknowledgeenablesthe
cclmparison, the commcnsuration, of the theoreticalterms used in divergent
rcsearchprograms.In the analysisand asscssment of the new philosophyof
scienceby Norbert R. Hanson,ThomasS. Kuhn, and StephenToulmin, the
place it allowed to theoreticalterms and, in general,to the theoretical
approach,we should take as a naturalreactionagainstthe standardparadigm
of reductionismthat resultedfrom the empiricist tradition. If a complete
rcductionof the theorcticalconceptsto the termsof an observational basisis
impossiblc, if a partial rcduction is possiblc in tcrms o{' a theoretical
fiameworkalonc,thenthe problemof verifyingor falsifyingthe theories,by et
function of data, no longer holds thc focal point. Thc stressshifts to thc
understandingof how observationaldata are structuredby theories.Three
osscntial thescs of theorcticism are outlined by the deviation of the
problematicwhich cnjoys an ample and systematicpresentationin Kuhn's
The Structure of the ScientificRevolutiort:( l) the paradigmaticcharacterof
lrumanknowledge (2) the priority of the paradigrnin the explanationof the
structureor of thc dynamicsol-knowledge;(3) the incommensurability ol the
empiricalbasis.r0 In this vision,the periodsof normal sciencearc markedby
some paradigms, such as excmplary problem-solving, symbolic
generalizations, models acceptedby the disciplinary community, and values
that carninfluencethe choiceof thcory.Similarly,the periodsof revolutionary
sciencepresuppose the adoptionof a new paradigm.Due tcl the fact that it is
theoreticallyladen,observationacquiressignificancewithin the confinesof
the paradigmalone.This meansthat the hope in the possibilityof creatinga
neutrallanguageol'the sensorialdatain which theoriespertainingto different
paradigmscould be comparedis eliminated.Paradigmsare incommensurablc.
The reductionof rationalitytcl logicisrnand conceptsdocs not exclude the
assessmentof the dynamics of science, taking into considerationthe
connectionsbetweenthe succession of hypotheses, or thc theories,the social-
institutionalcontext,the systemsof values,or the ontologicalcomrnitmentsof
thc researchpractice.Thus, Kuhn gives up the rcductionisttraditionof
of thescientific
If theoreticism,at least in Kuhn's version,no longer confcrs on data
their independenccof' theories,thc distinctionbetwcen sensorialdata and
theoriesis maintained,allowingit to rcpresentparadigmsas exernplarities for
what we are given through experience.rrThe methodologicalanarchism
proposedby Paul Fcyerabenddrives thc acceptanccof data-ladenness to its
extreme consequence: the legitimacy of thc distinction betweendata and
theories is challenged.Since data exist only when gencratedby theory,
alternative theories generate different sets o1- data, and such sets are
incommensurable. Then, asks Feyerabend,how can data help in testing or
eliminatingthcories'/Fcyerabendanswersthat anythinggoes.This meansthat
the standardsand the criteria of rationality are inherent to theoretical
frameworks.They can be evaluatedfiom within alone,without supposingthat
replacingone thcory with anothermight bring us closerto the truth.Thus, we
go beyond thc criticism ol' the c priori rationalityto the suprcmacyof the
extra-logicalfactors in knowledge.What remains, holds Feyerabend,is
acstheticjudgment,judgmentsof taste,metaphysicalassumptions,religious
desires,in short, our subjectivedesires,since the developmento1' science
conceptsstopsbeingrational.'tThe immanentand contextualapproachof the
criteria and types of' rationality,conjugatedwith the rejection ol' logicist
reductionismkeepsthcoreticismapartfrom empiricism,yet thc lirnits of thc
visionof truth bringsit closer.
The subtlecriticismof the two dogmasof logicalempiricism,conducted
by Willard van Orman Quine, is rnorc radical. Going beyond the lalse
dichotomybetweencorrespondence and coherenceleadsto a decperlcvel of
the philosophic understandingof the status held by thcoreticalentities.
Accordingly,a shi{i of the problematicemerges.Within the new concepton
rationalityproposedby Hilary Putnam,it rendersindispensablc overlooking
the current alternativein philosophy bascd on scientismlogicism versus
cultural relativism, and overlooking the promotion of an cpistemological
realismopposedto the tendencyto dressup the older empiricismin the new
clothesof the so-callcdconstructive empiricism.rs

3. A PhilosophicalMetamorphosis: From Logical Empiricism to

Constructive Empiricism

With a certainamountof humclrousness and lucidity, that we ourselvesmay

need, Bertrand Russell pointed out that, in philosophy,the allegationof
dealing in metaphysicshas bccomc an allegationsimilar to that brought
againsta functionaryrepresenting a securityrisk to his country.Conf-essing
that, as far as Russellwas concerned,he did not know what they meant by
A P Iilo soplticul M etuntrtrlthrt.si.; 8l

"this word mctaphysics,"Russcllfound a dcfinition for it, that seemedto be

adcquateto all cascs: "a philosophicalopinion that the author does not
support."rtWhen readingthc main chaptersof the much commentedbook by
B. C. van Fraassen,The Innge of Sc'ienc'e.'t yuu have the impressionthat
alniostthe samething c;ouldbe saidaboutthe term "cmpiricism":it designatcs
son-rcthingthat thc pcrson spcaking in its name does not uphold. If by
cmpiricismwe understand that kind of approacho1'theissueaboutthe sources
of knowledgein oppositionto rationalismor revolutionismand in harmony
with JohnLocke's crcdo,nihil est in intellectuquod non prius.fueritin sensu,
then van Fraassenlails to sharcthis approach.
As a matterof fact, accordingto Locke's criterion,Galileo Galilei was
an empiricistin terms of souroesof knowledgennd Cardinal Bellarmino a
revelationist.According to van Fraassen'scriterion, it is Bellarmino who
becomesatnempiricistand Galileoa predcccssor cll-scicntificrealism.Wc arc
ad ri fti n f ull- s c aleam big u i ty .
If we abandonthe contextof discovcryand try to defineempiricismin
tcrms of justil-ication,then the fundamentaldogma ol' moderncmpiricismis
thc idca that any non-analyticalknowledgc is fbundcd on experience.'6
Empiricismis no longcrdel'ended eitherwithin the contextof'discovery,or in
that of .justillcation,exceptfbr what I dare name the oontextof flnality. To
van Fraassen,bcing an empilicist means to propose an epistemological
position about the aims of scienceas opposedto that promotcd by the
representatives of realism.The decisivequestionbecomesnow: Is it possible
that thc lundamentalaim of the scientifictheory is to tell us the truth abouta
reality fbund beyond perceptiblestates,relations,or events, yet not be
uto p i a n?
As known, oncc we accept that the thcorctical-ladenness of thc
observationaltcrms and the doublc-languageparadigm, bascd on the
theoretical-cmpiricitl dichotomy,were abandoned, thcn analyticalphilosophy
stcp p e di nt o it s pos t posi ti v i s tta g c T
. h e c o h e rc n c th
e c o ryof truth,w hi ch w as
t h e co ro llar yof ac c c pt i n gth c d o g ma so l -L o g i c a lPo s i ti vi smand of cquati ng
what was rationalwith what was logical,ccasedto bc competitivein relation
to the correspondence theory of truth. Thus, fbllowing the declineof logical
empiricism, the contemporarydebate over truth in sciencc has brought
forward the point of view o1-scientific rcalism. Anti-rcalistic approaches,
conventionalistor instrumentalist, could not have an echo comparableto
realism,sincerealismproved to be the only philosophythat did not make a
miracleout o1'soientificbreakthroughs.'t
Van Fraassenrcgretsthat the representatives of logical empiricism have
gone so lar in their attemptto convertphilosophicalissuesinto issuesabout
languagethat the linguistic orientationof which, in some cases,has had
disastrouseffects in the philosophy of science. He considers that the
Carnapiandichotomy betweenthe theoreticaland the observationalis the
resultof an error of category,failing to distinguishamongentities,which can
be observational or non-observational, and terms,concepts,which can be only
theoretical.The fact hinders the correct understandingof the constructive
dimensionand of thc empiricalcontentof scientifictheories.Hc admitsthat,
today, logical empiricism no longer ofl'ersviable counter-arguments to the
argumentsof the epistemologioalrealism and that the positivist imagc of
sciencecan no longer be upheld.Yet, van Fraassen'sbook disavowslogical
empiricism alonc and dcfbnds with original argumentsa metamorphoscd
e mp i ri cis mc alledc ons t r u c ti veemp i ri c i s mr8
Undoubtedly,constructiveempiricismtries to transcendthe unilateral
understandingof theories ficm a predominantly linguistic standpoint,
characteristicof Logical Positivism.With logical empiricism,advancinga
theory meant specifyingan exaci languageand a set of axioms to which a
partial dictionary was added so as to connect thcorctical tcrrns to
observational ones.On the contrary,in constructiveempiricism,advancinga
theory consistsin specifying a family of structures,called modcls, and
dissociatin-q some of their empirical substructures thzrtcan be rcgardedas
direct representations of' obscrvationalphenomena.Van Fraasscncalls thc
sLructurcs that can be describedby meansof controllablestatements aboutthe
results of experiments and measuremcnts"appearances."From the new
perspcctive,a theory needsto be cmpiricallyadequate.That is, [o includeat
least one model, so that its appearances are isomorphicto the empirical
structuresof said model. The entire constructiveempiricism consists in
variations on a similar theme, meant to oft'er both a metamorphosisof
empiricism and, at the same time, an alternativcto realism in contemporary
Later I will try to bnng fbrth argumentsto demonstratcthat, althoughit
advancesan originalalternativeto [he optionsof realism,this option doesnot
seemviable.The spectacular metamorphosis of empiricism,from logical into
constructive.fails to also involve the rejectionof'ontologicalassurnptions in
L o g i ca lP os it iv is m .
Van Fraassen characterizes the rangeof realisticpositions,from Wilfrid
Sellars'smetaphysicalrealism to Hilary Putnam'sinternalrealism, by two
main theses:(l) Throughits theories,scicnceintcndsto tcll us a litcrally true
story of what thc world is likc. (2) The acceptanceof a scientific theory
assulnesthe belief that the thcory is true. Consequently,the irnperceptible
entitiespostulatedby theorydo exist in reality.In oppositionto the thesesof
scientificrealism,constructiveempiricismholds that: (l) scienceintendsto
off-erus theorics that are empirically true; (2) the acceptanceof a scientiflc
theory requiresyou only believe that it is empiricallyadequate.As can be
easily seen,the main differencebetweenscientificrealismand constructive
empiricismis that betweeniiteral truth and empirical adequacy,taken as aims
of scienceand criteria in the acceptanceof the theory. Lel. us not forget that,
t\ P ltilosop hical M etannrpho,si.g ri3

ils shown, in constructivcernpiricism,a theory is cmpirically adequateif it

includcs at lcast onc modcl that actual phenorncna1lt. f'hus, errpirical
adcquacydoes not link the acceptancco1'a theory to the existenceo1'non-
observationalobjects or processesthat should correspondto theoretical
entitiesor to thc correspondence clf our theoreticalentitieswith an ob.jective
rcality.Thc critcrionof ernpiricaladequacyof the theory is obviouslyweaker
than that ol' the verification or confirmation of i(s truth. Assessingthc
significanceo1' this modiflcation, van Fraassenconcludesthat the ncw
criterion, his cmpirical zrdcquacy,would finally allow f or tl're cl'ficicnt
clirninationol metaphysicsliom scientilicdiscourse.
Wh ilc it is not m y p u rp o s cto ma k e a d e ta i l e da nal ysi sol ' sornereal l y
intcrestingaspcctsof' the philosophicalposition adoptcdby van Fraassen,I
wo u l d l i k e t o as k a qu e s ti o nl h a t s e e msc o n c l u s i veto me. W i thi n thi s
ntctamorphosis liorn logical empiricismto constructiveempiricism,are the
ontologicalassurnptions ol-crnpiricisrnabandoned, are they moditied, or afe
thcy maintained/
As a rule, thc analysisol'thc problemis cornplicatedby the lact tha'Lthe
adhcrents cll' empiricisrn rcluse to explain their irnplicit ontolo-eical
cotnmitrnentand to subjcotit to critical analysis.Van Frarassen seemsto be
the exceptionto the rule. He acceptsto speakaboutontolo-{icalcommitment.
Yet he placesit at the observational level alone,consideringthat ar:ceptinga
nerv theot'yshould not crcateany other clntologicalcommitment,since the
d e scri p tiv eex c c llenc ea t th e o b s e rv a ti o n alle v e l i s thc onl y gcnui ne
measuremcnto1'any thcorcticaltruth. According [o van Fraassen,bcing an
cmpiricistprcsupposes a triple commitment:not to bclieve in zrnythingthat
goes bcyond the admittcd actual phenomena;to trcat scienccas a way of
scarchingfbr truth, aimcd at actual observablcphcnomena;and to firmly
leject any explanaticln of regularitiesgiven throughassumedtruths about a
rcalitylying bcyondwhat is actualand perceptible.re
What do we find'/ That the assumptionof the classicalempiricisrnis
adopted.Accordingto it, thc debateon the issueol'truth shouldbe centered
on the cognitivestaLusol'thc isolatedindividualtruth. The subjectis placed
outsidethe empiricistworld; his/herrcflectionswould not be influencedby
logical structuresand would deliberatelyplace himself/herselfoutside the
realm of language.As a rule, many philosophersol' sciencewho reject the
unilateralismof the enrpiricistpositionadoptedby Lo-eicalPositivismtry to
go bcyond crnpiricismand enter one or anotherof the orbits of scientillc
realism.T'he constructiveernpiricisrnupheld by van Fraassenalso aims at
su rp a ssing t he unilat c ra l i s m o f th e l o g i c a l -e mpi ri ci stapproach i n
epistcrnology.Yct, this way, it does nothing rnorc l"hanproceedliom onc
linguisticlbrm to anotherlinguisticor structuralfbrm o1'empiricism.
Acc or ding [ o c o n s tru c ti v c en rp i ri c i s m. p h i l osophi cal probl crns
p ro cl a i m edm c aninglesbs y l c l g i c a cl n rp i ri c i s rna rc c o m promi sedas genui ne
cognitivc ones. Although constructivccmpiricism acceptsthe constructive
dimensionof scientificknowledgeand rejectsreductionismcharacteristic ol'
the standardparadi-emclf thcorics,it maintainsthc dogma ol' rcductionism.
Thc do-ernasurvivesthrou-ehthc assumptionthat the test on the truth o1'our
theoricson non-observzrtional realitiesis offcrcd by crnpiricaladcquacy.That
is, the observationiilcxcellcnceis takcn scparatelyand not in the contextof
Whilc lhc dogm a o n re d u c ti o n i s mi s ta c i tl y a cccptcd,constl ucti vc
e mp i ri cis mr c t ainst hc em p i ri c a ol p i n i o nth a t s c i e n c eh a s,i n termso1' val uc.a
neutralbasisand it is detachedliom socialprocess;accordingto it, l'actsand
lcl g i ca s the only c ogniti v cd e te rm i n a n ts o 1 ' s c i e n c eH. o wever,an ontol ogi cal
commitmcnt o1' the issue of truth remains necessary,ablc to surpassthe
simplistic undcrstandingol' correspondence,without rcsorting to the
a b a n d o nm entof a r ealisti cs p i ri t.
Rejectingthc truth as a relationof partial and rclativecorrespondcncc,
co n stru ct iv cem pir ic is mc a n n o te x p l a i nw h y th c rea re t hcori cs,w hi ch, w hi l e
basedclnstatements aboutunobservable cntities,still let us discovcrnew l'acts
and in'egularities.It scemsto placatcthc nced lbr explanationtl-ratrcalism
e mp l o ys.Neit her is t he n e e d l b r a s s c s s m e nsta ti s l l cd,si nce the empi ri c
adequacyo1'arnodelautomaticallyentailsa Yesanswcrto the question:Is the
theorytrue? We know that a Ies answeris valid only when the givcn answer
rnightalsobe No. To answerthc epistcmological and axiologicalrequircmcnts
o1'contemporaty scicncc,we needto not only go beyondthc narrow realm ol'
the linguisticanalysisperformedby logical empiricism,but also beyondthe
scientificmodelsscrutinizedby constructiveempiricism.Lct us move toward
suchan ontologicalcommitmentof the issueo1'truththat is able to transccnd
thc crude undcrstanding of thc statementcorrespondence with the existencc.
Such intent is indispcnsablewhen we considerthe bcneficial impulse that
co n stru c t ivccm pir ic is mg i v e sto p h i l o s o p h i c aclo n te mpl ati on.
Thc cmergenceo[' thc constructivcempiricism on thc philosophical
sccnc scemsl"ohzrvehad totally dil'l'crcntclfects than those anticipated.As
Hilary Putnam rentarkcdin a dispute with van Fraassen,thc hot dcbates
generatedby the metamorphosisof logical cmpiricism into constructive
cmpiricism lcad [o thc conclusion that the contemporaryphilosophical
projectswill be achievedwith lcss errors il' wc are liee liom any lbrrn ol'
rcd u cti o nis mT. hc r c lor e ," rc v i v i n g a n d re v i ta l i z i n gth e rcal i sti cspi ri t i s thc
im p o rta ntt as k f or a ph i l o s o p h c a r t th i s ti m c .rr2lt) 1 i s a concl usi onI share
becausethrough it the mirage of a non-philosophical culturc vanishes.The
chancc of a new alliance between scicnce and philosophy arises in the
p o stmo der nisctult ur c ,ba s c do n th e c o rl m o n n e e d so 1 ' ancpi stcmol ogi cal as
w cl l a s ax iologic alnat u re T . h u s .c u l tu rcrc m a i n sa s p c c i fi cal l yhumanreal m,
thc diversecomponcntsof which will preservetheir axiolo-ricalspecificity.
They are complementary, yet irreducibleto eachothcr.

Reductionismto Literatureand the Temptationof a

1. Difficulties of the Theory of Post-PhilosophicalCulture

Concernedwith the attemptsol' the precursorsclf the Parnassianschool to

isolateart fiom its naturalbonds with the other ways in which the hurnan
being spirituallyrelatesto thc world, CharlesBaudelaireexpresseshis hopc
that the unnaturalnessof a literature paying tributc to an atmosphere
propagatinganti-philosophicalprejudice will remain a mere unpleasant
mcrnory.ln The Pagan School,Baudelaireurgcsfor a cleaneratmospherein
which literaturcneedsto invigoratciLslbrccs.Hc cnvisionsthe momentwhen
wc undcrstandthc lact that any literaturcdcclining to step betweenscicncc
and philosophyis a murderousand suicidalliterature.'
Signalsare that the timc ol understanding cnvisionedby Baudelairein
thc ncar luture has not yet arrived.The pagan schoolendangeringthe sacred
unity ol- art, screncc,and philosophy has its own lollowers. With one
correction.The old adage,Literature,bewctreoJ'philosoph)'!,isreplacedby
thc new phrase,Literature, substitute.fbrphilosoph,t,/In other words, if the
Baudelaireandispute criticizt:d those who placed literature bcyond any
scientil'icor philosophical"contact,"today we witnessthe developmento1'a
tentativeinfluenceto place literaturebeyondphilosophy.It is about the so-
callcd "theory oi post-philosophical culture" that has gaincd more precise
co n to u r sdue t o t he s t ir r i n g y, e t a l s omi s l e a d i n ge,s s a y so l ' R i chardR orty.l
Despitehis vibratingpraiscfor thc historyof art, GeorgW. F. Hegelhad
littlc trust in its future as a pre-philosophical state of the absoluteidea. In
contrastwith Hcgcl, Rortv hasgrcattrustin the futureof art as "the queen"cll'
p o st-p hilos ophic calult u re .Ag a i n s t th e b a c k g ro u n do f l cgi ti macycri si s i n
philosophy,Rorty restatedFriedrichSchlcgcl'shopc to listento the voice ol'
poctrywhen the powcrsof philosophyslaokencd.
The startingpoint of Rorty's rellectionsis the demonstration ol'the lact
that philosophyhas gaineda dominantand unilying role in culture after thc
rnoderndiff'erentiation ol' valuesand the withdrawalof philosophyli'ornunder
the authorityof rcligion. But, by ruling itself out of the "republicof letters,"
and by mirnickingthe esotericlanguageof science,philosophywas -uradually
caughtin a turmoil of rcassessments which broughtit on thc vcrgc of a crisis
ol 'l e g i tir nac yT. he c laim so l ' p h i l o s o p h yth a t i t i s a b l eto deci pherthe ul ti matc
nerturcof rcality or to f ind the primordial principlesol- culturc havc bccn
virtually abandoned. Its influenceon the idealsof lifc hasrcduccd.According
to Rorty, the rcason is that art shows an incrcasingtendencyto rcplacc
rcfigion and philosophyin rnoldingand comibrtingthe agonizedconsciencc
ol .th e yo ung. Nov els an d p o e msa re n o w th e p ri n c i p almeansby w hi ch a
bri g h t yout h gains s c lf ' - i ma g cWe . l i v e i n a c u l t,u rei n w hi ch putti ng orl c' s
m o ra lscn s it iv it yint < lword si s n o t c l e a rl yd i s ti n g u i s h efrom d cxhi bi ti ngone' s
Ii t c r a r ys c n s i b i liict s . l
As Har old B loon r, w h o m R o rty a l s o i n v o k e s i n support ol ' hi s
arsunlents,puts it, thc tcachcrof litcraturcwill be condemncdto tcachin thc
luture the prescntness of' the past, becausehistory,philosophy,and religion
havc withdrawnas agentsfiom thc "Soeneol'Instruction."4
Undcr thesc circumstanccs.Rorty declaresthat it is high timc that
philosophysttlppcdtrcatingliterarturc with an air ol'superioritybut took into
accountthat we cnteredthe stage of post-philosophical culturc. It is time
philosophyccascdto olaim anotherpurposein additionto that ol'entertaining
a convglsationcarriedon by pcoplc throughthc centur^ies with the rvorld and
wi th th ci r 'own pr oblc m s .' Ih c c s s e n ti ath l i n g i s n o t to l ook fbr chi mcri cal
clitcria for thc trcatmento1'controvcrsies by argumcntsand founclingculturc
ne varietur,but, lttllorvingthe model of litcrature,to crcatca nc\,vvocabulary
and ncw lbrnrs ol' cxpressionto allow thc conversationol' humatrity to
c o n ti n u e .
Thc rcally cxaspcrating thing aboutliteraryintcllectuals.ll'om thc point
of vi e w ol' t hos e inc linc dto w a rds c i e n c co r p h i l o s o p h y,i s thei r i nabi l i tyto
engagein such argumcntation, to agrceon what would count toward settling
disputes,on thc critcria to which all sidcs should appeal. In a post-
philosophicalculturc,this cxzrspcration would not bc I'clt.s
In Rorty's vicw. philosophymusttakeinto accountthe historicalplocess
by w h i ch it s m es s ianicd e l i ri u m i s u n d e rm i n e dc, s p e c i al l yw hen tw enti eth-
ccnturytcxtualismaims to placc literaturcin the centerand trcat both scicncc
and p h i l o s ophyas .at bc s t,Ii te ra ryg c n rc s .t' Ph i l o s o pshhyoul dconstantl gl y fcr
ncrv eloquentcxpressions of the'humanreactionto the troublingspcctaclco1-
the univcrse,it should kcep thc spirit in a "poctic amazemcnt"propitiousto
-{raspingwhatcveris new underthe sun,and it shouldoutlinean autongmous
litcra ryg enr cpr oud ol' it s s ty l i s ti cv i rtu e s In . a p o s t-p h i l osopl i i cal
cul ture.i t
w ou l d b e cleart hatt his is a l l th a tp h i l o s o p h yc a nb e .7
At a s uper f lc ialglet n c cR. o rty ' sp l e a fo r a p o s s i b l ea nd dcsi rabl ccul ture
whcre literature,particularlypoctry, should take ovcr the place previously
hcl d b y philos ophym c r c l y re s u m c so n c o f th e o b s c s si ons of' R ornanti ci sm.
So rn cw o u ld c ons idc rt ha t a rt l -u l l l tl srts ro l e rn s o l ' aar s phi l osophi cthi nki ng
demonstrates its ability to conccptuallyscrutinizcthe human conciition.Thc
Romantics came to considcr poctry a subscquentand ultimate form o[
phi l o so p hics pc c ulat ion. T h i s i s th e re a s o nw h y R o rty i n vokesthc supportol '
I t o ma n ti ct r adit ion.Y c t , w h i l c S c h l e g eal n d N o v a l i srn a i ntai nthatphi l osophy
re so rtsto lit c r at ur ewit h t h c d c c l a rc di n tc n ti o no l ' b c c o rn i nsa l ornt ol ' uot' si s.
l )iJ'fit'ulticsol tlrc'['haoryof Po.tt-PhilosophiculOulturc fi7

o1-thetitanic creationof the world, Rorty urgesliteratureto takc upon itself

thc rnissionusuallyassumcdby philosophyin modcrnculture.Thc so-callcd
theoryof post-philosophical culturcintendsto dcf'endthe claim that literature
lias displaccdphilosophyas the presidingdisciplincol'contenporaryculture.
In thc pursuito1'aphilosophicalfoundationftrr the practiccsol'contcnporal'y
criticistn, thc thcorist ol' thc post-philosophical culture departs fi'om tht:
originalinspirationol'Romanticistn, drawingupon it only insolaras he or she
attributesto it a specialsignilicancc.Rclrtycalls"Romanticism"the thesisthat
rvl-rat is ntost importantfbr humanlif-eis not what propositionswc accept,bul
wh a t vo cabular ywc t is e.*
Romanticismthus becomcsthe attributeof a mode in which we relatc
spirituallyto the rvorld,which opposesthc tolcrationo1'creativeimagination
to thc dcspotismof rcason. in [urn, presupposes the preservationof an
agrecmentof conscienceswith rcspectto the acceptancc ol'the uscfulness ol'a
vocabulary and thc rclcvancc o1' a tcxt, When Baudelaire exclaims
patheticaliy,"l want red-coloredllelds and blue-colorcdtrees,""Rorty dcles
not idsntily him as a rcprcsentativc of Romanticismwho views modern art
and litcratureas dcsigncdto rc-builda world able to satisfythe thirsLlbr thc
absoluteor philosophy.Hc identifiesBaudelaireas a precursorol' thc new
prist-philosophical Romanticismwho perccivesmodern art and literatureas
dcsigned to rc-build, by substitutingthemsclveslor philosophy,the li'ail
brid-ees linking humanbeingsto the world.
Baudelaireis not only the poetof modernity,but alsoits aesthctician. He
is the first to use, in 1859, the term "modernity," with rel'erenceto the
particularityol'an art airnedat settingcreativeimaginationas f'ar as possible
away from the canons of absolutc bcauty by building an aesthctic
conligurationable to transfigurercality and compctcwith it. But Rorty's plea
lirr a post-philosophical culturc finds itsclf {ar from Baudclairc'sidca o1'
r n o d crn it ywhic h giv c s up th c c l a s s i c aol u l t l o r a b s o l u t ebcautyand i nvol ves
thc discontinuity and interdcpendence ol' autononrouslorms ol' culture.
Idorty's cultulal rnodel in whictr literature takcs ovcr thc philosophical
plerogative unnaturallyshilis the emphasisliom treating the relationship
betwccnlitcraturcand philosophyin terms o1'coordination, autonomy,valuc
equivalence,and interdependenc;e to an approaohin torms of subordination,
heteronomy,valuehierarchy,and dcpendence.
A connotationof Baudelaire'snotion of modernity appearsonly in
Ii.orty'sattemptto dircct attentiontowardthc ideaof a brcaklrom culturethat
hasbeenlegitirnizedby philosophicalconsiderations and thus toward the idea
ol' discontinuitywith the past. But this idea, which, lbr a long tin-re,has
aclcquatcly graspedthe signil'icance ol'innovativetrends,acquiresa shrill and
anachronistic tone in the currentdebateson the characteristics of.postmodertt
culture:no breachr,viththe past,a non-consolatory retrieval,unity between
c r r n t i n uyi ta n dd i s c o n t i n u i t y .
Rorty's attempt to forecastthe future of art is basedon the erroneous
presuppositions that thc cardinalproblcmof contemporary cultureis to set up
a new hierarchyof {brms. But, in a debateon postmodernculture, Jcan-
FranEoisLyotard pointed out that thc csscntialproblem o1' contemporary
cu l tu rei s t hatof legit ima c y ." '
Lyotard definesas postmodernthe statcof culturc that hasresultedfiom
the rccent translbrmationswhich have affbcted the rulcs of the game in
science,literaturc,and the arts.He declaresthat speculativephilosophywill
havc to relinquishits legitimrzingfunctions."His analysistakesinto account
solcly the speculativeclaims of ne varietur lounding. The purpose ol'
philosophy in thc general cultural contcxt bccomes that o1 providing
plovisional,revisablc,and partial legitimacyopposcd,on the miclo-logical
lcvcl, to speculation.As Lyotard rightly claims, the downfall o1- old
metaphysicsdoesnot incvitablyresultin pragmatism,and it does not lbllow
fro m th i s t hatphilos oph yi ts e l l ' h a sto b e c o mea n a rt.r2
By cxtendingLyotard's interpretation,we can scc that to adequatcly
graspthe future ol art and makc conceptuallyintelligiblethe new allianceof
philosophy,scicnccs,and the arts, againstthe backgroundof a legitimacy
crisis of speculativcrationalitywith absolutistclaims,the option betweenthe
approachto this metamorfhosisin termsof moving liom a philosophicalto a
post-philosophical culturc and lrom modernity to postmodernitybecomes
decisivc.In the first casc,becauseof inadequate conceptualization,we reerch
the conclusionthat a philosophywhich abandonsthe pride of building a
categorialmatrix apt to bring all thc othcr forms of culturc in fiont of an
almighty tribunal of met.aphysical reason wcluld become a discourseo1'
crcative imagination.Such a discoursewould bc similar to an approach
specificto literature.Here we are in Rorty's ccnterof gravityof the new post-
philosophicalculture.In the secondcase,philosophyremainsitsclf and meets
the demandsol'releveint integrationof the humanconditioninto thc contextof
the connectcdculturaltrcnds,thc constellation of values,and the invenLoryof
proccduresand attitudcswe call postmodernism.r3 Philosophyis no longer
situatedon the level of an all-lcgitimizing"mctadiscoursc"above sciences
and arts,but sideby sidewith them,with its own identityand equalrights.By
sh i fti n g t he em phas is fi o m th e e p i s te mi c -c e n tritco the axi occntri c,rJ
philosophyalso bccomcsa privilegedinstanceof postmodcrnculture,capablc
of scrutinizingthc world of valuesas a wholc in which art and philosophy
takeup their own places.
Lately, a tcndcncy to detect unsuspectedanalogiesbctween art and
philosophy has been cncountcrcd.Jaakko Hintikka establishesa relevant
analogybetweenHusserland Cubist painting.Startingfrom the distinction
between noemato, tncanings. and ob.iects,things meant, Husserl saw
phenomenology as the studyof noemata.Hintikka seesPicassopicking up the
samcdistinctionwhentelling GertrudeSteinthat he paintedthingsthe way he
D iJJicult i es o.l't| rc'I'hertry o.fPrtst -Plti Io,top hi cu I Culrur e ti9

knew them to bc rathcr than as thcy looked.Hintikka draws the conclusion

that the way phcnomenologyis supposedto be a philosophicalstudy of
noemata,thc samcway cubismis the art of noemata.i5
By virtue ol such analogies,cspeciallythosc bctwcenphilosophyand
literature,a questionis ficquently askcd, Can philosopht,be reconciledr,tr
rennitedwith literatLtre /"'
The answersto this questiondivide opinionson the futureof philosophy
and literature.Thc partisanso{' a post-philosophical culturc are in f'avor of
reuniting philosophywith litcrature,with thc risk of rnistakingthe poctic
virtues of imagistic languagc for the expressivevirtues of conceptual
lan-euage. They considcrthat we would do well to see philosophyas just
another literary genre.'t They see philosophy and literature as different
cxerciseso1'the samc creativc imagination.They will thereby support l-he
proliferationof a type of works that are unsuccessfully trying to compensate
for the absenceof a spccificallyphilosophicalargumcntationby meanso1-
litcrary eff-ectsand lor thc absenceol' proper literary qualiticsby meansof
allegat ionIE
p h i l o so phic al s.
From thc perspectiveof an axioccnLricontology o1' the human,
postmodernculturcopensthe way to reconciliation,to a ncw allianceamong
rirt, scienc:c,and philosophy.Litcrature,art in ,{eneral,has ncver been and
cannot be a substituteof philosophy.Today we witness a transitionfiom
rnodernityto postmodernity.An art in searchlor its road toward the future
increases its need f or philosophy by diff'erentiation,heteromorphism,
indeterminacy,a pluralism of innovation that retricvcs tradition without
consolation,by crcativcquestsfor axiologicallandmarksin their innovations.
Thc sarncchangesin the culturalparadigmhavc turnedinto a logical scandal
the attemptsto rcconsl,ruct ontology,the philosophyof culturc,and ethicsin
disregardof the philosophicalrclevanccof art. In this context,let me recall
thc motto to a book writtenby GastonBachclard,wcll-knownfor his rcsearch
as a philosophero1'scicncc:"Poetsmust be the primary study object of any
philclsopheri1'hc wants to know mankind.""'With Paul Ricoeur, literature
opensthe gateto a possiblecouplingol hcrmeneutics with phcnornenology, in
iin attemptto direot ontologytoward a global comprehension ol'culture.Thc
advocatcsol' the analytical school themselvcsno longcr consider art as
philosophicallyirrelevant.Togetherwith RobertNozick, they claim thal"only
by rooting thc philosophicaldiscoursein the conceptuallanguageof sciencc
and in the imagisticlanguageo1'artcan philosophybecomca supportand a
hope to overcomethc clbstacles barring the cultural progressof humanity.
Fertile interdependencebetween philosophy and science and hetween
philosophyand literaturehasbeenemphasized.
Philosophyemergestodayas rclatedto literaturethroughits axiocentric
purpose,sincc both, in conjunction,pursucthe undcrstanding of the place ol'
lact in a world of valucsand not of thc nlaceof valucsin a world of {-acts, its
sciencedoes.Thus, they have the missionto entertainthe self-conscicnce of
human beings,o1-theirfundamcntalattributesas bcings creatingvaluesand
r ca l i zi n gthc m s c lv es
t hr o u g hv a l u e sT
. h i s i s th c p ro l o u n dmeani ngo1' l -udw i g
Wi ttg e n s t ein' cs onlbs s io n": I m a y Ii n d s c i e n ti fi cq u e s ti onsi ntercsti ng,but
they never really grip mc. Only conceptualand aestheticquestionsdo [hat [o
Wc should not disregardthc fact that conccptualqucstionsancl the
philosophicalworks dealingwith them have their own irreducibleauronomy.
In their own way, thcy resortto thcoreticalargumentsaimcd at diminishingor
supprcssingambiguity, while poems and novels are works of fiction that
createan acstheticuniversewith a plurality of meanings.This explainsthc
puhlic reactionsto thc conceptualconstructions o1 philosophy,which resortto
rcsponsivcnessto argunrents,to intellcctual options, diff-crentfrom thc
complex aesthetic reactions to litcrary creations, primarily targeted at
axiologicalsensitivcness. The distinctionsare also clear with regarclto style.
Thc beautyo1'philosophicalstyle pcrtainsto abstraction,not to scnsitivity.
styleof literarytcxtsaitrtsat crcatingimagcsof intmutablcoriginalityancl
unl i mi te ds y nr bolis mand
, i t ru l e s o u t th e ri g o rs o f mcthod.In phi l osophy,
method is presentas an cstablishedstyle, a style of philosophywhich has
Ibrsottenits origins.
Tlicsc arc, itt briel', a I'cw considerationsto the cffect that literature
ca n n o ta s s um et hc plac eo 1 ' p h i l o s o p hiyn a p h i l o s o p h i cal
cul ture.P hi l osophy
and art will rernainpermanentlyrelatedby their roots in the intcrrogations on
the humancondition.As rclatecllbrms oi-culturc.yet originaland irreducible,
thcy will continueto exist in the luture in permanentsirnultaneityanclneithcr
will cver bc willing to transformitself to replacethe other.
In disregardof this point o1'view, loversof culturewho claim that it is
neccssaryto conl'erupon litcraturethe philosophicalattributesr.rf the age
erl-readseemttt litrset that, in the realm of spiritualvalucs,any transgression
againstautononryleopardizes thc wholc of culture.

2. Post-Philosophyor Postmodernism?

II'rcduclionismto sciencesumrnonsthc philosophicalrcflectionsol' scicntists

in its aid, then literature,as promotedby the theory o{' post-philosophical
culture,fabricatcsits predecessors by summoningthe aestheticmeditationof
the poet.Les.fleursdu mal is insistentlyinvokcd.We are told that, {iom his
cnthusiastnfbr Delacroix'sromanticpaintings,Baudelairccrosseclthc road
that broughthim to the thrcsholdof a pragmaticunderstanding o1'ugly,evil.
{-ictittn.Baudclaireis placeditmong those who havc fathcredthc charterol-
inoderll literatureand addressed philosophycondescendingly, fiorn a highcr
perspcctivc,by virtueof their cxclusivcpassionlbr the arts.
P o st- P h ilo sop lty or P o.s[mode rn i sn L'/ 9l

Screaminginjustice! Baudelairedid not acccptthc exclusivismof those

who judged culture as a whole by using criteria and exigenciesof artistic
cssence,and he stresscdthat thc passionfbr art is an all-dcvcluring cancer.He
severelyand frequentlycriticized tlie error of the philosophicalart which
rcsortsto childishhieroglyphto discoverthe truth or to del'endjustice instcad
of' pursuing the intrinsic aesthetic linality characteristicof a work of
imagination.Baudelaireaffirms that if the literary work is well written,
nobody will f-eellrke violatrngthe laws of nature.Hc deflesanyoneto f ind
cven a singlework of imaginationmeetingall the conditionsof the bcautif'ul
yet being harmful.In this scnsc,Baudelaire'splea lbr thc irrcduciblcspecific
of art has nothing in common with the formalisticdepreciationof mural
valuesor with thc anticipationof the pragmaticabandonof truth. Hc asserts
that the absenceol justicc and truth from art is tantamountto the ahsenceol'
art. What Baudclairerefusesto acceptis a literatureassumingcxtrinsicgoals
and giving up its prcrogativcsto teach history, cthics, and philosophy.
Literaturewill rcrnain literature.Didactic, philosophizingpretensesrisk to
debaseliteratureand hijack it from its purpose.Is art useJ'ul? asksBaudelaire.
And he answers,Yes.WhyTBecauseit is urt.)t Thc ansr,ver cannotvouch lor a
post-philosophicalculture governed by a literatureable to substitutefor
p h i l o so phy .
AlongsideRcn6Huyghe,thosetrying to pclccivc the profoundmeaning
of Baudclaire'saestheticand philosophicrneditationscan easily realizethat
they expresshis aspirationto new literaryand philosophicalbondsand outline
a theoryscatteredall over his writings on art. The theory is the philosophical
awareness of what his art was trying to achievo.22
Thc novelty of Baudelaire'sAesthetic Curiosities23resides in his
considering the concretc manifcstations of litcraturc and arts as mere
landmarkson the way meditation pursuesits path toward philosophical
dcbatcs.Baudelaircl-clt thc need to clarify his acstheticc:onsciencc. For a
while, his thirsL for philosophic introspectionbrought him closc to the
dcceptivctemptations of a system.He cclnt'essesto his scveralattemptsto lock
himselfup insidea syste.m fiom wherehe would have f'eltliec to preach.But
hc linds the systernto be a kind of curse,driving him to perpctualdenial.You
must constantlytry to invent anothersystem. needfor philosophizingled
him throughsuccessive philosophicalapostasies beyondthe presentcanonso1'
the systemin perpetualdelay with respectto the universalhumanbeing and
lbr ever running after the multiform beautyof life. Reachingto embracea
philosophy ablc to nurture the conncctionbetr.veen the rational discourse
directed toward knowing the truth and impeccablesincerity, Baudelaire
linally admitsthat his philosophicalconscience has found its respite.What he
reproachesin "philosophism" is not its philosophicalstructure,but its
unyieldingschematics, not its integratingontologicalvision,but the obsession
of building closcd systems,the idcas of which are rcmotc from thc motlcy
variety of human cxpcrience.It is not the rationalityof the method,but thc
type ol' reductionistrationalitythat disparagesthe virtues of sensibilityand
If B audelair c ' phis l o s o p h i c aels s a y se x p re s sa n d cl ari l y the conccptsof
his acstheticcreed, wc must not forgct that, lbr thosc who insist on the
deliberateimpersonalityof his poems,this creed is not a prclcction of his
enrpiricalself. Thc fact that today Les.fleursdu mal is consideredone ol'the
sourcesof'thc contcmporarypoctic movcmentshouldbe corrclatedto another
fact. Baudelairestartedto depersonalize modernpoetry.Baudelaire's1 is no
longer the cmpirical 1 of traditionalRomanticism,which points to a hreak
fro m Edgar A . P oe' s " i n to x i c a ti o no l ' th e h e a rt." In thi s context, w c
understandBaudelaire'stributeto imaginationscenas thc queenof facultics
and involvcd in all functionso1-theart in ordcr to creatc,both in agreement
with and in oppositionto the naturaluniverse,a univcrsctraverscdby thc
supernaturalartiflciality of values.Thus, art respondsto thc eternalhuman
needto build and rebuildthat consensus betweenworld orderand thc orderof
valuesthat offerslif-eits ontologicalcontour.
Rot ' t y ' sdis c our s a
c g a i n sat l i te ra tu re
a x i o l o g i c a l l ygui dedby phi l osophy
culminateswith a plea fbr post-philosophical literature,a literatureconccrned
with the conversational cfficienoyand communicationof thc text beyondany
aspirationtoward truth. Thc Baudelaireandiscourscagainsta literaturethat
leavesthe areasol' spiritualityin the name of the photographicfidelity to a
positivisticallyconceivednature,culminatesin alarm. Baudelaireconsiders
that by continuingtcl evolve as a copy of nature,art will cancelitself.For an
artist, imagination is the queen of truth and the possible is one of the
provincesof truth.2rBaudelairemakesusc of the conceptof'supernaturalism
in art in order not to reject truth, but to cndow truth with a content, in
consonancewith thc availabilityof modernart to use nature's"dictionaryof
lorms" to go beyond naturc,in thc world of human values,where natureis
"absorbed"and transliguredby the axiologicalscnsibilityand ludgmentof the
Rorty's attemptto discoverthe characteristics of our cra's culturepays
tributeto both his pragmattcparti-pris and the constitutiveconfusionsol'the
conccptof post-philosophical culture.Rorty wantst.osign the deathcertificatc
of a p h i l os ophy - im buecdu l tu re .B u t th a t w h i c h h c c o n si ders deadstaysal i ve
through the very phrase, "post-philosophicalculture," which rcnders
philosophyas a ref-erence term in the outline ol' currenttcndencies.A falsc
issucis thus bcing dcbated:which cultural fleld, sciencc,art, may take over
the former prerogativesof philosophy'/The whole discourseis bascdon thc
tacit and erroneousassumptionaccordingto which the cardinal issuc of
contemporaryculture is that of- re-hierarchization o{' its fornrs. Or, with
contemporaryoulture,the essentialissueis that of its bcing legitimized.
nt Style,r,r, Lilersture os Plilosopll"' 93

3. "Philosophy as Style and Literature as Philosophy"

Thc debates in reccnt years over the relation between literature and
philosophyhave brought lbrward the option for either a new type ol their
alliancewithin culture,or for transitiontoward a type o1-culture meant to
transformphilosophyinto a literary genre.The first option is pursued,with
typical ditlbrencesand nuances,by the theoreticians of postmodernism.The
secondoption is pursuedby the partisansof the so-callcd"post-philosophical
The diverging connotationsof the option are revealcd by a debate
initiatcd a l'ew ycars ago by The Monisf. Thc topic was Philosophl,as Style
und Literature as Philosophl'.The authorsof thc articlesare quasi-unanimous
in admitting that duc to an unjustificd inferiority complex in the facc ol'
science,the philosophyof Logical Positivismmimed its jargon, and, in some
casesan aberrantstyle was reachcd.From lhc texts of Plato and Aristotlc,
Michel de Montaignc and David Humc, Jean-JacquesRousscau and
ImmanuelKant, John Dcwey and Martin Hcidegger,a privategamc has been
developedby sorneprof-essionals who spcnd their erudition in specialized
rcvicw to establishif the sentence, Thereore gra\t thingsand thereore cows,
is bcttcrexpressed by the formula:

(3 x ).E,x w .(3 x.Ex

) y
o r by
(l x ).Bx .(3 x ).C x

Donald Henze observes that this is a cornputerizedstyle reflecting a

hypotheticalcomputerized conceptionaboutthc world: form without contcnt,
price without valuc, sight without vision.tt To avoid abdicationfiom the
function of philosophyand to counterattack the maligningeffectsof logicist
scicntism,the authorsproposea re-cstablishment of thc traditionalsituation,
when valuablephilosophicalwritings were also good literatureor, at lcast,
they would have some virtues of literary and stylistic nature. Could
philosophybe reconciledor reunitedwith literature'/asksHenze.
The answersto this questionseparatethe participantsin the debate.The
partisansof post-philosophicalculturefavor the "reunion"of philosophywith
litcrature.As Bouveresse observed,they run the risk of confusingthe poetical
virtues of imagistic languagewith the expressivcvirtues of conceptual
language . They might alsoconsiderthatphilosophyand literatureare diffcrent
cxercisesof the same creativeimagination.Thus, they would support the
prolil-erationof some kind of works that try, unsuccessfullythough, to
compensatefor the lack of argumentscharacteristicof philosophyby literary
cftbcts, and for the absenceof the qualiticscharacteristicof literature,by
Thosc probing into the fbrceful lines of postmodernculturecan fbresceat
pclssiblc and desirable reconciliation,what Prigoginc called the "new
alliancc," betweenliteraturcand philosophy.That is, thc cstnblishmentof
somcconnectionsbetwcenliteratureand philosophy.
Literatureor literary criticism havc never substitutedfor philosophy.
Our cra ampliliesart's needlbr philosophy.It does it throughdiff'erentiation,
openness,heteromorphism,indcterminance,pluralism ol' innovation in
recclveringtradition,and a crcativescarchfbr axiologicallandmarks.But thc
samechangesin the culturalparadigmturn into genuinelogical scandaithc
attemptsto relruildthe ontologyof the human,epistemologv,the philosophy
of cultureor ethics,in disregardol'thc philosophicalrclevanceof art.
For cxamplc, with Ricoeur, literature opens up the way toward a
possibleconnectionof hermeneuticswith phenomenologyin an attemptto
direct ontologytowarda desirablcglobal cornprehcnsion of culture.Evcn thc
representatives crf thc "analyticalschool" ceaseto considerart irrelevantin
terms of philosophy.Togetherwith Hilary Putnamand RobertNozick, they
claim that only throughthe twolbld rooting of thc philosophicaldiscourscin
fhe conceptuallanguageof scienceand in the imagisticlanguageof art could
philosophybecomea hopein ovcrcomingthe obstacleshamperingthc cultural
progressr-rl'humankind. This way, thc interdependence betwcenphilosophy
and science,or betweenphilosophyand liter:rturc,dccpens.But thesclitcrary
and philosophicalconncctionscannotbc explained.as Rorty bclieves,through
the common pra-smaticconscience,abandoningtruth in the nante of thc
"innovatingvocabularies," and the textualistconscience, the ability to respond
to text ratherthatt to the world.rtThey could be cxplaincdby thc acceptance
o1'a plurality o1'typesof rationality.It is about an irreducibilityo1'the truth
characteristic of the philosophicaldiscourseor ol' thc literarycreationLo the
synthetic-analytic altcrnativeeffectivefor the criteriologyof truth in scientilic
theor-v.This discourscis achicvedby understandingthe connectionto the
wclrld,beyondtcxts,by meanso1'thehumanref'erential alone.
Today philosophy appcars to be related to liferaturc through its
axiocentricdimension.In conjunction,they try to discovcrthe placc of facts
in a world of values,and not the placeof valuesin a world of lar:ts,as science
does.Their missionis to takecareof the humanbeing'sself'-conscience, in its
basioattributcas a creativebcing who self-develops throughcultural values.
This is consistenl. with the profound meaningof Wittgenstein'sconf'ession
that though scientific problcms may interest him, hc is f-ascinatedby
philosophicaland aesthetic problemsonly.28
The regainedfocus on the humanproblemand the explicit assumption
of the axio-centric perspectivcon the side of the great contemporary
philosophicorientationshave allowed for the new connectionsof philosophy
with literatureand havepromptedus fiequentlyto resumeHume's questionas
to whctheror nof philosophyhas a lot to losc if it lails to rcintegrateinto the
"Philo.solthyas StyleanclLiterotureas Philosophy" 95

rcpublic of the letters.We should not forget that philosophy,in Hume's

vision,retainsits functionas backboneof culture.
Today, the complex issues of the postmodern culture demand
philosophicalre-constructionand a counterattackagainst reductionismto
science through the revigoration of the literary and philosophical links.
Philosophicalde-construction and promotionof reductionismto literatureby
turning philosophyinto a "literary genre" are out o1'the question.But both
attemptsto reductionism,to scienceand to literature,althoughdiametrically
opposed, spring from a consciencewhich ignores the autonomy and the
irreducibility of the interdependentdomainsof culture.
Contemporaryliterary and philosophicalconnectionscould be deepened
and amplifiedonly when the irreplaceable specificof the distinctways of the
spiritualrclationwith the world is takeninto consideration.
First of all, philosophy and litcraturediffbr in thc produot o[ thcir
creativity.The productshold e.itheran explanatoryintentionalityable to reveal
the generalhuman significanceof somc knowledgeabout the universc.or an
expressiveintentionalityable to conveysuggestively a pcrsonalprojectionof
the world.
The meansthe artist and the philosophermake use of are also specific
and irreducible.The artist.works exclusively with means pertaining to
intuition and sensitivity.The philosopheroperateswith conceptsand visions
crf utmost abstraction.Literature and philosophy depart from science,ars
demonstrandi,sincethey are variantsof ars inveniendl.Partly, this explains
why their productsarc meantto be receivedin their original form, why their
messagecannot he extractedor paraphrasedwithout being alteredor ruined.
Philosophicalworks resortto their own mannerof theoreticalargumentation
Ineantto diminish or suppressambiguity.Poems and novels are works of
Iiction buildingan aestheticuniversewith a pluralityof meanings.
Hence,the public reactionto the conceptualconstructions of philosophy
appcalingmainly to our responsiveness to arguments,[o our aptitudesfor
intellec{.ualoption, are diff-erentfiom that ol' literary creation engaginga
complex aesthetic reaction and addressedmainly to our axiological
sensitivity,but not to the dianeticaxis of conscience. In fictionalworks, ideas
becclmecharacters.In philosophicalworks, the charactersare ideas.Even with
respei;tto style, relevantin literatureand in philosophy,where all works
enduring the wear of time combine organicallywhat and how, we must
rememberthat the beautyof the philosophicalstyle is of an abstractnature
and not of sensibility.The style of literarytexts,meantto createimageswith
inimitable originality and unlimited symbolism,excludesthe stringencyof
method.In philosophy,method is presentas a sedimentstyle, as a style of
philosophizing,the origins of which havebeen{brgotten.
Theseare someof the considerations by virtue of which literaturecannol
substitutefor philosophyin a supposed"post-philosophical culture,"the way
a philosophygonebeyondthe messianicfever of the uniquetruth claimedby
pre-criticism metaphysicsdoes not ask literature to sacrifice its way of
existence.Philosophyand literaturewill always be connectednot through
their content, but through their roots in the interrogation of the human
conditionand throughtheir drive to completeness.
Disregardingthis point of view, thosewho maintain,in the namcof love
of culture, that it is necessaryto confcr upon literature the attributes of
philosophyin thc era to come, seemto forget that, in the realm of spiritual
values,any trespassing of autonomyendangerscultureas a whole. To avoid
this risk, the disjunction.poetsversusphilosophers, frequentlypresentin the
debateson the metamorphoses of contemporaryculture,shouldbe replacedby
a coniunction.

A Project:The AxiocentricOntology

The Phenomenologyof Valueand the Valueof

In May 1935,in Vienna,EdmundHusserldeliveredhis lectureonThe Crlsis
oJ'European Huntan Existenceand Philosoplq,.Later, hc also delivered a
seriesof lecturesin Prague,bascd on which he developedThe Crisis nf
EurrtpeanSciencesand Trctnscendental Phenomenolog.t,, published after his
death.It is with theseoccasionsthat Husserlestablishedthat the main source
of the crisis resided in a truncatedrationalismcaught up in naturalismand
objectivism and that had lost its original links with the world of life.
Consequently,rationalismhad lost its axiologicaldimension,its ability to
adecquately direct humanity'spracticaland value-assigning reactionstoward
the world. The documentsjust mentioned, advocating a "heroism of
rationalism"'to surpassthe crisis, reveal the climax of Husserl'sconstant
concernwith outlininga setof humanisticmoral principlesableto attainunity
between individual autonomy and collective responsibility,among homo
cogitans,homo aestimans,andhontoagens.
I proposea reinterpretationof the meaningof Husserl'scthics from the
perspectiveof the path that led him to the foundation of philosophy as a
thcory of thc practical,value-assigning, and knowing rationalism.It is a
difficult but necessaryattempt.Following that path, Husserl reachedat the
axiological rooting of morality in the life-world, Lebenswelt.Lebenswelt
appears as an expression of a possible synthesis ol the theoretical and
practical,cthical, attitudemeantto serve,in a different way, humanity, while
humanity,in the first place,naturally,is living its lif'e.rThe tenet,explicitly
phrased in The Clisrs, offers the key to understandingthe author's entire
spiritual development,characterizedby a permanentconcern with practical
rationalism. The pursuit of rational bases for ethical choice takes
phenomenologicalanalysis below the gnoseologicallevel, as low as the
primary "layer" of thc humanbeing'spracticaland value-assigning response
to the world. This view is consonantwith Husserl'slundamentalcredo:before
deciding to contemplatethe world, I cxist in this world. This primary
condition implics "a practical-axiological relationship."Therefore,looking
trut on the world, [iberschauen,meansnot contemplatingit, but preservingit
with its valuationand practicalresponses that it constantlylbrcesmc to give
( . in meinem Wertsetz,ungen und HandLungengestalteteund immer neu
gestaLtete Welt).3
In a letter addressedto Georg Misch on 1 June 1930, Husserl
remonstrateagainstthe indiff-erencefor his concern with understandingthe
synthetic,both practicaland theoretical,natureof rationalism.His conccrn
oulminatedin his rooting morality in the lif'e-world.The role of practical
rationalismand the axiologicaldimensionof the Husscrlianphenomenology
havebecomemore evidentonly arfterAlois Roth publishedHusscrl'sresearch
in ethics and after the publication of a series of revealing studies and
monographson the philosopher'slate manuscripts.Today, we know that
Husserl'sprcoccupations with cthicswere committedto manuscriptunderthe
title Kritisches aLts Ethik-Vorlesungen(Sommersenlester,1902) But his
preoccupations datc back to 1891,that is, a decadebeforethe publicationof
Logische Untersuchungen.In thc notes appendedto the carly manuscript,
Husserlapproached the issueof valuewith a view to graspingthe role played
by sensitivityand emotionsin delining the specificso1'ethicaljudgments.
Even though initially Husserl made only some remarkson lhc parallclism
hetweentheorcticaland practicalrationalism,he refusedto substitutelogical
rcductionismfor psychologicalreductionism.He pointedout that, despitethe
cssentialanalogybetwccnlogic and axiology(practicc).creatinga purc cthics
does not in the leastmean duplicatinglogic, but ratherbringing to light the
lundamentaldiff-erencebetween the two realms.r Husserl's aim was to
establish thc autonomy of thc ethical. This implies both grasping
dissimilarities between logical and axiological, and pointing out thc
relationships betweenvalueand valuation,with thc stresson thc noeticaspect
of the intentionality of practiczrlrationalism. Aiming at revealing thc
synthetic,both theoreticaland practical, characterof rationalismand at
placing thc issuc o1-the irreduciblespecific of value in the right context,
Husserlalsodcvelopedthc ideaof interdependence of ethicsand valuetheory
on social and historicalfactors.As Dallas Laskeyconvincinglyargued,with
Husserl,the limited contextof ethicsmust bc seenasjust a part of the broadcr
axiologicalconcernsof a developingsociety.s
The axiologicaldimensionof Husserl'sethics can be also graspedby
understandinghow he approachedthe specificsol' axiologicalrationalism.
The originalbackgroundhelpsus perceivehis evolutiontowardunderstanding
the humanbeingas a substratum of a teleologicalrationalism,implicitely,as a
valuingbeing.It alsorendersevidentthe connotations of the "intentionalityof
consciousncss" concept within Ihe ego-cogito-cogitotum structurc.Thus, a
promisingprospeotopensup to reinterpretHusserl'sconcepton thc human
condition.It is fiom this pcrspectivethat thc path havingled Husserl,through
reductions,applicd to the very ernpiricalego, to the transcendental ego, and
ultimately to thc caprtal idea of Lebenswelt,acquiresrelevance.The idea
connectsknowledgeo1'valuation to action.
As early as 1929, whcn he cxplained the transition from passivc
syntheses to active syntheses,t' Husserl pointed out that, by means <lf
phenomenology, we must,eachof us separatelyand all together,look for the
Phenonrcnologtof Valueand the VolueoJ Phenomenologl, r0l

ultimatepossibilitiesand necessities basedon which we shouldtake a stand

The triplet, knowledge,valuation,action,revealshow Husserlroots all
responsibilitiesof human lif-e in the life-world. Thus, by means of an
axiologicalapproach,Husserlcndowsethicswith the potentialto surpassthe
traditionalapproaches,empiricist-naturalistic or rationalistic-fbrmalist. The
theoreticalitineraryprclcceds fiom "purc ethics"to a phenomenological ethios
conceived as a logic of sensibility, Gef[ihlslogik.Eventually, we reach the
"community ethics," giving hope in a possible synthesis between
Weltverstcindnisand Selbstverstcindnis, awarenessof the world and self-
The Husserlianitineraryin reconstructing ethicshad first to overcome
the obstacleof a pseudo-alternative facing traditionalethics: naturalismor
Ibrmalism?They proposedthe elaborationof scientificethics startingfiom
cmpirical observationand gcneralizationol- found uniformities into moral
sensibility regardedas "natural ovents" (David Hume). Or the a priori
establishment of the universalityof moral principlcsand norms was achieved
by virtue of their fbrm that rationalismestablishes as a pre-conditionof any
moral experience(ImmanuelKant). Hume assignedto sensibilitythe role of
motivating moral behavior and making ethical assessments. The role of
rationalism was depreciated.It was reducedto its cognitive function o1
apprehending the statcof f'actsand the rclationsbetweenideas.Kant assigned
raticrnalism thc ability to establisha priori the necessarycharacterof' moral
principlesand norms.The purely formal determinationol'ethical imperatives
doesnot take into accountscnsibility,the senseof value,and all that pertains
to their content.The projectof "pure ethics,"proposedby Husserl,took shapc
as a re su ltof a t wof old c ri ti c a la n a l y s i s ' o fH u m e ' s a n d K ant' s concepti ons
madefiom the vicwpointof transcendental phenomcnology. Such an analysis
allows us ( l) to transcendthe naturalisticcxplanationby understanding moral
sensibilityas an "intentionalact" aimedat valuesas "intentionalobjects"and
that no longer opposesrationalism.Moral scnsibilityis includedin the widc
range of intentionalacts of rationalismand is legitimizedby how Husserl
undcrsLands evidence. This allows lor its dissooiationinto correct and
incorrect.It allows us (2) to rcjec;tthc idcntilicationol a priori wrth the
formal, to recognizethe emotionala priori as a f'catureof the senseof value,
and to baseethicson a "materiala-prior-rLyof sensitivity."It considersmoral
valuesas beingindependent of empiricalcxperience, seenfiom a naturalpoint
o1'view. In this case,empirical expcrienceis no longer dependenton the
intentionalorder of experienceseenfrom a transcendental point of view. The
traditionalalternativemight be re-wordedas lollows: either a naturalistic
Iegitimizationof ethicsbasedon empiricalcxperience,or a lbrmalista priori
foundation of ethics placed beyond any experience.As a result of his
theoretical innovations, Husserl dialectically overcame the traditional
alternativeby means of'a tertium datur: researchinto the a priori intentional
structuresof experience.When this is applied to ethics and axiology, we
understandthat Husserl was concernedwith making clear the transcendental
conditionsthat makesuchethicaland axiologicalmeaningspossible.s
The phenomenological method in which Husserl conceivedhis "pure
ethics" let him grasp some analogiesbetween the ethical ancl the logical.
Thcse are renderedevi<Jent by transgressing psychologism.The procedureis
meant to safeguardthe objectivity of both logical idealitiesand the moral
valuesaimed at by intcntionalactsof scnsibility,actsthat are conditioneda
prirtri and abide by "essentiallaws," Wesengesetz,e. However,the major stress
shified,normally,to dissimilarity.With Husserl,rationalismmay includeboth
poles: intellectand sensibility,Geftihlslogik.However,sensibilitycannotbc
reducedto subjectivity;it also implies the senseof value. Therefbre,the
rationalisrnof morality becomesaxio-logical,and it is demonstrated by the
distinctionbctweena "spontaneous sympathy"and a "rationalsympathy"that
approvesof somcthingas bcing just and disapprovesof somethingclse as
being unjust.We should make clear, though,that only "rational sympathy"
acquiresthe attributesof moral phenomenon,since it is grafted onto the
axiological fccling of justice. The critical analysisof Ralph Cudworth's
conception,and of the eighteenth-century school of Cambridgein general,
enabled Husserl to discovcr lundamental diflbrences bctween practical
rationalism and theoretical rationalism, urteilende VernunJi beyoncl the
parallelismbetweenthe compulsorynatureof moral principlesand of logical,
or mathematical,principles. Practical rationalism is a rationalism that
originates in motivations provided by sensibility and will. Thcoretical
rationalismis basedon logical motivation.Practicalrationalismis fbcuscclon
intentionalactsof the axiologicalsensibility.Theoreticalrationalismis basecl
on the intentionalacts of the dianoeticpivot of consciousness. Practical
rationalismoperatesmainly with axiologicalsentences; theoreticalrationalism
with assertorial sentences.
As I have pointed out elsewhere,t'phenomenologicallyspeaking,
axiologicalsensibilityis intentional,aiming at objectsthat satisfyits demands.
Sometimes value appears fetishized as objectivization of' axiological
sensibility,becauseit is actively dirccted toward intentionalobjects ancl
hierarchizesthem pref-ercntially. In this situation,fhe tncqualityin the value
orderof thingsbecomesa purely subjectivecreation,an emotionalprojcction.
Ethical behaviorf-avorsvaluationwhen desiderative-volitional structurescan
bc intentionallydireotcdtoward things and the corresponclence betweenthe
subjectiveand the objectivecan be establishcd. Thus, it is the ethicalvalues
that come to enhancehumanaction.Emotionalstatesbelongto the rangeof
intentional human cxperience,and, as such, sentencesbuitt about this
experiencecan be legitimized by evidence and can be confronted with
experience. This way, the claim of emotionalism,accordingto which the echo
of Valueand the VaLueoJPhenomenologl, r0:j

of emotional states in value judgments would prove their non-cognitive

character,is refutcd. Ethical value judgments o{fer a conceptualexprcssion
andjustify the valuespresentin axiologicalexperience.
Thus, in ethics we can transcend not only the older alternative,
naturalism/ formalism, but also the new alternative,intuitivism / emotivism.
GeorgeEdward Moore's intuitivism attributedl-clethicaljudgmentsthe same
cognitive contentcharacteristicof descriptivejudgments,the only difference
being that the predicateof ethicaljudgmentsrepresentsa non-naturalquality.
CharlesL. Stevenson'semotivismperceivedthem as being devoid of any
cognitive content.In both cases,the explanationis alike. The two views share
the samebias: value sentences could be "rationalistic"only if they could be
reduced to assertorialsentences.From the perspectiveof Husserlianethics,
one may argue,though,that the intuitivism / emotivismalternativeis basedon
a false premise that ignores the specificity of estimative and normative
sentenccs characteristic of moral life. By virtue of their logical and
clntological status, their rationalism is not reduced to the rationalisrn of
assertorialsentences. It is the criteria of their intentionalevidencethat can be
applied to value judgments,and not logicist criteria. Though specific, since
they envisage other intentional acts, such criteria show similarities to any
other type of judgmentstakcn into consideration.Thus, the ethical discourse
no longer appearsinferior to the theoreticaldiscourse.It becomesa practical,
axiological, discourse.It operateswith value judgments that cannot be
reducedto descriptive.judgments. The rationalismof valuejudgmentsis to be
examinedby proccedingfiom their specific nature,certifled by the supreme
cclurtof legitimization:the "lif-eworld."
Husserl approachesthe problems of ethics in a broad axiological
context.Intentionalvaluationactsspring from the practiceof the world of lifb
(lebensweltlischePraxis) which is value-assigning(wertsetzend)in itself and
by itself. Husserl suggestsanotherpossiblereply to the cardinal questionof
axiology: Do objectshave value becausethe subjectconfersvalue onto them,
or does the subjcct value them becauseobjects have value of themselvcs?
Louis Lavclle pointedout that this is a questionto which most philosophical
trendshave given antinomic,unsatisfactory, answers.The answersoscillate
betweenthe primacy ol valuation,the subjectiviststand,and the primacy of
value,the objectiviststand,On the one hand,the Austrianaxiologicalschool
maintainedthat the sourceof value is subjectivepleasure(Alexius Meinong),
or desire (ChristianE,hrenfels).On the other hand, Neo-Kantianismand the
ethics of valuestreat valuesas eternalobjective validities,placing them in a
transcendentalrealm of ideal meanings (Rickert), or in the transcendental
realm of crbjectsof a priori emotionalintuitions(Max Scheler).This leadsto a
theoreticalquandarythat Lavelle can discernwhen saying,"It is a superstition
to reducethe objectto valuation... a desecration to reducevalueto objects.r0
But not even Lavelle was able to find a way out of the quandary,becausehe
failedto adopta relational
I believethatHusserl'scthicsproject
suggests,although not consequentially,one way of surpassingthe
subjectivism/ objectivismalternative.
Husserl's critical reactionagainstsubjectivism,especiallyagainst il-s
hedonisticvariant,is cxplicit. He declaresthat any behaviorthat choosesto
seek pleasure in the absenceof any other general purpose, is not only
immoral, but becomesmorally negative;it is moral evil, becauseit denies
gcneralgood,justice,love, generosity, and othervalues.However,by arguing
that "sensibilityis subjective,value is objective,"and by making clear that
first a valuationobject must exist, and then it may get axiologicalpredicates,
too, Husserl also rejects the view that renders values autonomous and
separatesthem from intentionalvaluationacts,in which sensibilityinterl'eres.
He is convincedthat if we attemptedto extinguishany sensibilityin a human
being,all ethicalconcepts- ways and means,good and evil, virtue and duty -
would become meaningless.rr Tacitly, both subjectivismand objectivism
accept an assumption:values are qualities, not object/subjectrelationships.
They also accepta way of putting the questionin antitheticalterms: values
can either be reduced to valuations,or they can exist independentlyof the
valuing subject. Husserl rejects such assumptions.Consistent with his
phenomenologicalstyle of philosophtzing,he treal.svalue as an objective
correlate of the desiderativeintentional act, pref.erential,Gemiitsakt. Hc
derives the relevant consequenceof the intcrdependenoebetween the
intentionalactsof the ethicalsubjectand their objectivecorrelate.Given this
interrelationbetweenthe noetic and the noematicaspectof the intentionality
of valuation acts, we can say that value is a specialrelationship.It is a
relationshipbetweenan axiologicalobject and an axiologicalsubject.The
axiological object, given its qualities, can satisly needs, yearnings,and
desires.The axiologicalsubject,throughits intentionalacts,can experiencc
attraction,offer estimates.arrangeobjects accordingto the degreein which
they deserveto be wantedand valued.From this perspective,the antinomy of
subjectand object of which Lavelle was speakingis surpassed by changing
the manner in which the question is put, by enscribingit into a fertile
phenomenological circle. There can be no value without valuation,just as
there can be no valuation without value. The genetic primacy of valuation
presupposes the structuralprimacy of value.
The itinerarythat Husserlfollowed led him, in his last writings, liom
"pure ethics," through the outlines of a phenomenologicalethics, as
GefiilsLogik,toward a community ethics. The community ethics seeks to
restorethe lost genuinelinks with the "life-world" by consideringthat "to live
as a personis to live in a socialframeworkwhereinI and we live togetherin a
communityand havethe communityas a horizon."Rootedin thc "life-world,"
the most profound productive lif'e, morality can achieve its virtuality in the
"Social World" alone. We need to set up a Personenverband,a society of
Phenortrcnologvrf'Value ctndthe Valueo.f'Phenomenologl r05

personswith sharedvaluation,a social framework,as Husserl put it. The

socialframeworkshouldprovidehistoricallyand sociallyapprovedcriteria.It
is within this framework, during an ever-openprocessof self-improvement,
that we can distinguishgood from evil, and justicefrom injustice,in order to
securehumanity's self-determination within the community in association
with thc intcr-subjcctivc rcsponsibility for the realization of the human
being'svocationas a valuingbeing,homo aestimans.Thus, the realizationof
Husserl's ethics supreme aim might be summed up by Paul Eluard's
suggestivephrase:Passerde l'horiz,ond'un seulit l'horizonde tous.
In point, I would like to ask a question:What would be the most fruitful
continuationof Husserl'sethics'JDespiteits importance,the ethicsof values
proposedby Schelerignores the fact that values appearin and through the
valuationproccss.According to Scheler'sethics,moral values are a priori
autonomousthings,independentof the valuationprocess.Consequently, the
valuatingfunctionof thc moral senseis ignorcd
Following thc debatesaroundthe Schelerianstandpoint,the moral sense
was proposedas standingagainstmoral values,and the idea was expressed
that moral valuationrefers to elementinteractionin life-world dynamics and
in the social-worldframework.r2
Thus, we can object againsta value-basedethics by asking, Could
humanbcingsknow good and not do good'/Likewise,a symmetricalquestion
could be askedaboutthe alternativeto thc valuation-based ethics.How could
peopledo good and not know good?
In my opinion, the concept o1- mutual involvement of value and
valuation outlined by Husserl presupposesan ethics co-ordinatedby the
axiocentric ontology of the human. This ethics, pleading for a mutual
foundationof moral valuesand moral sense.is ableto assurewhat JohnRawls
calls "a reflectivecquilibrium."''tIn other words, it follows the theoretical
voyagc toward an ethicswhich shouldreplacea disjunction,moral senseor
moral values,with a conjunction,moral senscand moral valucs.Along this
itinerary, the "phcnomelogyof the creative context" promoted by A.-T.
Tymieniecka{lnds its place.
As early as 1938,CarnilPetrcscu,one ol'the most competentRomanian
commentators clf Husscrl'swork, reachedthc c;onclusionthat phenomenology
means a divorce lrom traditional metaphysics,while offering some
"openings"toward the foundationclf a new ontologyof the humancondition
by a shifi of emphasisfrom the transccndentto the transcedental,fiom the
"given f-act"to "mcaning," fiom contemplationto the practicaland valuation
rcsponses to the world by the humanbeing.rr

Coordinatesof an AxiocentricOntologyof the

The re-valuationof value and the outline of an axiological theory of human
significancehave promptedmy attemptto reinterpretthe ontologicalproblem
from an axiologicalperspective.Implicitly, I also intend to developa regional
ontology of the human within a given theoreticalreference-system and by
meansol' specificconccptualdevices.
The project of developinga particularontology of the human,basedon
the idea that valuesare determinants of the humanbeing'sontologicalstatus,
raisesfiom the very beginningat least two questions:( I ) How justified is a
rcgionalizationof the ontologicalissue'Jand (2) Why does value hold a
privileged statusin thc projcct of developinga particularontology of thc
ln answering the first question, I would remind the reader that any
philosophyinvolvesan ontologythe object of which is what Aristotle called
"existenceas existence."At the currentlevel of the philosophicaldiscourse,to
admit an undifferentiatedtreatmentof the ontosis unsatisfactory.
ln the conccptof contemporaryphilosophies,the ontos is intendedto be
approachedin its diversity of structures,in the complexity of the determined
levels and mannersof operation.Thus, a regionalizationof the ontological
problem is required,as more ontic regionscan be discovered.
The ontic region of the human is inscribedin the infinity of the world
with a determinedmannerof being. If comparedto nature'sontic region, fbr
instance,it has its own gepesis.It also has anotherstructure,involving a
constellationof determinedinteractionsbetweenthe human being and the
world, betweenthe individual and the community.The ontic region of the
human has a psycho-socialessenceand a functionalityconf-erred upon it by
the human action that alters existence,praxis. The project (the investigation
into the future), the conscious finality (liberty), the standardactivity (the
dialectictriptych of knowledge-valuation-action) representonly a few of its
determinantsas regional ontology.
While admitringthe legitimacyof a particularontology,we could pass
on to thc sccondqucstion:Why does value hold a privilegedstatusin the
project of dcvclopingthis ontology'?The questionis quite appropriatesince
thc idea often dominatesthat philosophycould constitutean ontology only
through its oognitivcdimcnsion,and not throughits axiologicaldimension.
This meanscreatingan artificialhiatusbetweena scientificontology,reduced
to synthetical-totalizing
knowledge,and anthropocentricethics,reducedto the
coordinationof projects,goals,hierarchiesof values,and ideals.I invalidate
sucha point for the simplereasonthat philosophyitself is born out of the need
to meditateover the humancondition,to explorethc humanbcing,as a whole,
in interactionwith the environment.So thc human being should not bc
considereda functionof the way we considerphilosophy,but the other way
round: philosophyis to be considereda function of the way we think about
human beings. Or, the human being is both the object and the subject, the
human being is both expressionand creator of human nature. As a real
creature, the human being is object-oriented, cntering dcterminatc
relationshipswith the natural environment, which is aimed at as a
manifestationof his or her essence.The human being is the subject
transforming the object, creating himself or herself, and not the object
ontologicallythoughtof. The concreteand total humanbeingis wholly human
only in the midst of the developingsociety,in history.This doesnot meanthat
the hurnan being is stripped of essence,but that the manifestedessenceis
acti o n .
The human being is a permanentlyopen being, never completely
created,but permanentlyorcatinghimself or herself through projects and
attitudesthat lend freshmeaningsto humanexistence. That is why he or sheis
in permanenttensiontclwardsomething.And this tensiontoward the exterior,
born out of the need to satisly practical needs,is actually the tension to
discoverthe infinite within the limited. It gives birth to an essentialforce,
characteristicof human beings, that energeticallydrives them toward thcir
objectives.The essentialforce is value.Value is a specificallyhuman way,
project-conceiving,attitudinal, preferential,to respond to the world. It is
presentin the passionfor the new, for the unmet-with,in the dissatisfaction
with what has been achieved,and in the aspirationto achieve morc, in the
dialecticsof need-tension-grief-passion-project-fuffillment-joy-new needs-new
existentialproblemsof tension/adjustment. If human beingswere not valuing
beings,then they would alwaysbe satisfledwith what they are, they would be
no longer active,passionate, creatorsof projectsand ideals,they would losc
their ability to act, the defining attributesof their way of existingtogether,and
their aspirations.
This is why a regionalontologyof the humancould not be built in the
absenceof the combined participationof the cognitive and axiological
dimensionsof philosophy.Generalizations on the human ontos arc to be
supportedby scientificdata abouthumanbeingsand by the data suppliedby
human action and lived-throughexperience.The human being lives and
achicves values through the cffective interaction between the concrcte
situationand the ethos.
The humanbeing occupiesa completelyindividualand irreduciblearea
of the world, found in a plane of the interactionsbetweenthe subjectiveand
the objective.The human being holds an ontologicalstatusjustifiable by an
Cloordinotes oJ cut Axiocentric Ontolog, of'the IIuman r09

axiocentricperspective,not by a geocentricor zoocentricperspective.The

axiocentricphilosophyis able to reveal what is indeed irreduciblein the
humanbehavior,the distinctivecoordinates ol the humanway of being.
When the ontologicalproblemis posedin post-Kantianterms,thoseof
the possibility o.f'conditions,the key questionbecomes:How is the human
possibLej2 The answer,startingfrom the considerationthat the human being is
not a given fact, but an institutionassumedin and through the practical
processof his or her self-creation, of the creationol values,may be summed
up in a synthetic fbrmulatron:the human heing is value-possible.Ontology
acquires new attributes, becoming not only anthropocentric, but also
The shift from centering ontology on essentialist speculative
suppositionsto centeringit on the world of values initiates the dialogue
betweendiversephilosophicalorientationswith similar preoccupations. I refer
to phenomenology,through its occurrencein Heideggerianontology and
Ricoeureanhermeneutics,or throughmutationscausedby the phenomenology
of the creativecontextproposedby Anna-TeresaTymieniecka.r
I also think of analytioalphilosophy.By focussingthe ontology of the
human on the world of values,Hilary Putnam'srecent preoccupations of
approachingthe criteria of rationality from an axiological perspective,or
Nozick's attemptto rescuethe axiologicalissueof life's meaning'become
momentsof dialogueand a metaphysicalconstruction.
In my supportingan axiocentricaxiology of the human, I continuethe
remarkabletraditionsof Romanianphilosophy,amongthe exponentsof which
are LucianBlagaand Dumitru D. Rogca.
In his vast Triktgia valorilor lThe Trilogy of Valuesl, Blaga basedhis
distinctionbetweenparadisiacal knowledgeandLuciferian knowledgeon the
dissociationof the immedictte horizon,o1'theexistencefor conservationfrom
the horizon of nyslery,,of creativc existencc,preeminentlyaxiological. The
movc to the horizon of values, the shift from nature to culture involves,
accordingto Blaga, an ontological mutation, sincevalue is not an aocessory,
but a defining involvementof a way of existence,specificallyhuman.Blaga
(1895-1961)was a Romanianphilosopher,poet, and dramatist.Outsidethe
national borders,he is known for his dramaticalproduction,as most of his
plays have been staged by famous European theatres.The amplitude and
architectureof his philosophicalsystemis comparableto that of Hegel's,and
its literaryexpressionto the works of Nietzscheor H. Bergson.However,due
to the languageit has been written in, Romanian,Blaga's philosophical
system has failed to accedeto the world circle of philosophicalideas. After
1989,the systematic translationof his work hasbeenstartedin France.l
In his turn, Rogcaargued that wc could searchamong values for the
element supporting the human action of perpetual creation and self--
cxccllence, since they represent determinants of the human being's
ontological status. A Romanian philosopher,Roqca (1895-1981),was a
promoter of rationalism.He conceivesof philosophy as being a moral and
estheticattitudetoward a world foundedon the myth of "total knowledge."A
scholarin the world of Hegel,much appreciated in Germanyand France,his
presencein the Europeanphilosophyis acknowledgeddue to his book cntitled
Existenla tr agicd [Tragic Existence].
Directly or symbolically, value expressesthe synthetic project of a
humanbeing, or of a community,a humanbeing's way to gcl toward,to ek-
sis/, to refer to himself or herself in his or her polymorphic rapport with
others.The entire humanaction,the entire humanexistenceis traversedby an
axiologicalprinciple. Value is the axis of actions and its nerve. It is the
possiblcexpressionof a satisf'actory adjustmento1'ethosand situation,of the
real humanbeing and the real world in which thc humanbeing actsand thus
cxists.Conditionedby an earlierbiochemicaltransfiguration, by combinations
of chromosomes and hereditaryhabits,by individualpsychismand collective
psychology,by mentalstructuresand languages, the humanbeing establishes
himself or hcrsclf as thc single being capableto adaptto reality and to adapt
reality to his or her needs. The attributes of existence rcach back to
antecedents, to the socialand naturalenvironment,but they alsoreachforward
to reality, as they become objective through action and values.The human
being's action is creationand self-creationand developsin an axiological
climate. Ontologically, value preceded cultural assets, norms, even
knowledge. The human being cultivates science becausescience grants
humanity the valuc of efficiency. An action is truly human clue to its
axiologicalload. The human being cannot be treatedexclusivelyas homo
ftiber or homo cogitans.The human being knows, acts, and lends a new
significanceto objectsof knowledgeand thoscof action,in her or his quality
of value-generatingbcing, as homo e,stimans.In the human realm, values
pertain to the very order of existenceand are inherentto human actionsthat.
are their basis and to which they are aimed. Values constitutc shaping
principlesand changingfactors of physical and moral existence.And, we
wonder, how could they fulfill this admirablefunction unlessrooted in thc
very substanceof life? We cannotchangethe face of the world with chimcras
and spiritualphantasms.Or, valuesare involved in all existentialissuesof
tension-adjustmentof the ever-reconstituted, re-createdoonsensusbetween
subiect and object. Producersand productsof human action, phantasmsand
structured by practice, values represent a unity between the possible,
expressingour freedom,the freedom of the project within which knowledge
takesplace,and necessity, the motor of our action.This is why valuesare the
determinants of the specificallyhumanway of being.Without contrastingthc
natural to the human, without taking the human outside the legislation of
determinism, values make possible the discovery of the qualitative
characteristic of the humanbeing'sexistcntialmodality.The human being is
CoordinatesoJan A.vioc:entric
Ontologyo.fthe Human ill

simultaneously consideredto be (1) the determinedproductof some natural

processes,that is, a creaturc self-developingthrough his or her practical
rapport with the naturalenvironment;(2) a member of the society he or she
inl"egratesinto by means of a complex system of social relations and
communication,and (3) a valuing being endowed with self-conscience,
availabilityfbr deliberation, and responsibilityfor his or her actions.
This is why, axiocentric ontology off'ers the ref'erencerequired to
developan ontologicalview of the universeas a whole. By transcending the
false alternativeor the generalontologiesthat start from a natural existence
lacking in human reference, or ontologies of the human existence of a
spiritualist-autonomist extractionthat disregardthe human being's relation
with nature and society, the axiocentricontology unblocks the way toward
general ontology. Axiocentric ontology does not claim to substitutefor the
general ontology or to be a particularizingapplication of a metaphysicsof
Existenceor of the Bcing to the ontic field of the human.
Such a philosophical approach opens up the perspective of
understandingthat, ultimately,culture is more than a mere depositof material
and spiritual achievements.Culture appearsas a polymorphic and dynamic
reality, in which and through which the individual gives shapeto his or her
aspirationsand changesthe environment,while changinghimself or herself.
The diversity of cultures is a source of polyphonic harmony and not a
potential reservoir of conflict. The history of cultures generatesa common
patrimonyof humankindand a commonresponsibilityfor its preservationand
continuation.Such conclusionsprove that only cultural creationpresupposes
the irreducible: value, as a specificallyhuman way of attitudinal,preferential
reactionto the world. That is why value appearsto be involved in all problems
linked to tension-adjustment-change of the ever-to-be-re-created agreement
betweenethosand situation,betweenthe real humanbeing and the real world
in which the humanbeingacts.
Understoodas a universeof values,as axio-spherc,culturg can maintain
its conscienceof its conditionsof possibility, as Kant would say, and of its
humanisticvocation,of its ontologicalstatus.From the perspectiveof an
axiocentricontology of the human,the real in culture is no longer constricted
in the symbolic-spiritualareaand no longer expandedsuch that the cultural is
identified with the social, since the cultural envisagesthe axiosphere,value.
Not all productsof human action becomeacts of culture; only those which,
given their potential to satisfy human needs and awaken desire-oriented
deliberate actions, acquire value. This is how they capture a cumulative
character,expressedin non-hereditarybehavior.but learnedand handeddown
fiom one generationto another,alike or regenerated, expandedor sometimes
even reduced, altered, due to some significant codes bearing cultural
information.This is why, to the human beings,value is not an annex, an
accessory,a piece of luxury, but a determinantdefining their specific way of
existing as beings who, at the same time, create and develop themsclves
through culture, exceedingtheir natural condition by means of the human
co n d i ti on.
Consideringthat thc dcvelopmentof a regionalontologyof the humanis
appropriateand that value is the irreduciblebolt of the human condition, thc
developmentof a distinctivetype of a regional ontology of the human is
justified,and I darecall it axiocentric.
An axiologicalreconstructionof the philosophicdiscourserendersit
more suitable to propose solutionsto the dramatic problems of the human
The legitimacy of the theoretical and methodological framework
through the drawing of such a particular ontology of the human could be
synthesized as follows:
First, human existence appears to us as bearing an irreducible
particularity and a privileged ontic status. A nco-ontology exceeding the
traditionalspirit is thus constituted.Existencefor its own sake is replacedby
existencefor our sake,with a human referential.Existenceas a given fact
gives way to existenceas a processof production and rcproductionof
existence.The gnoseological processis replacedby a discourseable to reveal
human institution as the human being's self-achievement. The transcendental
or the transcendental alternativeis surpasseddue to the immanentcharactcrol
humanactivityconsistingin valuation-practical rapportwith the world.
Second, the ontology of the human pertains to the flow of modern
philosophicalthinking openedby the Kantian criticism. The new theoretical
framework is propitious to the harmonious articulation of various
suppositions,conceptualizations, or methodologicalproceduresin vicw ol'
reconstructingontology, in consonancewith the modern scientific spirit,
hostileto reductionismand essentialism. Since the human being is a being
creating values and developing himself or herself by values, and the
conditions of possibility of the human result from value-type teleological
institutions,the ontology of the human acquires individual accents and
b e co me sax ioc ent r ic .
Third, conceivedas such, thc ontology of the human is fundamental
ontology. The ontology of the human becomes fundamental not in the
Heideggerianmeaning,as a ruining area of the generalontology,but as a
theoreticalareafor the renovationof ontology from the perspectiveof praxis.
The generaldeterminationsof the world have no objective significanceand
cannot be known otherwisebut through and for the human being. To refuse
the ontology of the human this status means to develop a totalitarianizing
vision of the world: a world historicallyand socially bearingthe seal of a
registerof the human values,but whencethe creatorof thesevalueswould be
exiled and wherethe samecreatorwould neverfeel at home.
Coordinote.sofun Axioc:entricOntolog\,o.ftlrc ]'luman 113

Fourth, the axioccntric ontology of the human does not start lrom
apodicticalpostulateswhich might throw it in thc situationto fall back in the
prc-criticalontologies.Thc axioc;entricontology o1'the human starts fiom
epistemological prcmisestestedin rigorousthcoretioalcontexts,deliberately
adoptingwhat Willard van Orman Quine calls thc principle oJ'ontologicctl
relativity. Its disooursedoes not. propose a "picture of the world," a
systematics but replacesthe descriptivetheoryof
of the ne varieturcategories,
the traditionalontologiesby a critical metatheory.Such a metatheorybecomes
suitableto supportthe self-reflexivityof the philosophicalconscienceagainst
the "will of the system," and with a view to pursuing the program of
ontological reconstructionby problem-raisingand theme-posingwithin
determinedknowledgecontextscontrolledby the legitimacyinstanceof the
socio-historical practice.As a matterof [act, as Max Born usedto say, with
the scientistand the philosopheralike, the belief that you hold a uniquetruth
is thc deepestrootedevil in the world.
In my proposinga reconstructionproject of the ontologyof the human,I
hope that it could be fostered,corrected,deepened.The merit will be greater
ol thosc who know to go further, on unknown paths, into what we do not
know yet. As Ludwig Wittgensteinuscdto joke, in philosophy,the winner of
the raceis the one who runs slowest,the one who reachesthe aim the last.
Part Four

A Hope:Universalism
This part of the book was left unfinished.
In our introduction,we have advancedthe legitimacyof maintainingthe
title of this Part when preparingthis volume for the printing press.To the
argumentsof a theoreticalnature,we must add our sorrow that the author's
intentionscould not be fulfllled by himself,duringhis lif-etime.
Wt: consideredunproductivethe mere reproductionof some fragments
lrom the studieson philosophicaluniversalismpublishedby Griinberg.This
would havebccnrcdundantfor thosewho readthe specialized reviews.And it
would have been theoreticallyinconsequential so long as the editorslacked
thc author'sbeaconin termsof organizingthe ideas.
Gri.inbergscnseda changedneed for philosophy of humankind in the
third millennium.This is what he wrote in his essay"$anseleuniversalismului
filosofic" [Chancesof PhilosophicalUniversalism],publishedin 1995, in

What is universalismafter all'l A new approachof the world and of the

humancondition,of placesand things,of creationsand institutions,of
businessand meansof communication, startingfrom the assumptionthat
the issuesol contemporaryhistory and culture needto be addressedat a
global level. A meta-philosophical perspectiveacceptedby all stylesof
philosophizing (analytical, synthetic, dialcctical, phenomenological)
able to lacilitate the finding of a common languageneededby the
"dialogue of humanisms."A new hermeneuticsgoverned by the
"principle of multi-levcl identification," offering an intellectual
f oundation to dialogue, constructive critioism, tolerance, and, as
EmmanuelLevinas might put it, to the "permanentopennesstoward the
other one." A vision of the human condition that starts from the
acceptanceof existence and from the understandingof the use of
generally-human values:lil-e,truth, good, love, liberty, dignity,justice.
and happiness.And, as a corollary, an ambitious attempt to create,by
common ctfort and on a planetary level, a post-modern,post-
technocratic, and post-totalitarian wisdom,in conformitywith the needs
and hopesof mankindat the beginningof the third millenium'

Two of the author'sessaysmakeup the substance ol'PartFour.

"Happiness:the LoftiestValue of Humankind"is a possiblecomponcnt
part of the writings found in the manuscriptfile, yet its place in the economy
of the book has not been firmly establishedby the author.It is however, an
application to humanity's burning aspiration, in theory and practice:
In the manuscriptfile, the essay "The orphic Myth ancl the Human
Condition" was subtitledby the author himself, "Insteadof Ending." It has
thusbeennaturalfor us to concludethe volumewith it.

Cornelia Griinberg
Laura Griinberg

Happiness:The LoftiestValueof Humankind

Tracing back the historicalevolution of the conceptof happiness,we reahze
that the contemporaryphilosophershave criticized the older theoriesrather
than developed new theories. Today's philosopherswcluld rather not talk
about happiness.When they do, they do it more to indicate its radical
impossibility. While an abundant literaturc is dedicated to agony,
hopelessness, and anxiety,happinessis merelymarginallycommentedon and
in subduedterms.As a rulc, happiness itself,as a term,is avoided.Seenas too
committalor out of style,thc term, "happiness,"is substitutedfor by words
likc "pleasurc"or 'Joy," clftenwith a shift of'stresson pain and sorrow.
The temptation to rcturn to thc ancient thinkers therefore oocurs.
Happinesswas among their favored themes.llow to attain the supremegood
or inner balancethrough wisdom? How to accomplishyourself as a human
being by reachingat an agreementbetwecnvirtue and happiness'? How to find
happiness,by rezisonor by virtue'JWhere to seek for happiness,inside or
outsideyour soul'/Thesearc oniy a f'ewthoughts.
It is obviousnow that the older Enlightenmentillusion of the univocal
rclatioti among knowledge - progrcss happinesshas vanished. The
spectacularprogrcssof knowledge,the most sophisticated technologies,ancl
thc ampleconsumersatisfaction do not renderpeoplebetter,wiser,or happier.
Thc developmentreachedat in someregionsof the world is like thc two-faced
Janus. triumphof civilizationand well-beingrepresent just one ol-thetwo
faces. Meanwhile, the other face prompted Albert Camus to designatethe
twentiethcentury,the Century of Fear. Extensiveconsumption,luxury, and
the rnollifying drug of sexualityarc sourcesof both ephemeralpleasureand
f'raditionally,happinessis seenas the ideal rapportbetweenneedsand
satisfiednecessities. To qucry this vision is to give thc idea of happinessits
final blow. Pcople may forsakethe idea of happinessentirely or embraceits
hedonistic,minor, variant.Thc cmphasisshifis from lif-eand its senseas a
whole to fleeting moments.From the ideal to minor delights.From self--
attainmentand self-realizationto comfort and greaterprospectsof immediate
pleasure. Happiness becomes a holiday project good as interludc
cntertainment, entailinga provisionaland marginallif'e in which adulthood
rnimicschildhood,or in which the aclultcan llnd the compensatory dclightsof
the cclnsumer. No wonderthat undersuchcircumstances the crisisof the ideal
ol happincssalso surf'acesin thosesocietieshaving dcmonstratedtheir ability
to honorthe promisesof demclcracy and the hopesof increasingwell-being.
Hence,it is commonfor philosophers to be reticentabouta philosophy
of happiness.In some cases,those approachingthe subject resort to a
scientific solution. Which, in the end, boils down to recommendinga
procedure to aggregateand maximize pleasure, or to proposing several
techniques on how to succeedin life. Eitherway, the dominantmood in which
the problem is tackledremainspessimistic.
Disenchanted,philosophers leave the concept of happiness outside
philosophicaltheory or deny happinessthe attributeof value in terms of the
ideal of life. The question arises naturally: should we eliminate the word
"happiness"from our language,even though millions of human beings keep
on running after it? We can find the answer in the spiritual geographyof
contemporaryphilosophies.We can discover here severalways in which to
approachthe theme, approachesthat are sometimesmerely outlined, and at
o t h e rt i m c si m p l i c i t .
A first group of conceptionsconsidersthat the issue of happiness,
althoughimportantin termsof a person'soptionsin life, could not be posedin
theoreticalterms and cannot be the object of philosophicalknowledge.It is
the philosophyof the contestedhappiness.Given the perspective,the problem,
What is happiness?, would seem nonsensical. Classified by a subtle
structuralist such as Michel Foucault, it appears among the problems
conceivedin moral, value, terms.The result is that it is not worth being a
From the positionsof analyticalphilosophy,CharlesL. Stevensonranks
happiness with the problems appealing to floating notions that have an
exclusivelyemotionalcontent.When was Goetheright, wondersStevenson,
when rn 1824,Goethetold Eckermannthat in the seventy-fiveyearsof his lifc
he had not known more than four weeksof completehappiness,or later on, in
1830,when Goethewrote toZelter, "I am huppy and I wish I could live my
life the sameway again"?
The questionthough can be answered.Both statementscould be true
when consideringWittgenstein'sadvice,"Do nol look for relevance,search
for application."In eachplay upon words,a different meaningis associatedto
happiness,thereforeanotherconcept.In the first context,happinessindicates
those momentsin which we experienceprofound, intensejoy, psychological
meaning, while the letter to Zelter makes use of the Hegelian meaning:
happinessis the satisfactiongiven by a life seenas a whole. As we can see,
Foucault promoteslogical purism, reducing the philosophicaltheory to a
science theory of the logical-mathematicaltype, in which the conceptsof
humanbeing,value,freedom,and happinesswould remain unsupported.
Some thinkers oonsider that the restorationof philosophy should be
obtainedat the terrible price of renouncingits timelessmission of being the
theory of the most generalcriteria of the human choice,the axiological guide
of humankind.To devise a philosophyof happinessmeansto embracethe
flappiness: T'heLoftie,tt Value rf- H utnankind t2l

human cause. This option ol philosophy does not threatento lose the
objectivity accessibleto it, the sameway medicinedoesnot repudiateitself as
knowledgeby placingitself in the serviceof the ailing.Thosechallengingthe
possibilityof placingthe problemof happinesson a theoreticallevel, by virtue
of the idea that their sciencedeniesthem any commitment of value, decline
responsibility.Deolensionof responsibilitydoes not concernthc mcans thcy
command,but the objectivesthey set forth lbr themselves,and thus the very
senseof their activity is invalidated.But even while refusing the idea, such
philosopherstake happinessas a relative term of referenceby consideringit
the highest reason of human lif'e that, in the absence of a conceptual
correspondent, can unleashhopelessness, resignation,or the longing for the
lost paradise. In the end, this refusaljustified by a specificidea aboutscience
is alsothe resultof a philosophy.
In contemporary philosophy, we can encounter a second type of
conception.With it, the problem of happinesscan and must be posed; yet it
has no solution, since the human being has been sentencedto fieedom. The
structuralistpreconceptionof the hiatus between knowledge and values is
substitutedfor by a new preconception:freedomand happinesswould be two
irreconcilablevalues.We deal here with what I like to call the philosophyof
the compromisedhappiness.The most signiflcant exponentof this trend of
thoughtis existentialism.
Existentialismgrantsa privilegedpositionto the problemof happiness.
Albert Camus's essay,The Myth of Sisyphus,startswith the assertionthat to
appreciatewhetheror not life is worth living meansto answerthe basic topic
of philosophy.Then, after havingtaking the mythicalSisyphusas the symbol
of the human condition, Camus concludes with the much-commented
sentence,"We should imagine a happy Sisyphus." We deal with an
individualisticphilosophy, primarily in its maior, Heiddegerianversion,
maybethe most ambitiousevcr. Human existencebuilds itself as a projectin
its progresstoward the essence.Transcendingthe humanconditionby making
a choiceseemsto be the sourceof any sense,thereforeof any foundation.And
the freedom to make a choice one variant of action appearsto be the implied
and ultimatefoundationof the progressfrom existencetoward humanessence.
Paradoxically, this moraleof unlimitedindividualismrefusesto presentitself
as moral.We are not told that humanbeingsmust exceedthemselves, but that
human reality is a project perpetuallyand unjustifiablytranscendingexistence
Thus, in existentialism, freedomceasesto be a processualachievement
of culture and becomesan initial gift, a structureconsubstantial to any human
bcing hurled into the still world of things and into the anonymousworld of
human creatures,forever having to make a choice. Yet, while making their
choice, human beingscan find relief nowhere:not in the objectivereality, as
the absenceof determinism renders the human being helpless,not in the
choice made by other people,sinceeach human being has a personalfbrmula
in creatingher or his own essence, not in a transccndentalfactor."If there is
no God, then everythingis permitted,"says Jean-PaulSartre,resumingthe
words of the well-known Dostoevskiancharacter.What countsis to makc a
choice,to be you, to take responsibility.It is equivalentwhetheryou choosc
Ibr your role model a giant of human knowledge,say Einstcin,a symbol of
mystical ecstasy,say Saint Vincent de Paul, or the f-arnousCasanova,to
whom any conqueredwomanis a new stagein his philosophicalstudyof life.
EmbracingCaligula'scredo,"I believethat all actionsare equivalent,"
points to existentialismas a philosophydissociatingstrictly between thc
individualand the social.Taking as a startingpoint the isolateclindividualand
her or his iife expericnccindependentof the economic and socio-cultural
structures,cxistentialismcan no longer find any objectivecriteriafor hurnan
choiceand ends up by deploringthc imperfectionof a world ruled by moral
chaos. In such a world, the human being would be a Sisyphus,fbrever
engagedin actionsdesignedto expressillusoryfieedom,foreverfrustratedby
the consequcnceso1' his or her actions, expericncingthe tragic cJivorcc
betweenproject and result,and ultimatelyhaving to acceptthe world as is,
sonseless, devoidof value.In sucha world, happiness is compromised.
From the moment when freedom, internal, subjective,located on the
level of pure choice, is consideredto be the fragile principle of values,
happinessceasesto be the goal of humanexistence,the ideal,the meaningof
our presencein the world. Happinessis compromisedas soon as you accept
this freedom-spell, in the absenceof supportelementsand criteria,luring you
away into quicksand,on a path where the contrast betwcen happinessand
unhappiness is canceledby the absurdityof humanexistence.
In our time, a third type of conceptionabout happinessexists, that
exceedsboth structuralism,by stating that the problem of happincssdoes
arise,and existentialism, by maintainingthat the problem of happinessdoes
havesolutions.I particularlyrefer to Neo-Thomismand the Amcrican l,arianf
of pcrsonalism,which proposes,in diversc styles, what we could lcrm a
philosophyof the happy unhappiness, since it recomrnends mystical ecstasy
as the uniquehappinessinsteadof real happiness.
Both the neo-ThomistJacquesMaritain and the personalistw. E.
Hocking respond to thc question, what is happiness?,with the answer
proposedby ThomasAquinas:a perfectsatisf-action. absolute,independcntof
temporality,permanent.This kind of happinesscannot be aspired to or
reachedby thosewho focus their attentionon the hurnanworld alone,a world
breedingtemptationsand suffering,impcrf'ectsatisfactions,irrelevant,subjcct
to temporality,ephenreral. Only thosewho havc not lost their faith in God can
hopefor it. The unhappiness of the modernhumanbeing would be explained
exclusivelyby the lossof faith. The conclusionis the sameboth with Maritain
and Hocking;only the argumentation differs.Maritaincalls the new situation,
Il uppiness: The LoJiiestValue r$'Il urnunkind 123

thc tragedyo1'anthropocentrichumanism,characterizedby the certitudc that

advancemcntol knowledge and revolutions maintain the conviction of
humankindthat, if no God exists,then no human being exists.Thus, the
human being is hurled into hopelessunhappiness. Hocking calls the same
condition the dilemma of modernity, considering that our era, by
strcngthening people'sfaith in their reasonand action,would confrontthem
with a dilemma. The dilemma would be to either assume the risk of
knowledge,or refuseit and thus surrenderto a deeperand deepersolipsism.
Given the alternative,irrespectiveof one's option, happinessis impossible
without belicvingin God.
Yet, the questionarises:Is happinessin the real world an illusion? The
questionwas appropriatelyphrasedby SigmundFreud,who openedthe fourth
type of conccptionof happiness,dcveloped,in various patternsand with
notable alterations,by thc' philosophersof thc Frankfurt School. The
re.prescntatives ol' this conseptiondiffer fiom the structuralistsby asscrting
that the problem ol happinessis already posed and it has a theoretical
relevance.They differ fiom the existentialistsby consideringthat it does have
solutions, and they delimit themselvesfrom the representativesof the
religious philosophiesby searchingfor the possible solutions in the real
world. Yet, such a conception,althoughof an indisputableinterest,recovers
happinessas a fundamentalhuman aspirationonly to losc it again either by
placingit outsidethe culturalvalues(Freud),or by identifyingthe strugglefbr
happinesswith the fight fbr a new sensibility and sensoriality(Herbert
Marcusc).It is as if we were dealingwith a philosophyof happinessregained
and lost.
What tlctpeople want/ lUhatdo they aspire /ol', asksFreud. His answer
is unambiguous.Pcoplc want to bc and stay happy. Yet, why arc they not
happv'l Bccauseo1'the imminent decay of the body and the prescienceof
death, becauseof thc ambiguity of any all'ectiverelationshipbetween two
pcrsons that leaves bchind a deposit of hostile, inimical feelings. But
especiallyby virtue of the oppositionbetweenthe cultural norms ensuringthe
creation o1' the works of civilization and the foundation of lasting human
relationsaccordingto the principleol reality and the aspirationto happiness.
that presupposcthe satisfactionof the natural impulse basedon the principle
of pleasure."That rvhich we call happiness,"writes Freud, "results fiom the
satisf'action ol- sorne needsthat havc attaineda vory high tension," yet it
remainsan "episodicphenomenon,"since thc condition of the progressof
civilization is "to ccnsurethe satisfactionol thesetendencies."Thus, with
Frcud, ncurosis corxcs to express the degree of abdication reclaimcd by
societyin the nameo{'the culturalideal.In the very end, Freudcomesto say
that happinessis no culture value: Glilck ist kein Kultur-Gur. As it proceeds,
culture dictates sacrifices that could hardly ever allow people to capture
happiness.Hence, only the liberation of humankind from the repressive
characterof culturemay signify a return to the chancesof happiness.Sensitive
to the risks of the technocraticcivilization,yet somberand ambiguous,by
pcdaling on tht; clashbetweentwo bcatings,Eros and Thanatos,Freud sannot
seea way out.
Marcusetried to find a way out. He considersthat,criticallyreevaluatcd,
Freud's theory suppliesthe argumentsneededto query the thesisaccordingto
which civilization reclaims a more and more intense repression.And
implicitly, to recover an impossiblehappiness,Marcuse finds that in thc
advancedindustrialsociety,efficiencyhasbecomean aim in itself so much so
that the principle of reality, characteristicof any culture, operatesin its
degrading variant, that is, the principle of efficiency. Or, according to
Marcusc,this principleopposesthe lllflllment of the aspirationto happiness.
The technocratic society obstructs the way to happiness through the
manipulationof contrived consumerneeds of the "unidimcnsionalhuman
being." Recoveredand placedat the junction point of the harmonybetween
the soul's faculties and the social and cultural environment,the ideal of
happinessproposedby Marcusc is Utopian. His solutions,reinstatemcntol'
sensibilityin its rights, the appearance of a human type whose biological
impulsesare altered,and abolition of work as a condition fbr happincss,
continueto bear the mark of the original Freudianpreconceptions:happiness
is not a culture value. Whereversuch a preconception exists,people shrink
from usingthe word "happiness," yet do not stoppursuingit.
But happinessbecomesa syntheticculturalvalue if, by it, wc meanthe
satisfactionobtainedby the course of our existenceseen as a whole. To
understand happinessas a culturalvalueis to elevatea problemof life, clad in
a massof individualforms, to the conditionof principlc.As a consequence,
we reach a standpointliable to organizethe motlcy variety of personal
experiencesand render it intelligibly rational.This principle of happiness
cannotbe that of stoicalpassiveness, that of the existentialist"non-freedom,"
or that of "pleasure,"in its ancienthedonisticor modernFreudianhypostasis.
It is not easyto flnd, but it is worth lookingfor.
What is happiness?remainsan open qucstion.To obtain an acceptable
definitionof happiness somcdifficultiesmustbe transcended.
The first difficulty: the term, happinessis ambiguous.Its meaning,
developedin the courseof historyand lunctionof the socialcontext,initially
connotedsuccess, and lal.er,the screneconditionof wisdom,while in modern
times it would mainly refer to pleasure,and, of late,to the satisfactionwrth a
generalcourseof life. The very sameperson,in diff'erentlife circumstances,
meansby happinessa momentaryfeelingof powerfulemotion,or a feclingof
oalm and lasting contentmentwith thc senseof her or his cxistencc.The
personmay evenagreewith Seneca,"If you think you arc happyit will suffice
to be happy,"but also with onc of the Shakespearean characters, "I would bc
less happy if I thoughtI was." The ambiguityis total. This way we could at
I'lappiness:T'heLoJtiestValue of Humankintl 125

most succeedand explain what one human being meansby happinessln a

given situation.
To go beyondthis difflculty, I will settlefor one notion of happinessthat
I considertheoreticallymore rclevant and practically more important for the
effort a human being makes to advance to superior stages of humanity.
Namely, I settle for a definition that placeshappinessin the sphereof ideal
values,within an exigencyof action, grantingit thc privilege of bcing the
sourcein the processof humanperfectionand fulfillment.
The second difficulty: the pair ol correlative terms, happiness-
unhappiness is asymmetrical. It is distinctfrom other pairs,such as pleasure-
tormentor joy-sorrow.Unhappiness is more dependenton adverseconditions
zrndcontingencies. Happinessis particularlyrelatedto human valuationsand
acticlns.The term, "unhappiness,"does not contain the power that should
render it the opposite of happiness.As a matter of fact, thc term,
"unhappiness,"is a mclderndevising.The ancientshad no negativeterm
correlatedt<>beatitudoor felicitas, becausethey would look upon happiness
as the ideal of perfection and not as a state o{' things. We are never in the
position to declarc that those who can dismiss unhappincssmay become
happy.On the contrary,only thosc who pursuethe attainmentof happinessas
a valuecan also experienceunhappiness. That is why a negativedefinitionof
happinesscould offer only the premises,while the positivedefinition should
pursuc a different path of posting happinessin the polymorphic register of
The third difficulty: an acceptabledefinition can refer to the ideal of
happiness alone,beingonly indirectlyand approximatelyappliedto actualizcd
happiness. For humanlife to be qualifiedas happy,it shouldexclusivelybear
thc auraof good and fulfillment.But in the courseof a lifetime,it is difficult
for a finely-shadedcombinationof achievementand failure and of good and
bad not to cocxist.At the sametime, as a result of a processof idealization
characteristic of any valuc-oriented bcing,the ideal vision of the huppy life is
built. It includesonly the good aspects at which a humanbeing'smoralewill
aim, while rcfining itsclf. Oncesuchan idcal imageis built, we are inclinedto
invest it alone with the name of happiness,as Cicero did, when sayingthat
thosewho can enjoy the good alonewithout any mixture of evil can be happy.
Graspedas the supremegood and the complete,permanentsatisfaction,in the
sum total of hf'e's manif'estations, happinessis a notion designatingan ideal
situationto which we constantlyaspire and that commandsconstantself-
perf'ection.Such a happiness,the only one that could be defined,is the one
that we are in pursuitof, yet not the one that we can find. One is the ideal,
pcrf-ecthappiness;thc othcr one is the tangible happiness,imperl'ect,yet
genuine,especiallydue to the alternationof the moods and to the strainfor the
ideal of happiness,which is, in fact, the authentichuman happiness.Or the
difficulty we are faced with is the very same problem: we develop and
experiencereal happiness,permanentlyperf'ectible,but only thc idcal
happincsscan be dcflned.Since happinessinvolvcsa satisl'action of its own
kind, having such attributesas permanence, attainment,and completion,it is
difficult to estimatethe minimum requiredfor real happiness,but it is no1
difficult to foreseethat maximum supposedof ideal happinessthat could be
included in a definition. Thus, we will know what real happinessis, yer
indirectly,becauseof thoseattributesof ideal happinessthat it approximates
and actualizcsby the humanactioninscribedon the axiologicalhorizon.
The fourth difficulty: happinesspresupposes the completeindivisibility
between objective and subjectivetime. Happinessis neithcr the automatic
result of externalphenomena,nor is it an automatiocrcationby thc subject.
Happinessis the productol'a person'sactivity.the end resultof the processol
assigningvalue to the materialsuppliedby the naturalenvironmentand thc
social-culturalsetting.Bringing to harmonya humanbeing'ssoul, the social
cnvirontnent,and the needs,establishinga balancebetweenthc subject ancl
the object may also bring along happiness. This is why it does not sufiice to
dcfine happinesseither by its lavoring objectiveconditions,or by a statcol'
subjectivesatisfaction, in orderto achievean optirnalrclationin a fraction,the
numerator of which would be representedby satisfied clesires,ancJthe
denominatorol' which would rel-erto desiresas a whole. To claim that
happinessis a stateof satisfaction is to havein view a psychologicalindicator
only, yet, as long as we cannotdetenninewhich desiresneed bc satisflerJ,
which meansand ways arc worth promoting, we have not steppedonto the
axiological ficld, and, as such, wc are still far liom our goal. Happiness
involvesa satisfactionjustified by valueswith a lif-eto bc built ancl worth
living, a lil'e able to achicve a sorl. of ontologicalharmony betwecn thc
subjectivityof desiresand the objectivityof the valuationactions.
The difficultiesdiscussedimmediatelyaboveurge us to placeourselvcs
in a predilectlyaxiologicalperspective and definehappinessas a value,in the
conceptualframework of a possible ontology of the axio-oentralhuman
condition.The proximal genre for the notion of happinessseemsto be thc
notionof genericvalue.
Vafue rspar excellence relational,beinginherentto the humanactionof
creatingvalue and bcing value-oriented. It concernsnot the statcof facts,but
the stateof right, advancingfrom indicativc finctingsto idcal significance,
shapingconscienceand bchavioralike.Value exprcsses not what wc are, bu[
what we are not, what we are in searchfbr, what we want to be and think that
we shouldbe. Valuesanswerthe dernandsof socialpracticcby a multi-shadcd
dialecticsof interiorizaLron and objectivization, thus bccomingrequirementin
action.Action requirements arc involvedin any opticlnsof the accord,lorever
to be reconstituted,recreated,between a particular human being and the
particular world in which he or she participatesto build his or her own
destiny. The entire human activity, which is creationand self-crcation,is
Happine.ss:The l-ofiie,stValueoJ'Humankind 121

driven by the pursuitand achievement. of values.A world without valuesstops

being a human civilization,looking rather like a society of Hymenoptera.
Human beings would return to anirnality or change into a bio-mechanical
aggregate.Directly or symbolically,values exprosspeople's projects,the
constellationof their preferencesprof'essedand aimed at, the hierarchy of
their preferences, their way of making a choice and being chosen.It is only
through the values assumedand prornotedthat a person's synthetic project
calledhappiness acquiresshape.
Thus conceived, happinessappears to us as value. Expressing a
synthetic project, happinesspresupposesand integratesother values. Their
contents determine its ethical height, and their amplitude determines its
magnitude.Pure happincss,separatedfrom other values- good, beauty,truth,
justice,freedom,work, duty, love, honor - would drown in silenceor cancel
itself in a pathological narcissisrn.As a synthetic cultural value of each
person,happinesscannotbe a pure value {br the very reasonthat it is intrinsic
and, as such, the other values lend it contcntsand support.All other values
could be pursued,lunction of the context,for themselves, too, but aiso as a
meansto achieveanothervalue,as instrumentalvalues.And if questionssuch
as, Useful to what?, Knowledgefor what?, or Well-beingfor what?, make
sense.the question,Why be happy?,is nonsensicalexactly becausehappiness
can never be an instrumentalvalue, only an intrinsic value. It representsthe
Situatedin the f-ascinating realm of values,happinessis not, despite
frequent languageambiguities,egotisticalwhim, instinctiveimpulse, lucky
accident,or mcdiocreluxury. Happinessis a humanbeing'sessentialnlfnner
of relating,socially,culturally,pref'erentially,
to the world. People'saspiration
to happiness is involvcd in their specific manner of existence and
dcvelopment,nS, homo aestimans.If people were not estimatinghuman
beings,thenthey would alwaysbe satisticdwith what they arc.Human beings
would no longer bc active,creative;alongsidethe loss of their craving fbr
perf-ection,their ability to give senseto lif'e, their competenccto fight and
achievethc ideal of happinesswould be alsolost.Happinesspresupposes that
human beings are able to control the hard moments of decision-making
between ahernativesol' action, conliont dangers and temptations,surpass
failure and sorrow to fulfill their life through struggle, unfolding all their
creative powers. Indeed, what else is happiness if not the long-lasting
satisfactionwith a li{'e endowedwith a meaning?A life that a person gladly
relivesand that survivcsthe individualby virtue of the valuescreated?What
is happinessif not a pcrsonalvalueassimilatingand organizingthe aggregate
of cultural valuesin a syntheticproject, and thus contributingto the designof
a life open to new stagesof humanity'?Could it not be, then, the lasting and
stimulatingsatisfaction,which accompaniesthe strugglefor happiness,of the
kind fclt by the creatorof a work of art?
If placedamongother humanvalues,we can associate to happinessthe
special joy of creation. Such satisfactiondoes not eliminate sad or
disappointing moments, periods of physical or moral suffering. Such
satisfactiongrantsimmunity againsthigh stressand a predominantlypositive
affectivity. This type of completesatisfaction,as it goes beyond the intense,
yet transient,superficialdelight of the senses,entailing all spiritual faculties,
sensitivity, affectivity, reason, will-power, is long-lasting because it is
achievednot with the help of, but throughoutan entire life. It is maintained
not by suffocating needs, but by satisfying them and concomitantly
heighteningthe level of valueexigency,by virtue of the paradoxsayingthat if
devoid of fresher longings for perfection, we would be unhappy in our
happiness.In its acceptanceof a highly passionateemotional experience,
happinessinvolvestransientcontentment.Happinessas satisfactionwith the
whole of a lifetime wherethe order of the personalvaluesharmonizeswith the
world is durableand could be constantlypresent.
Although it offers prospectsfor the future and assurancetor the past,the
pursuit of ideal happinessunlblds in actionsin the presenttimc. A human
being's life is like an unfinishedwork as long as hc or she comprehends,
Seen in this light. happiness presupposesself-fulfillment, self-
realization.Its paths,so diversefrom one personto another,from one instance
to another,proceedthroughthc continuousdevelopmentand workings of all
human faculties. Thus, the idea of happinesscomes to involve the full
ernploymentof all human faculties,of the entire human potential.In this way
the major cultural needs are first and foremost cultivated, since they are
reflectedin the aspirationto excellenceand fulfillment. Truth, good, beauty,
justice, dignity are values revealed as summation goods, not as con-
summation goods. Circumstancesexist though when the existenceof an
individual favors specific faculties,being centeredarounda unique focussing
value, and thus the fulflllment of sharedlove is f-elt as symbolizing the
attainmentof the syntheticproject. Even in such border cases,happiness
cannotbe selfish,as it presupposes bridgeslinking consciences, adjustmentto
the developmentof the other human beingsas a condition of developingyour
own personality.
Maybe now the reasonwhy human beings pursue happinessbecomes
clearer.The reasonwhy they searchfor happinessby developingvaluesand
granting meaning is happinessitself. The creation of values, assigning
meaning,the use of f'aculties,attainmentof aims and desiresare all attributes
that persuadeus refuseto considerhappiness a condition,somethingfinite.
Irrespectiveof how subtle and profound philosophicalattemptsmay be
in defining happinessexclusivelyas a predicamentand in systematizinga
number of its constant characteristics,they all seem to suffer from the
drawback I have already mentioned: they ignore the fact that the main
flappiness:The LoftiestValueof Ilwnankind t29

attributeof happinessis its being foreverpursued,yet neverwholly attained.

As I argued above, the notion of happinessexpressesactivity, a dynamic
processof self-realization, infinitely open on the axiologicalvista.From this
perspective,happinessis no longer a terminal we arrive at, after having
fbllowed, by no trial and error, an itinerarypreviouslyestablished,to exclaim,
"This is wherc we stopl" or Instant,halt! This is not a feeling of oomfortable
self-satisfaction,in which all your desireswould be completelysatisfied,the
hedonisticconcept,or completelysuppressed, the stoic concept.Happinessis
active life, guided by values, directed toward self-realization and self'-
Aristotle defineshappinessas the life of that human being who aspires
to what is the best, the most beautiful, and, at the same time, the most
We are thus offered the way to overcome the artificial alternative:
"pleasurewithout virtue," Cyrenaichedonism,or "virtue without pleasure,"
Stoicascetioism. To decidein favor of one or the otherpossibleanswersto the
alternativeis to ignore that happinessrules out conflicting human faculties
and presupposes their reconciliation.This is possibleso far as we understand
happiness as an activity of self-realization and self-completion. In the
employment of human laculties, pleasure acquires an axiological rank,
becominga long-lastingsatisfaction with life's creativemeaning.Moral virtue
is felt not only as a duty imposed by outernorms,but alsoas an inner craving
for sell'-completion.
This way of understanding happinessopensup the vista for surpassing
the disjunction,desireor reason,with the help of a conjunction.Immanuel
Kant usedto think that due to our affectivcand sensorialfaculties,we long for
happiness, while as rationalbeingsand moral "agcnts,"we settlefor duty. The
proposedvision helpsus understand that by pursuinghappinesswe may hope
to attain what Hegel saw as a merger of desire and duty, betweensentiment
and reason.Our desiresacquire a reasoningof their own, and reason is
involvedin the intentionof desire.Thus, happinessis not externalto morals,
exceptwith thosewho persistin their error of taking it fbr hedonisticpleasure
Happiness is understood as the moral yearning for sell'-perfectionand
lulfillment of a humanbeing'sdestinyby meansof culturalvalue-generating
cndeavor.And cultural creationmeansnot only the productionof exceptional
work, but also the conscientiousconduct in doing your duty, so that each
individualcontributesto the moral ascentof humankind.
Satisfactionand dissatisfaction, joy and sorrow, hope and nostalgia,
effort and reflection, success and failure, memory and project, all receive a
new meaning and a higher axiological status due to the comprehensive
processof self-improvement. This happensas a resultof attaininggoalsthat
can always find sourcesof dynamism,of the long-lastingsatisfactionbrought
aboutby the activityaimedat thesymbiosis
of individualself-perfection
In a vision consonantwith the Aristoteliangraspof happiness,human
beings are conceived of as constantly open-minded creatures, nevcr
completelycreated,but always creatingthemselvesby the generationof such
projectsthat lend human existencepristine meanings.The nccessityto satisfy
their practicai needs makes human beings actively relate to historical
conditionsin order to selectvaluesand make decisionsas to their actions,
striving for harmony between the hierarchy of values and the order of the
world. The major content of happinessis the painstaking engagementof
human faculties, self-realization and self-perfection in the struggle to
transform reality and give human lif'c a meaning. Surrender to external
constraints, blind necessity, chance, alienating social conditions, thc
magnetismof thc situation,or to inner servitude,instinctualautomatism.
ignorance,stereotypicaladjustment,preconceptions, the tyranny of emotion,
would be tantamountto relinquishingthe aspirationto happiness.
Thc vision of happinessfor which I arguedoesnot invadethe belief.sof
greatwriters and philosophersin the existenceof some "factors" of happiness
bearing a degreeof generalization,with the inevitablepersonalnote. On tfie
contrary, it deepenssuch beliefs and shifts their weight to what is really
cssential.For cxample, Leo Tolstoy considersthat attainmento1 human
happiness presupposes suchconditionsas unmarredbondsbetweenthe human
beingand nature,pleasantand unconstrained work, family, candidand sincere
Iiiendship, health. Bertrand Russell resorts to a different type of
systematizationwhen sayingthat thereare four importantingredients:the first
is, probably,health;the second,the matcrialmeansnecessaryto protcctyou
againstnecds;the third, the relationshipwith other persons(friendship,love,
the parent-children relationship,
etc.);and the fburth,accomplishment o1'your
work. Both the writer's and the philosopher'sperspectives, though, include
the samedominantelement:work is a vital prcrequisite of humanlif-e.It is the
way toward happiness,as Tolstoy maintains.Russell rnaintainsthat thc
greatesthappinessderives fiom cxcellencein rvork, from successin spite gf
difficulty and that he or shewho doesnot struggle,cannotreachit.
By placing happinessin a privileged relationshipwith the activrty
directedat the generalpurposeof giving meaningto lif'e, the shift ol' weight
from the conditionsof happiness,necessary,yet insufficient,onto its efficient
reasonbecomesclearer.A patternof happiness,perfect f-orall times and all
humanbeingsis inconceivable. Happinessis a humancreationdependentboth
on the socictyin which humanbeingslive, and on thcir abilities,talents,and
personalaspirations,genuineand irreversiblc.Undoubtedly.to be able to
realizethemselvesas human beings,to enjoy thc meaningconferredto their
lives, people need biological conditions, good health, environmental
conditions,intelleotualconditions,such as a distinct levcl of knowledse.
flappiness: The Loftiest Value of Hurnunkintl t3t

af-fection, suchas family warmth.interpersonal relationships, friendship,love,

and the rnaterialconditionsdescribedby EugdneIonescoas scmi-prospcritl,
or scmi-poverty.In the absenceof thesecclnditions, the courseto happinessis
strcnuousand, sotneLimes, in the allsence,Ibr example,o1'thc biological or
ail-fcctive ones,almostin-rpossible. Their absencedoes thwart happincss"yet,
althoughimportant,their presencedoesnot automaticallvsecureit. Happincss
is abovc these oonditions.You can be vi-{orouslyhcalthy, you may have
advanceclknowledge, you can be well-to-do, you can have friends t<r
understand you, yet the lack o1 meaningin your life wili be felt as a more or
lcssacutepercepl.ion of unhappint:ss.
Th i s is not a r es t r i c ti v cs ta te me n t, If you
s i m p l i l y i n go r standardi zi ng.
pursuc liappincss,thcn nothing that is human can bc alicn to you, whcther
r n cd i ta ti onin s olit udc . c o n te mp l a ti o np, a s s i o n ,d re a mi ng,l ei sure, pl ay,
convcrsation,rerncmblance,hope. or conliontationand conflict, crring and
Iilrgiving,solvingproblems,and surmountingobstaclcs.So much thc lcssare
bridgcsof humarnwarmth,comfortingand stirnulatingenergy.Thc sonataol'
happincsscannotbc composedwith just one musicalnote.Yet it.is playcd on
.iustonc scale.The compositionsarc alwaysoriginal.Each personcrcatcshis
or hcr own work of life, using specific abilities and talents, in distinct
tcchniques,of his or her own tonality.When edifying a life of meaningand
value,eachdetail,eachchoice,and eachmome.ntcommandscrcation.
Photornetryuscs a notion meerntto designate[he ratio betweenlight
radiatedand light receivedby a surface,called "albedo."Each planet in our
solar systemhas its own albedowhioh can alwaysbc lcssor at most equalto
onc, sincc no solar system unit can radiate nlorc light than it receives.
Metaphorically,we may considcrthatthe albcCoof the "hurnanbeingplanet,"
as il' challcngingthc laws of' nature,is greaterthan the unit. Inheriting so
much throughtheir genetic,soi;ial,and culturalcndowmcnt,humanbeingsare
vtrluc-gcnerating being,able'toadd sornething ncw to thcir inheritancc,ableto
givc sornethingmorethanthey haveinherited.
To conclude:the optimizedratio of satisfieddcsircsto existingdesircs
can lcad to thc atl.ainment of thc aspirationto happinessonly then and there
where it cxprcssesa maxirnizcd ratio of the crcated values to the inherited
values.Perhapsthis is what Albert Einsteinmeantwhen he said that a human
being'svaluercsidesin what he or shecan give, and not in u'hathe or shecan

The Orphic Myth and the Human Condition

In our time, preeminentlyrationalisticand demystifying,the tendencyhas
paradoxicallysurfacedto recur to myths every time people wish to better
understandthemselvesand the world in which they live. Perhapsthe tendency
could be explainedby the fact that myths succeedin symbolicallycombining
motivation, experiences,and attitudes with basic meanings toward an
understanding of the humanplight.
Given their form, myths could abridge the ever-presentspan between
what people want to do and what they succeedin doing and understanding.
Myths reflect the reliance and trust of an archaic society on valucs in their
perpetualoperationon a humanontic level. The comprehensionof this belief,
free of subsequent ideological subterfuges, enables the individuals to
rediscoverthemselvesand their private and primary problems in a myth.
Thus,myth-conveyed messages can acquireundyingcontemporaneity.
By recurringLomyths, the contemporaryauthorbenefitsfrom irrefutable
advantages. Its languageis suppler,richer in nuances,since,basically,the
myth is an extensive metaphor. By endowing the imaginary with values
characteristicof an instrumentof knowledge,the myth makesgood use ol the
capabilities of reason, while also protecting reason against its own
imperialisticdemands.And through hermeneutics,as Mircea Eliade used to
say, you can decodethe fresh meaningsof the encodedpracticalwisdom that
The Orphic myth, more than any other myth, holds the virtue of
encompassing in its registera world of values.The myth invokesthe ideathat
value is the necessarylink bctweenneedsand desires,betweenideal and
reality, betweennatureand culture. The fbrmidable task of Orpheusaims to
rcbuild the bridges between the pursuit of pragmatic efticiency and the
impassioned living of thejoys of lif'e.
The Orphic myth conveysmeaningsother than thoseof the Narcissan
myth to which it is often compared.For cxample,in his Eros and CiviliTation,
Herberl Marcuse maintainsthat both Orpheusand Narcissussymbolize the
same anti-Prometheanideal. In his opinion, both legends demonstratethe
revolt againsta civilizationbasedon labor and efficiency,or, in other words,
they expressthe Great Denial. This can be true with respectto Narcissus.He
is an anti-Promethean, since,contentto endlesslyadorehis imagein the water
mirror, he spurnsthe valuesof labor and efficiency.The Narcissanmyth, seen
by Marcuseas a symbol of the pluridimensionalhuman being,expressesan
anthropometricideal, symmetricalto the Sisypheanmyth. Prometheus,who
revolted againstZeus and gave humankindthe gift of fire at the price of his
own perpetualagony,remainsthe heroo1'acultureof labor.Prometheus is the
symbolof a pyramidalaxiologicalhierarchytoppedby the practical-utilitarian
values.Both Narcissusand Sisyphussymbolizeaxiologicalhierarchiesby
lefusingto bestowvalue to labor.Narcissusrejectstoil, withdrawinginto the
dimensionsof inward Iiving. Sisyphusacceptsit as an agony.Both Narcissus'
introvertedbehavior and thc standardizedbehavior of Sisyphussymbohze a
human universedevcliclof an axis of values.In either case,the altormaLhis
lailure.Failureof cvasion.in the caseclf Narcissus.Failureof aut.omatism, in
the cascof Sisyphus.The failurc of solitudeand of denial of values,in both
cases. is the reasonwhy neitherNarcissus,nor Sisyphus,but Promethcus
hascome to standfor the symbolof Westernculturalprogress.
The case o1'Orpheusis completelydifferent.Orpheusis not an anti-
Promethean.Like Prometheus,he cultivates labor in its major variant:
authenticcreation.With Orpheus,labor and efficiencyare sources of joy and
elementsin the fulfillmentof the humanbeing'screativeskills.This way, the
Promethean idealis dialecticallyintcgratedand excelled.
Orpheus'work is both sat"isfaction and fun. His languageis singing.His
life is beautyand the ability to communicatc.To the legendarypoet,to live is
to comrnunicate.FIis ultimate satisf'actionis the satisf'actionhe brings to his
hurnanfcllows. Creatiortis his mannerof life. Lovc is his style of living. His
arspiration is to achicvethe unity betweenthe human bcing and nature,not
through authority,violence,repression,but through the fiee dominationof
creativeactivity over the social,natural,and subjectivefclrces.Thc Orphic
creationtamcs thc elementsof naturc,humanizesthc Universe,propagates
beauty.Orpheuscoversthe entire registerol'life values,keepingin balance
satisfactionand pain, exultationand dismay, tcnsictnand conversion.His
arc genuinely human and acquire a srrong axiological
Orpheus'destinyevokesan axiologicalexperiencein fostcringeachand
every value.Inf-eriorvaluesaid in the achievcmentof superiorvalues,wliich,
in turn, dispel their meaning over the whole rangc of values. Thc placc
assigned,within the range,to lovc, to Eros, is an implicit protestagainslan
order basedon the cult of efficiency for efficiency's sake.The world (or
which Prometheus standssignifiesthe denialof any suohorder.Orphcusgoes
farther attd, after having denicd the existing ordcr, discovcrsa ncw reality
with its own axiological order. In this new reality, lerboracquiresmoral
values.The human being opposesignoranceand misery,cruclty and death.
Aestheticsensibilityturns into a power opposingover-repression by instinct-.
In this world lacking ontologicalharmony, happincssis nonscnsical.Thc
moral values are on top of the list. Aesthetic valucs second them. The
hierarchicalorder of valuesharmoniouslyintegratcsall values.thc affective.
strictly individual ones included,and thus thc aestheticpatternbccomesthc
coordinatingparadigm of all values.This does not lead to a paradisiacal
l-he Orphir: Myth und the HumctnConditiort r35

vision, free of contradictions,tcnsions, and suffering. On the contrary,

Orpheusexperiencesthe rnajor drama of choice. Orpheusmakes his choice
and payshis tribute.Orpheusregretsand suffers.He regretsthe consequences,
yet not his defianceof gods in the nameof the lofiy idealsof liberty and love.
His soul acquirespathetichumanaccents,solemnaxiologicalresonance. His
sorrowtranscends the strictlypcrsonalboundsof distresscausedby his lossof
the most beloved human creatureand grows into grief for the servitudeof
humanconditionperceivedin the limit-caseof havingto makea choice.
Even when experiencingterrible misfortune,Orpheusis great, because
he is aware of his mischanceand yearns to surpassit. With Orpheus,the
discrepancybetweenthe order of valuesand the order of things can and must
be elfaced. He trics to eradicatethe repressiveforces, to build, for and
together with his fellow beings, a harmoniousorder of values in which the
sourccsgeneratingunhappinesswill be limited. His attitudetoward the world
is that of a Faust avant la lettre. To Orpheus,happinessitself is the human
dcsign of a basicagreementbetweenthe world order and the determinedorder
of human values.In our times, the terms of the agreementhave changed.The
agreementitself has changed.But Orpheusremainsthe perennialsymbol of
the human being's effort to devise such an agreement. When in his
mastcrpiece,The Old Man and the Sea,ErnestHemingway had the old man
say that man is not createdto be defeated,we could hear the contemporary
resonance of the Orphic lyre.
Indeed,Orpheuswas not defeated.Neither were the elementsof nature,
the occult forces in Hades, decisive in the absolute loss of his beloved.
Orpheuswas perfectlyawarethat to look at Euridice was to lose her. He knew
prccisely the restriction imposed by Persephone:it would be impossible to
save his beloved if hc looked at her. Yet, Orpheusattemptedthe impossible.
Metaphorically,his behavior conjuresa profoundly human reaction.History
rvas possible only becausethe human being challengedwhat was sacredly
impossible! By every progress in social practice, by every important
breakthroughin science,philosophy,or art, the kingdom of the impossibleis
reduced.The human being, who has a finite existence,venturesto touch the
infinite through reasonand values.An enigmaticforce urgespeople to push
that frontier of the impossiblefurther and further away. Orpheus' sublimefeat
testifiesto a consciencewhich, observingitself, hasrediscoveredthe objective
and constrainingsignificanceof the cultural values.Orpheusevokesthis in an
exemplaryway: the human being does not only reason,but also estimates
values.The human life's axial principle is not the Cartesiancogito ergo sum,
butvaleo ergo sum.Orpheusis the symbol of homo aestimans.
Orpheus'bchaviorpoints to the existenceof an ontologicalstatusof the
humancondition.It also indicatesthat valuesstandfor the basic determinants
of the ontological status.Peoplewere living in the woods and their lif-e was
governedby instinctswhen the legendarypoet taughtthem not to kill and eat
inf-amousfood any more, when he urged them to be concernednot only with
what they owned,but also with what they were.Orpheusis the symbol of the
disputednon-humannaturalorder,govcrncdby instinctand challengedby a
cultural order distinctivelyhuman,governedby valuessuch as truth, good,
beauty,justice. Orpheusdoes not challengeuniversaldeterminism.But he
knows that while things are what they are, and evolve in a certain direction,
yet the individuals have the right to wonder where they have come fiom,
where they are going to, what they are, and why they exist.with orpheus, the
essentialis to be, not to have.And to the humanbeing,to be is to know, to
estimate,and to act so as to give life a sense.
Narcissuswas obsessed with his physicalbeauty.Sisyphuswas obsessed
with the tormentof his effort. They both linger within the limits of a universe
they accept as is, devoid of sense and value. orpheus embodies the
prospectivefacultiesof any humanbeing,who, in the nameof values,actsto
establisha cultural order, specifically human. Even when he looks back to
Euridice,his action is precededby a look forward, toward the projectedideal.
Thus,lucid conscicncecomesto be linked to the irresistibleaspirationtoward
the sense-givingvalues of human lifc. orpheus enjoys a philosopher's
wisdom, forever in pursuitof the absolute,in spite of his knowing that both
his tools and his productliave not and cannothave absolutevalue.The system
of valuespresentin Orpheus'bearingsymbolicallyoutlinesthe utopianworld
of the disalienated humanbeing.
Time and again, Orpheustries to smooth the asperitiesof the road to
disalienation. A road endlesslyresumedby history,with fieshertools but with
the same purpose in view. On the one hand, this is about harmonizing
people's relationshipwith naturc. Orpheustries to commune with trees and
animals and thus attune natural order and human order. What other
significancecould we assign today to the ecologicalvalues promoted by
people?Does not our fight to preservenature,fought with the weaponsof our
era, bear the same meaning that Orpheus' fight, fought with mythical
weapons,did? On the other hand,this is aboutthe relationshipof one human
being to another.With Orpheus,a human being can be nothingelse but the
aim, and this is what ImmanuelKant will expressin philosophicterms.It is
therebynatural for the relationshipof human beings with their fellow beings
to be that of value-carrierswith other value-carriers.
The 1 and non-l formula,
where non-l is either the enemy or the inferior, is forcign to Orpheus'
yearning.The 1 could challengeat most the 1, in the individual'sfight with
himself or herself in the attemptto createa harmoniousaxiological climate.
The climate will not be completelyfree of contradictionand tension,danger
and temptation,failure and suffering.Yet their naturewould be changed,their
sphereof action would be restrictedas the vital unity betweenthe order of
thingsand the orderof humanvaluesis beingbuilt.
'l'he t37
Orphic' Mt'tlt antl the I-lurnan ()rtndition

Scen liom this perspectivc,the Orphic rnyth becomesan evocative

mctaphoricalrecollcctionof thc humanbeing'svirtuesas an estimatingbeing.
In a worid in which wc must decide betweenthe fascinationof things,
tcchnioal,ceremonial,and consumergoods,and the fascinationof the spiritual
and moral valucs,thc Orphic rnyth staystruc. Without neglecttngthe "sensc
of the aotual,"living so as to achieveour time's lolly valucsby meansof the
interactionbetweenthc concrctehistoricalconditionsand ethos,thc Orphi<;
voice echoesours wheneverwe wonder:What am I? What must I do'l What
can I believein'l What can I hopefor?
To tell value from anti-value,to adequatelyhierarchrzethe valuesof lil'e
and culture,we needa guide.Unlike in myth, we will not be guidedby Orphic
music. Philosophymight becomeour guide when it resoundswith human
pathosand enjoysan axiologicalperspective.
AlongsidcPlatoand his celebrated dialogucPhaedo,I prof-ess that there
is no loftier musicthanphilosophy.
Part One


l. See Alcxius von Meinong,PsychoLogish-etisclrc

Untersuchungen zur
und Wert(1895).Christianvon Ehrenf'els,
(1894)anJUber Werrhalten
Werttheorie und Ethik (1893) and Von der Wertdefinition zurtr Motivatiortgesetze
( I 896).
?. Ralph Barton Perry, General Theory o.f' VaLue (Cambridge, Mass.:
3. Louis Lavelle, Traitd des vale,urs,2 vols. (Paris:PressesUniversitairesde
F r a n c e1, 9 5 1 ,1 9 5 5 ) .
4. Lavelle, Traitd des yaleurs.


l. John Laird, Tlte lclectof Value (Carnbridge,Unitcd Kingdom: Carnbridge

University Press,1929).
2. Raymond Polin, La crdation des valeurs: Recherc'he sur Ie Jondementde
l'objectit,iti axiologiqrze(Paris:PressesUniversitairesde France,1945).
3. CharlesW. Morris, Varietiesof Htunan VaLues(Chicago: University of
4. Robert S. Hartman,The Structureof Value: Foundationsofa Scientificct
Axiology (Carbondale,Ill.: SouthernIllinois UniversityPress,1967).
,5. Clyde H. Coombs,"La mesuredans les sciencessociales,"Les mdthodes
rle recherchedans le.sscie.nces sociale(Paris:PrcssesUniversitairesde France,1963).
6. R. S. Hartman, "Formal Axiology and Measurementof Values," The
JournaLof' Value Inquit1,, I : I (1.967).
7. Jean Piaget, "Les courants de l'6pistemologie scientifique
contemporaine,"Logique et c'onnaissance scientifique(Paris:Gallimard, 1967).
8. William R. Catton, Jr., "Exploring Techniquesfbr Measuring Human
Value,"AmericanSociologicaL Review,No. l9 (1954).
9. Arnold Berleant, "The Experience and Judgement of Values," l'he
Journalof ValueInquirv,l:l (Spring1961),p.24.
10. Edmund Husserl, "Zur Phrinomenologieder Intersubjeckivitiit,Zweiter
Teil," Husserliana,Vol. 16,cd. Iso Kern (The Hague:Martinus Nijhoff-,1964),p.334.
I l. Joseph Margolis, "The Use and Syntax of Value Judgments,"Value
Thenry in Plilosoplry and Social Science,eds. E. Laszlo and JamcsB. Wilbur (New
York: Gorclonand BreachSciencePublishers,1973),p. 120.
12. JamesColeman,FoundationsoJ'SociaLTheory (Cambridge,Mass.:The
BelknapPressof l{arvardUnivcrsityPress,1990),p, 387.
l3. Max Weber, The ProtestantEthic and the Spirit of Capitalisru(London:
Allen zindUnwin, 1904).
14. Ludwig Wittgenstcin, Lectures and Conversntions on Acsthetics,
Pstchologt,, and Religiotts Belie.l's,ed. C. Barret (Los Angeles: University o1-
Cafifbrnia Press,1961),p.27.

Part Two

Chapter Three

l. Venant Cauchy,Conf6rencede cl6ture."Culture ct d6viancehurnainc;

Philosophy and Culture," Proceedings of the XVIlth World Congress oJ' Philosopht,
( M o n t r e a lE: d i t i o n sM o n t m o r e n c y1, 9 8 6 ) p
, p 411-412.
2. Immanuel KanL, Critique of Pure Reason (New York: Thc Macmillan
C o . , 1 9 1 9 )p, . 7 2 .
3. Edward B. Taylor, Prinitive Culture, 2 vols. (London: John Murray,
4. Ernst Cassirer,Es.saisur I'honune(Paris:Eclitionsclc Minuit, 1955),p.
.5. Allied L. Kroeber,Clydc Kluckhohn,"Culturc: Critical Analysis o1'thc
Concept and Definitions," Dictionan' of Social Scicrtccs,cds. Julius Hould and
William L. Kolb (New York: The FrcePress,196q.
6. Louis Lavcllc, Traitd des valeurs(Paris:PressesUniversitaircsde France.
l 9 5 l ) .V o l . 1 . p . 2 6 .
7. Robert Ginsberg,"The Value of Philosophy:A Dialoguc," The Journal o.f
VaLueInquiry,,24:1 ( 1990),p. 41.
8. John Lockc, Tv,o Treatiseson Government(Cambridge,United Kingdom:
CambridgeUniversity Press,I 960).
9. Edmund Husserl,Phenomenolog,- and the Crisisof PhiLosophr-.
10. JanuszKuczynski,"The First International Symposiumof Universalism,"
Dialecticsand Hunnnisn, No. 2 ( 1989),p. 213,
I l. Anna-TeresaTymieniecka,"The CreativeSelf and the Other in Man's
Seff-lnterpretation," Analecta HusserLiana (Dordrccht: D. Reidel Publishing
C o m p a n y )V, o l . 6 ( 1 9 7 1 )p, . l 0 l .
12. Steve Connor, Theon, and Culnrral Value (Oxfbrd: Basil Blackwell,
1 9 9 2 )p , .8.
13. PeteA. Y. Gunter,"Creativityand Ecology" (paper),WestcrnDivision of
the Societyfbr Philosophyof Creativity,1984,p. 1.
14. John Fekete,"lntroductory Notes fbr a PostmodernValue Agenda,"Lfe
cfter Postmodernism: Essayson Value and Culture, ed. John Feketc (London:
M a c m i l l a n ,1 9 8 8 ) p , . 1.
15. AlexandreKoyr6, EtudesNewtonienrzes (Paris:Gallimard,1968),pp 43-
16. Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers,Lct nouvelle alliance (Paris:
Galfimard, 1919),pp.64 and273.
ll. Hilary Putnam, Reason, TrLtth, and History (Cambridge. United
K i n g d o m :C a m b r i d g cU n i v c r s i t yP r e s s 1
, 9 8 2 ) p, p . 1 7 4a n d 1 8 7 .
1 8 . I b i d . ,p . 1 9 2 .
lc). Ibid., pp. 201-202.
Notes l4l

70. John Rawls, A Theory of' Justice (London: Oxfbrd University Press,
21. Edrnund Husserl, Die Krisis des europc)isches Menschentumsund die
Philosophie(The Hague:Martinus Nrjhoff, 1962),pp. 347-348.
2?. HerbertMarcuse,One-DimensionalMan (Boston:BeaconPrcss,1912).
23. Alvin To1'fler,The Third Wave( New York: BantamBooks, 198I ).

Chapter Four

l. GerhardVollmer, "Reductronand Evolution:Argumentsand Examples,

Reduction," Science:Struc:ture,Examltles,PhilosophicaLProbluns, eds. W. Balzer,
D.A. Pearce,and H. J. Smith (Dordrecht:D. ReidelPublishingCo., 1984),p. 131.
2. Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientdic Philosophl, (Berkeley:
Universityo1'California Press,1951),p. 2.
-1. Otto Neurath,Empiricismand Socictbgv,eds.M. Neurathand R.S. Cohen
(Dordrecht:D. ReidelPublishingCo., 1973),p. 337.
4. Rudolf Carnap, "Logical Foundations of the Unity of Science,"
F-oundations oJ'the Unitv o.fScience,eds. O. Neurath,R. Carnap,C. Morris (Chicago:
Universityo1'Chicago Press,1971),1:1-10,p. 49.
5. C. G. Hernpe|,Fundamentalsof ConceptFormation (Chicago:University
o1 ChicagoPress,1952),p. 46.
6. Rudolf Carnap, The MethodologicalCharacter of TlrcoreticaLConcepts,
eds. H. Feigl and M. Scriven(Minneapolis:Universityof MinnesotaPress,1968),p.
1. Ilie Pdrvu, T'eoria stiin{iJicd (Bucuregti: Ilditura $tiintifica 9i
Irnciclopedica, 1981),pp. 28-29.
8. F. Waismann, "How I Sec Philosophy'l,"Logical Positivism,cd. A. J.
Ayer (Glencoe,Ill.: Thc FreePress,1959),p. 380.
9. Karl R. Popper,The Logic ofScie.ntificDiscovery(London: Hutchinson&
Co. Publishers, Ltd., 8th lmpression,1975).
10. Thomas S. Kuhn, "Thc Structureof ScientificRevolutions,"Foundations
rl'tlrc Unity ofscience: Toward an International Encyclopediaof Unified Science,eds.
O. Neurath,R. Carnap,C. Morris (Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress,l9l1).2: l-
I 1. T. S. Kuhn, The EssentialTension(Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress,
12. Paul Feyerabend, AgainstMethod(London,1975),p.285.
13. Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth, and Historv (Cambridge, United
14. BcrtrandRussell,Histoire de mes iddesphilosophiques(Paris:Gallimard,
1 9 6 1 ) p, p . 2 7 6 - 2 7 7 .
1,5. B. C. van Fraassen,The ScientificImage (Oxford: The ClarendonPress,
I 980).
16. C. G. Hempel, "Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criteria of
Meaning," Senrcnticsand the Philosopltyof ktnguctg,e,ed. Leonard Linsky (Urbana,
Ill.: The Universityof Illinois Press,1952),p. 163.
11. Hilary Putnam,Meaning and the Moral Sciences(Lonclon:Routledgeand
K c g a nF a u l , 1 9 7 8 ) p
, . 19.
18. van Fraassen,The ScientificImage,p. 4.
I f . ibid., pp. 202-203.
20. H. Putnam,"The RealistPictureand the ldealistPicture,"Philosophl,and
Culture: Proceedingsof the XVIlth Wrtrld Congresso.fPhilosopft,i,(Montreal: Editions
du Beffioi, EditionsMontmorency,1986),Vol. I .

Chapter Five

l. CharlesBaudelaire,"$coala pf,gdn6."Criticii literard qi ntuzicald.Jurnale

intinte.trans.into Romanian(Bucuregti:EditurapentruLiteraturaUniversald,1968),p.
2. Richard Rorty, Consequences o.fPragmatism(Minneapolis:Univcrsity o1-
-?. Ibid., p. 66.
4. Harold Bloom, A Mttp of Misreading (New York: Oxfbrd lJniversity
Press,1975),p. 39.
.5. Rorty, Consequences of Pragnntism, p. xli.
6 . I b i d . ,p . 1 4 1 .
7. Ihitl.,p. xi.
tt. Ibid., p. 142.
9. Charles Baudelaire,Les parctdisartificieLs(Paris: Gallimard et Librairie
10. Jean-FranEois Lyotard, In conditionpostmoderne(Paris:Les Editions de
Minuit,1979)p , .19.
I 1 . I h i d . ,p p . 6 7 - 8 .
12. Jean-FranEois Lyotard, "Presentations,"
Philosophyin France Toda\,, ed.
Alan Montefiore (Cambridge,United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1983),
13. Ihab Hassan,The Dismernbermentof Orpheus: Totvardsa Postrnodent
Literature,2nd ed. (London:The Universityof WisconsinPrcss,1982),p. 260.
14. Scc Ludwig Grtinberg, "From Phenomenology to an Axiocentric
ontology ol the Human Condition,"AnalecrctHusserliana,2T,ed. A.-T. Tymieniecka
(Dordrecht:D. ReidelPublishingCo., 1986),pp. 249-213.
15. Jaakko Hintikka, The Intentionsof Intcntionolit.vand Otlrcr New Models
for Modalities (Dordrccht: Reidel Publishing Co., 1975), quoted in A. Harrison,
Philosophvand the VisualArrs (Dordrecht:ReidelPublishingCo., 1985),p. 85.
16. Donald Henze,"The Style of Philosophy,"The Monist,63:4 (October,
1980),Philosophyas Styleand Literatureas Philosophy,p. 420.
11. Richard Rorty, "Essayson Heideggerand Others," PhilosophicalPapers
(Cambridgo,UnitedKingdom:CambridgeUniversityPress,l99l), Vol. 2, p. 105.
18. JacqucsBouveressc,"Why I Am so Vcry Un-French ," Philosolthy irt
France Today, ed. Alan Montellore (Cambridgc, United Kingdom: cambridgc
U n i v e r s i t yP r c s s ,1 9 8 3 ) p
, . 15.
19. GastonBachelard,L'air et les songes(Paris:Librairie JoseCorti, 1943),
i r .
Notes | +-1

2{J. Ludwig Witt-qenstein, Cul.tureand Value,ed. G. H. von Wright (Oxford:

B a s i l B l a c k w e l l ,1 9 8 0 ) p
, . 79,
21. Baudelaire, Criticd literard Si muzicald. Jurnale intime, trans. into
Romanian,p. 140
2?. Ren6Huyghe,,Sens et destinde l'art (Paris:Flammarion,1967),Vol. 2, p.
19 8 .
23. CharlesBaudelaire,Curiozitd{iestetice,trans. into Romanian(tsucureqti:
EdituraMeridiane,l9l 1), pp. 77-80.
24. Ibid., p. 110.
25. Henze,"The Style of Philosophy,"p. 420.
26. Bouvercsse,"Why I Am so Very Lin-French,"pp. l4--5.
21. Rorty, "Essayson Heideggerand Others,"p. 140.
28. Ludwig Wittgenstein,Culture and Value,ed. G. H. von Wright (Oxfbrd:
Basil Blackwell,1980),p. 79.

Part Three

Chapter Six

l. Edrnund Husserl, "Die Krisis dcs europziischenMenschentumsund die

Philosophie," and "Die Krisis des europdischen Wissenschal'ten und die
transzendentale Phdnomenologie," AnalectaHusserliana,6,pp.,134,116,341-48.
2 . I b i d . ,p . 3 2 9 .
3. EdmundHusserl,"ErstePhilosophie," Pt. 2, Husserliana,3,p. 157.
4. Alois Roth, "Edmund Husserl's ethische Untersuchungen,"
Phenomenologica, T (The Hague,1960),pp. xii-xiii.
.5. Dallas Laskey, "Husserl as a Humanistic Moralist," Phenomenology
InJormationBulletin, T (October1983),p.40.
6. E. Husserl,Formale und transz.endentale Logik (Halle, 1929),p. 5.
7" Cf, "Edmund Husserl'sethischeUntersuchungen," pp. 37-60.
8. Laskey,"Flusserlas a HumanisticMoralist,"p. 45.
9. Ludwig Griinberg, "Rationalism and the Basis of the Value Judgment,"
TheJournaLoJ ValueInquiry, 12:3(Spring1978),p. l3l.
10. Louis Lavclle, T'raitd des voleurs (Paris: PresssesUniversitaires de
F r a n c c1, 9 5 1 )p, . 5 2 9 .
I l. Husserl, "Dic Krisis der europaischenWissenschalienund dic
transzendentale Phfuromcnologie," p. 329.
12. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, "The Moral Sense: A Discourse on the
Phcnomenological Foundation of the Social World and of Ethics," Analecta
Husserliana,T5,eds.A.-T. Tymicnieckaand Calvin O. Schrag(D. Reidel Co.: Boston,
1 9 8 3 )p, . 1 0 .
13. John Rawls,A Theoryof Justice(London: Oxfbrd UniversityPress,1913)
p p .4 8 - 5 1 .
1,+. Camil Petrcscu,"Edrnund Husserl,"Istoriafilosofiei modenzefHistory of
Modem Philosophyl.Vol.3 (I3ucureqti: SocietatcaRomAndde lrilosofie, 1938),pp.

l. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, "ThePraiseof Life: Metaphysics of Lif'eand

of tlie HumanCondition,"Phenomenologv Information Bulletin,6(October1982),pp.
8r - 9 6 .
2. Robert Nozick, PhilosophicalExplanatiorts (Cambridge,Mass.: The
Be l kn aP p r es of
s Har v arUn
d i v e rs i ty p p .5 7 l -6 5 0.
Pre s s1, 9 8 1 ),
-1. Cf, Larousse,Dictionarde ./ilosolie.Didier Julia (Bucuregti:Ilditura
UnivcrsEnciclopedic, I 996).
Baclrelard,Gaston.L'uir et Lessonges(Paris.Libraine JoseCofti, 1943).

Bahm, Archie J. ArioLog\,: The Science of Values (Amstcrdam/Atlanta: Rodopr,

Baudclairc.Charlcs.'"$coalap6gAnd,"Criticd literard Si ntuzicald.Jurnale intime, trsl.
into Romanian(Bucureqti:Editura pentruLiteraturi Universalf,,1968).

_. ('ttriozitd{i estetice.trans.into Romanian(Bucuregti:EdituraMeridianc,l97l).

_. (Paris:Gallimardet Librairie G6n6ralFranEaise,1964).

Les paradis artiJicieLs

Baumann, Zygrnunt. Intinntiorts of Postntodernitl, (Belmont, Cal.: Wadsworth


_. [jthics. (Oxfbrd, U.K. and Cambridge,U.S.A: Blackwcll, 1993).


Ilerleant, Arnold. "Thc Experienceand Judgementof Valucs," The Journal of Value

Inquiry-,l:l (Spring1967).

Bertalanf-fy,Ludwig von. "Body, Mind, and Valucs," Human VaLuesand the Mind of
Mctn, cds.:Ervin Laszlo and JamesB. Wilbur (New York: Gordon and Breach Science

Illaga, Lucian. Trilogia culturii (Bucuregti:EdituraMinerva, 1985).

Bloom, Harold.A Map of Misreading (New York: Oxford UniversityPress,1915).

Bond, E. J. Reasonand Value(New York: CambridgeUnivcrsityPress,1983).

Bouveresse,Jacques."Why I Am so Very Un-French,"Philosoplryin I.-ranceTodal,,

ed. Alan Monteliorc(Cambridge,U.K.: CambridgeUniversityPress,1983).

Carnap, Rudolf'. "Logical Foundationsof the Unity of Science,"F oundationsoJ the

Unin, of' Science,eds. O. Neurath, R. Carnap, C. Morris (Chicago: University of
C l r i c a g oP r e s s ,l 9 l 1 ) , 1: I - 1 0 .

_. The Methodolog,icnL Character ofTheoretical Concepts,eds. H. Feigl and M.

Scriven(Minneapolis:Universityof MinnesotaPrcss,1968).

Cassirer,Ernst. Essaisur l'homme(Paris:Editionsde Minuit, 1955).

Catton Jr., Williarn R. "Exploring Techniquesfbr Measuring Human Value,"

Anteric:an Review,no. 19, 1954.

Cauchy,Venant.Conl6rencede cl6ture."Culture et d6viancehumaine.Philosophyand

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Coombs,Clyde H. "La mesureclansles sciencessociale,"Les ntethodescle rec:herche

dans les sciencessociales(Paris:PressesUniversitairesde France.1963).
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2:4 (Chicago:The Universityof Chicagopress,1939).

Durkheim, Emile. "Jugem_ent^s de valeur g! jugements de r6alit6," Sociologie et

Philosophie(Paris:PresscsUniversitairesde France,1951).

Ehrenf'els,Christian von. Sys\smder Werttlteorie,2 vols. (Leipzig: O. R. Reisland,

r 897, I 898).

Fekcte, John. "Introductory Notcs lor a postmodern Value Agenda," Life after
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Feyerabend,Paul.Against Metlrcd (London, 1915).

Frondizi, Risieri. What Is Value? (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court PublishingCompany,

Ginsberg, Robert. "'l'he value of Philosophy: A Dialogue," The Journal of val.te

Inquil,a,24:l (1990).

Griinberg,.1u.dw1S. "From Phenomenologyto an Axio-Centric Ontology of the Human

Condition,"AnalectaHusserliana,2T,ed. A.-T, Tymieniecka(Dordiecht:D. Reidel
P u b l i s h i n gC o . , 1 9 8 6 ) .

-. "Rationalism and the Basis of the Value Judgment," The Journttl rf' Value

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Gunter,Pete A. Y. "Creativity and Ecology" (paper),WesternDivision of the Society

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Hartman,Robert S. "Formal Axiology and Measurementof Values," The Joutnal.of

VctlueInquiry, 1:1, 1967.

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_. "Formal Axiology and the Measurementof Values," Value Theory-in philosoph.y,-

ond Social Sciences,eds. Ervin Laszlo and JamesB. Wilbur (New york: Gordon and
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ed. (London:The [Jniversityof WisconsinPress,1982).

Hempel, C. G., "Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criteria of Meaning,"

Senmnticsand the Philosophy of Innguage, ed. Leonard Linsky (Urbana, Ill.: T=he
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-. F'unrlanrcntolso.l' Conr:epl Forrnation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

Henze, Donald. "The Style of Philosophy," The Monist, 63:4 (october, 1980),
"Philosophyas Style and Literatureas Philosophy".

Hintikka, Jaakko, The Intentions rf Intentionality and Other New Models for
Modalities (Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing co., 1975), quoted in A. Harrison,
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Husserl, Edmund. "Die Krisis der europaischen Wissenschaften und clie


_. "ErstePhilosophie
," Pt. 2, Husserliana,3.

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-. Iddesdirectricespour unephlnominobgie (Paris:Ed. Gallimard, 1950).

_. Formale untl transzendentaleLogik (Halle, 1929).

-. "Zur Phdnomenologieder Intersubjeckivitat,Zweiter Teil," Husserlianr-2,

ed. Iso Kern (The Hague:Martinus Nijhofl', 1964).

Huyghe,Rend.Senset destirtde I'art (Paris:Flammarion,1967),Vol. 2.

Kant, Immanuel.criticlueofPure Reason(New York: The Macmillanco., l9l9).

Koyr6, Alexancire.EmdesNewtonienne.s

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Kroeber,Allied L., Clyde Kluckhohn. "Culture. Critical Analysis of the Concept and
Deflnitions," Dictionary oJ Social Sciences,eds. Julius Hould and William L- Kolb
(New York: The FreePress,1964).

Kuczynski, Janusz."The First InternationalSymposiumof Universalism,"Dialectics

ond Humanisnt,no.2 (1989).

Kulrn, Thomas S. "The Structureof ScientiflcRevolutions,"F-oundations td the Unity

of Science,,Toward an International Encyclopediaof (lnified Science,eds. O. Neurath,
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Laskey, Dallas. "Husserl as a Humanistic Moralist," Phenomenologr-Infornratiott
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-. Irt conditionpostnnderne (Paris:Les EditionsclcMinuit , 1979).

Marcuse,Herbert.One-l)inrcnsionalMcm (Boston:BeaconPress,1912).

-. Eros et cittilisation(Paris:Eclitionsde Minuit, 1963).

Margolis, Joseph. "The Usc and Syntax of Value Judgments," VaLue Tlrcory ut
Phitbsophy and Social Science,ecls.E. Laszlo and Jam-esB. Wilbur (New York:
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Morris, CharlesW. Vorietieso.fHuman Values(Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPrcss,

I 956).

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About the Author
Ludwig Criinberg (12 November 1933- 8 January1995) graduatedfrom the
Facultyof Philosophyof the Universityof Bucharest,Romaniain 1955,with
a Merit Diploma. He obtained his Doctor's Degree in 1962 and became a
Doctor's Dcgreeconsultantin 1911.He was a Professorof Philosophyat the
Academyof EconomicStudies,Bucharest.
A teachcr by vocation, L. Gri.inbergendeavoredto pass on to his
studcnts, including doctoral students,some of his own pathos in asking
questionsand searchingfor answers,some of his own respect and critical
spirit with which he relatedto the greatmomentsin the history of philosophy,
someof his own aspirationtoward self-realization,someof his own exactness
and imaginationwith which he would conceivehis ideas.Trying to set up a
philosophicalschool in axiology, he was the leaderof the Circle of Axiology
in Bucharestin an adverseideologicaltime.
L. Grtinberg produced a significant number of university textbooks,
lecturesin philosophy,axiology, the history of philosophy,aesthetics,and
gcn cra sol c iology .
He was a memberof the InternationalInstituteof Sociologysince 1969,
of the American Society for Value Inquiry since 1973,of the World Institute
of Advanced PhenomenologicalResearchand Learning, since 1980, and of
the InternationalSocietyfor Universalismsince 1993.
In 1912, L. Grtinberg received the "Vasile Conta" Award o1 the
R<rmanianAcademy.In 1979,he was the recipientof the Certificateof Merit
from the University of Cambridge,England.In 1993, he receivedthe Award
ol the InternationalSocietyfor Universalism.
L. Griinberg'smain volumeswerepublishedin Romanianand English:
Axiology and the HurnanCondition, 1912.
WhatIs Happiness,1978.
Opliuni /ilozofice contemporane.1980 fContemporary Philosophical
Ch o i ce s l.
Ontologiaumanului,cditor, 1989[Ontologyof the Humanl.
He was the author of a number of introductionsto and co-editorof
variousvolumestranslatedinto Romanian,amongwhich, CharlesBaudelaire,
Curiositris esthdtiques["Curiozitali estetice" (1971)], Ren6 Huyghe, Les
puissancesde l'intage ["Putereaimaginii" (1912)1,PierreFrancastel,Peinture
et soci|td ["Picturaqi societatea"( I 970)1,and Michel E. de Montaigne,Essais
[ "Ese u ri"( 1984) ] .
L. Gri.inbergalso published over two hundred studies in specialized
journals in Romania and abroad,including Analecta Husserliana, edrtedby
Anna-Teresa I'ymieniecka, The Journal o.f Value In.quiry, Dialogue and
Some of his studies published in volumes include: "Axiological
Approaches in Modern culture" and "Nietzsche and Marx in the
ContemporaryAxiological Thought," Crisis and Consciousness, ed. Ralph M.
Faris (Amsterdam:B. R. GriinerPublishingHouse, 1977);"The orphic Myth
and the Socicty of Creation,"Explorationsin Philosophyand Societ1,, ed. Ch.
Cunnen,David H. De Grood (Amsterdam:B. R. Griiner PublishingHouse,
1978);"The Futureof Art and the Theoryof Post-Philosophical Culture,"The
Futureof Art (Lahti,Finland,1990).
The author left behind a multitude of manuscriptson axiology, the
history of art, the history of culture,as well as a significantnumber of essays
on variedrelatedthemes.
The author's major interestswere axiology and the ontology of the
human.He was fascinatedby thc subtletyand wisdom of Montaigneand by
the modernityof Jean-Jacques Rousseau'sconceptof the human being. He
strongly believedthat, today, the issuesof value and the ontology of the
human could not be pursuedwithout assimilatingKant's criticism.Often he
identifiedhimself with the turmoil of existentialism.He would ponder over
the virtues and limitations of pragmatic psychoanalysisand analytical
ph i l o so p hy .
He would feel at home among his friends at the American Society for
Value Inquiry who strive toward a reconstructionof value theoryin agreement
with the coordinatesof the contemporaryphilosophical thinking and the
aspirationsof humanityin the twenty-firstcentury.
He loved sports,trips in the country, and theater.As a young adult, he
tried his hand as a theaterdirector of a number of plays, and later he also
contributedthe textsof the theaterprogramsfor Jean-PaulSartre,Le Diable et
Ie Bon Dieu fDiavolul qi Bunul Dumnezeu],TennesseeWilliams, The Glass
MenageriefMenajeriade sticla] for sometheaterhousesin Bucharest.
He was a loyal friend, a devotedhusbandand father.
He lived everythingwith uncommonintensity:a footballmatch,a book,
grief, or conversation.He was always impassionedby life as experiencemore
than by life as performance.He experiencedthem both at utmost intensity.
Upon his death,a young doctoralstudentwrote:

A restlessflame has recently found its tranquility. Much too early than
we could have expected,too early for how much he still had to say and
do. Professor Ludwig Gri.inbergpassed on into posterity with his
characteristictenaciousanxiousness:in his philosophicaland non-
Abbarno,G. JohnM., viii, xv ix, xvii, xviii, 36, 152
American Societylbr Value Inquiry Academyof EconomicStudies,
( A S V I ) ,i x , x , x i , 1 5 1 ,1 5 2 151
analyticalphilosophy , Jl , 8l , 109, BucharestAxiology Circle,vii, 151
120,152 Bunge,Mario, 67
Aquinas,Thomas,122 Burckhardt,Jakob,68
A r i s t o t l e 9. 3 . 1 0 1 . 1 2 9
Arundel, England,x Cahgula,122
Austin,John,50 Camus,Albert, ll9,l2l
axiocentricontology,vii, 58, 61,62, CardinalBellarmino,81
6 6 , 8 9 , 1 0 5 ,I 1 1 , 1 1 3 C a r n a pR, u d o l f ,3 4 , J 3 , 7 4 , 7 5 , J 6 ,
r e g i o n aol n t o l o g y ,1 0 7 ,1 0 8 ,1 1 2 141
a x i o l o g y i,x , x v i i i , 3 , 1 2 , 2 0 , 2 4 , 2 8 , C a s a n o v a1, 2 2
2 9 , 3 1 , 3 3 , 3 4 , 3 8 , 4 1 , 5 0 , 5180, 0 , C a s s i r e r , E r n s t , 5 6 ,16480,
1 0 2 , 1 0 3 1, 0 9 ,1 5 1 , 1 5 2 C a t t o nJ r . ,W i l l i a mR . , 3 5 , 3 6 , 3 " 1 , 3 8 ,
axionomy,17 139
reconstruction o1'axiology, vii, I l2 Cauchy,Venant,140
t h e o r yo f v a l u e s3, , 5 , 1l , 1 2 , 1 3 , C h o p i n 7,
24,29,34,42 C i c c r o , 5 81, 2 5
timology,11,12 c i v i l i z a t i o 5n , 5 5 , 6 8 ,6 9 ,1 0 , 7 1 ,1 1 9 ,
v a l u et h e o r yv, i i , 4 2 , 1 0 0 , 1 5 2 123,121
axiomaticof value,23 Coleman,James,46, 139
axiosphere, 57, 60, 111 conceptof value,xvi, xvii, 3, 8, 9, 10,
axiologicalexperience,lS,32,45, 11,11,23,27,38,551 , ,59
4 8 , 4 9 , 5 1 ,1 0 3 ,1 3 4 goods-valuc,4
axiologicalrationality,63,64,66, means-value, 12
6l purpose-value,72, J0
axiologicalsensitivity,47,95 Congressof Universalism, xvi
B a c h ,2 3 C o o m b sC , l y d eH . , 3 4 , 4 0 , 1 3 9
Bachelard,Gaston,61, 89 creativity,58, 61, 62, 67, 69,95
Bacon,Roger,ix Cudworth,Ralph,102
Baudelaire C,h a r l e s , 8 5 , 8 7 , 9 0 , 9 1 , c u l t u r ev, i i , r x , x v i , x v i i , x v i i i , 1 1 , 3 7 ,
1 4 2 ,1 4 3 ,1 5 1 3 8 ,4 6 , 5 5 ,5 6 , 5 7 ,5 8 , 6 0 , 6 1 , 6 2 ,
B e e t h o v e 3n 2, 6 5 , 6 8 ,6 9 , J 0 , J 7 , J 3 , 9 4 , 9 5 , 1 0 9 ,
B e n t h a mJ,e r e m y9, , 1 4 I I 1,I 17,I2I,123,133,l3l
Bergson,Henry, 109 non-philosophical culture,J3,J4,
Berleant,Arnold, 42,139 84
Berlin wall. xviii
Blaga,Lucian, 109 Delacroix,90
Bloom, Harold,86, 142 judgment,6, 46,51, 66,
Bouveresse, Jacques, 93,142 103
Bowne,9 Dewey,John,vii, 93
Brighton,England,x, xii Don Quixote,8
Dumitrescu,Maria-Ana,xviii H a h n .H . . 7 4
Ehrenfels, von,3,9, I l, 14,
Christian h a p p i n e s s6,0 , 6 9 , 1 1 7 , 1 1 9 , 1 2 0 . 1 2 2 ,
1 0 31, 3 9 1 2 3 , 1 2 4 ,1 2 5 ,1 2 7 , 1 2 9 , 1 2 9 ,1 3 0 ,
E i n s t e i nA , l b e r t ,5 , 1 2 2 , l 3 l 1 31 , 1 3 4
Eliade,Mircea,69.133 H a r t m a nR, o b e r S t . ,v i i , 3 1 , 3 5 , 3 8 ,
Eluard,Paul,6l , 105 139
empiricism,80, 81, 83 Hartmann,Eduardvon, 1l
classicalempiricism,83 Hartmann,Nicolai, 13,3l , 48
constructive empiricism,80, 82, Hassan,Ihab,142
8 3 ,8 4 hedonism,129
inductiveempiricism, 77 Hcgel,Georg W. F., 85, 109, 110,129
logicalempiricism,65, 66,'74, 76, I-leidegger, Martin, 93
J8,J9,80,81,83,94 Hemingway,Ernest,135
modernempiricism,Sl HempelC , . G.,76,141
Eros, 124 H e n z eD , o n a l d ,9 3 . 1 4 2
ethics Herder,JohannGottfried,55
Christian,51 hermeneutics, 89, 94,109, 111, 133
Kantian,5l Herriot,8., 63
E u r i d i c e .1 3 5 .1 3 6 Hintikka, Jaakko,88, 142
existentialism, 121, 122,152 H o c k i n gW , .8.,122
homoaestimans, 58, 59, 61, 64, 99.
F a u s t ,1 3 5 1 0 5 .r 2 7 . 1 3 5
Fekete,John,62,140 h u m a nc o n d i t i o nv, i i , x v i i , 4 , 5 6 , 5 8 ,
Feyerabend,Paul, 80, l4l 6 2 , 6 J , 8 6 ,g g , 9 0 , 9 6 , 1 0 0 ,l 0 g ,
Flonta.Mircea. xvii 1 1 2 ,l 1 7 , 1 1 9 ,1 2 1 ,1 2 6 ,1 3 3 ,1 3 5
Foucault,Michel, 120 h u m a ns i g n i f i c a n c el J, , 5 l , 6 7, 9 5 ,
Francastel,Pierre, l5 I 101
FrankfurtSchool,123 h u m a nl i e e d o m ,x i , x v i i i , 7 , 5 9 , 6 0 ,
Freud,Sigmund,123 6 1, 110, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127
FrondiziR , i s i e r i ,v i i Hume,David, 46, 93, 94, 101
H u s s e r lE, d m u n d ,1 4 , 1 6 , 4 3 ,6 0 , 6 1 ,
G a l i l e i ,G a l i l e o , 8 l 6 4 , 6 1 , 9 8 , 9 9 1, 0 0 ,l 0 l , 1 0 3 ,1 0 4 ,
Gide,Andr6,3 1 0 5 ,I 3 9 , 1 4 0 , 1 4 1 , 1 4 3
Ginsberg,Robert,xii, xiii, xv, 59, 140 H u y g h eR , e n 6 , 9 11 , 4 3 ,1 5 1
gnoseology,I 3
G o e t h e 2, 1 . 5 9 . 6 0 . 1 2 0 i d e a l ,6 , 8 , 1 9 ,3 0 , 3 9 , 4 0 , 4 1 , 4 4 , 5 8 ,
Goodman.Nelson.65 6 0 , 6 9 ,7 1 , 9 5 , 1 0 3 ,l 0 g , 1 1 9 , 7 2 0 ,
Grtinberg,Arie. xviii 122,133,131 53 , 6
Grtinberg,Cornelia,xiii, xviii, 118 culturalideal.123
Grrinberg,Laura,xiii, xviii, 118 human ideal, 20
Gninberg,Ludwig, vii, ix, x, xi, xii, idealobjects,13, l5
xiii, xv, xvi, xvii, xvili,142,143, idealofhappiness,124,125,l2l
1 5 1 ,1 5 2 ideal of perf-ection, 125
G u n t e rP , e t eA . Y . , 6 2 , 7 4 0 idealvalues,125
Guttman,39 value-ideal .1 . 62
Inde.t 155

InternationalCongresson Value
Inquiry,x Marcuse,Herbert,69,123,724,133,
InternationalInstituteof Sociology, l4l
I 5l Margolis,Joseph,139
InternationalPhilosophersfbr the Maritain, Jacques,722
Preventionof NuclearOmnicide Marx, Karl,62
(IPPNO),ix Mcluhan, Marshali,68
InternationalSocietyfbr Meinong,Alexiusvon, 3, I I , 103, 139
Universalism,151 Menger,l0
InternationalSocietyfor Value Merton, RobertT., 36
I n q u i r y( I S V I ) ,i x , x , x i i , x v i i m e t a t h e o r yl 1,3
Ionesco,Eugdne,131 Michelangelo,16,57
y 1 ' v a l u e s , 51, 3 , 1 4 , 1 5 ,
i r r e d u c i b i l i to M i r o i u , A d r i a n ,x v
17,23,25,26,43,57,58,62,95, M i s c hG , eorg,99
1 0 0 ,1 l l , 1 1 2 M o n t a i g n e , M i c h e l E . d e ,19531,
, 19 M o o r e ,G e o r g eE d w a r d , 5 1 , 6 6 ,1 0 3
M o r r i s ,C h a r l e sW . , 3 1 , 1 3 9
K a n t ,I m m a n u e l5, , 9 , 1 0 , 4 3 , 5 5 ,6 l , M o s c o w ,x i
6 6 , 9 3 , 1 0 1 I, 1 1 , 1 2 9 , 1 3 61, 4 0 , Mozart,6,44
152 m y t h ,x v i , 5 6 , 6 4 , 7 0 , 11 0 ,1 2 1 , 1 3 3 ,
Kluckhohn,Clydc, 56, 140 136, 137
Koyr6, Alexandre,63, 140
K r e i b i g ,l l Nairobi,ix
K r o e b e rA , lfied L.,56, 140 N a r c i s s u s1,3 3 ,1 3 6
K u c z y n s k iJ, a n u s z6, 1 , 1 4 0 N e u r a t hO, tto,J4,76,141
Kuhn, ThomasS., 79, 80, 141 Newton,9
N i e t z s c h e , 91,1 ,1 9 , 6 9 ,1 0 9
La Mettrie, 66 Novalis, 86
Labiche.42 Nozick,Robert,89,94,109,144
L a i r d , . l o h n2, 3 , 1 3 9
Lapie,Paul, 1l one-dimensional man,69
Laskey,Dallas,100, 143 ontology
LavelleL , o u i s , 3 , 8 , 1 8 , 5 8 , 1 0 3 ,1 3 9 , h u m a nb e i n g ' so n t o l o g i c asl t a t u s ,
140,143 46,5J,64,703,107,108,110,
Lazarsl-eld, 39 111, 135
Le Senne,Ren6,43 ontologyof the human,57,94, 10J,
L c c ,S a n d eH r ., x 1 0 8 ,1 0 9 ,1 1 2 ,1 5 2
Levinas,Emmanuel,I 17 ontologyof the humancondition,
L 6 v i - S t r a u sCs l, a u d e , 4 , 3 l , 6 8 v i i , x v i , 6 0 ,1 0 5
L e w i s ,C . I . , v i i O r p h e u s1, 3 3 ,1 3 4 ,1 3 5 ,1 3 6
Linton, Ralph,68
L o c k e J, o h n , 9 , 6 0 , 8 1 ,1 4 0 Paris,4Z
L o g i c a lP o s i t i v i s m7, 3 , 74 , 7 7 , 8 1, 8 2 , P a r s o n sT, a l c o t t 3 ,6
8 3 ,9 3 P A r v u I, l i e , x v i , 7 1 , 1 4 1
Lotze,Rudolf Hermann,l0 Perry,Ralph Barton,vii, 3, 9, 14, 139
Lyotard, Jean-FranEois, 88, 142 Petrescu,Camil, vii, 8, 105, 143
phenomenology, 74, 88, 94, I 00, 105, Rogca.Dumitru D.. 109
109 Roth,Alois, 64, 100,143
phenomenologyof value,99 Rousseau,Jean-Jacques, 93. 152
philosophy Roycc,9
Lelbnizian,25 Russell,Bertrand,80, 130, l4l
Piaget,Jean,28, 35, 139 Ryle,50
Plato,4, 43,93, 137 SaintVincentde Paul, 122
p l e a s u r e9,, 1 4 ,18 , 3 3 ,4 7 , 5 8 , I 0 3 . Santayana, George,9
I 1 9 ,1 2 0 , 1 2 3 , 1 2 4 , 1 2 9 Santoni,Ronald,ix
P o e ,E d g a r4 . , 9 2 Sartre,Jean-Paul, 122, 152
Polin,Raymond,30, 139 S c h e l e rM
, a x , 7 , 9 , 1 5 , 1 0 3 ,1 0 5
P o p p e rK , arl R.,78,79,741 Schlegel,Friedrich,85, 86
postmodernism, 88, 90, 93 scientificrealism,8l , 82, 83
Prigogine,Ilya, 63, 94,140 Sellars,Wilfiid, 82
P r o m e t h e u s1,3 3 ,1 3 4 S e n e c a5, 2 , 1 2 4
psychoanalysis, 152 Shelley,PercyBysshc,4
Putnam,Hilary, 65, 80, 82, 84, 94, S i s y p h u s1,2 1 ,1 2 2
1 0 9 .1 4 0 .l 4 l S m i t h ,A d a m , l 0
Quine,Willard van Orman,80, 1l3 Somerville,John,ix
R a w l s J, o h n ,6 6 , 1 0 5 ,I 4 1 , 1 4 3 Spengler,Oswald,69
r e a l i t y ,6 , 7 2 , 7 3 , 7 4 , 1 5 ,2 9 , 3 4 ,4 7 , Stein,Gertrude,88
5 0 ,6 2 , 6 4 , 7 6 ,8 1 , 8 2 , 8 3 , 8 5 , 8 7 , Stengers, Isabelle,63, 140
l 0 l , I 1 0 , I I l , 1 2 1 ,1 2 3 ,r 2 4 . 1 3 0 , S t e v e n s oC n ,h a r l e Ls . , 5 1 , 6 6 . 1 0 3 ,
133,134 120
reductionism, 58, 73, I 4, 76, J9, 84, Strawson,51
95,112 structuralism, 122
logical reductionism,I 00
logicistreductionism, 80 Taylor,Edward8., 140
logisticreductionism, 74 Thanatos,124
mcchanisticreductionism. 74 Iheorem
positivistreductionism, xvii, 73 Pythagorean,4
psychological reductionism,100 Thalesian,4
r e d u c t i o n3, 8 , 6 3 , 6 6 ,J 3 , 74 , 1 5 , theory7 , 6 , 7 8 , 7 9 , 8 0 , 8 2 ,9 1 , 9 4 , 9 9 ,
1 6 . 1 8 . 7 9 ,1 0 0 l 1 l , 1 2 0 ,1 2 4
reductionismto literature,85, 95 axiologicaltheory, 107
scientiticreductionism, 63, 74, 77, c u l t u r ct h c o r y .5 5
90, 95 philosophical theory,I 20
Reichenbach, Hans,I4, 7l , 141 theoryof behavior,35
Richardson,Samuel,60 theoryof choice, 26
R i c k e r t ,3 9 , 5 0 , 1 0 3 theoryof communication, 25
Ricoeur,Paul,89, 94 theoryof decision-making, 26
R i t s c h i eA . . D.. l0 theory of infbrmation,24
R o m a n i ai,x , x i , x v i , 6 0 , l 5 l theoryof post-philosophical
R o r t y ,R i c h a r d 8 , 5 , 8 6 , 8 8 ,9 2 , 9 4 , 1 4 2 c u l t u r e8, 5 ,8 7 ,9 0
Incle.t t5l

theoryof purpose,28 ideal-value, 4

theoryof relativity,4 instrumentalvalue,l2J
theoryof science,19, 8l intrinsicvalue,127
t h e o r yo f t r u t h , 8 l measuremeo n ft v a l u e s , 3 l , 3 2 , 3 4 ,
t . h c o r oy f v a l u c s 2
, 9,34,42 3 5 ,3 8 , 4 0 , 4 1
J'hurstone, L. L.,39 multiplef-unctionality, Z0
T'otfler,Alvin, 69, 141 plurality of dimensions,20
T'olstoy,Leo, 130 pluralityof functions,20
Toulmin, StephenE.,43,19 polarity,17
T'oynbee,Arnold, 69 structureof values,I I
Tyler, Edward, 56 translatabil ity, 5, 25
Tymieniecka,Anna-Teresa, '/
xvli, 62, utilitarianvalue, , 10, 68,10, 134
105, 109, 140, 143,144, l5l valueas relationship
axiologicalobject, 104
LfNESCOOllice in Bucharest, axiologicalsubject,47,51, 104
C E P E S ,x v i i i v a l u ej u d g m e n t6, , 9 , 2 5 , 3 2 , 4 2 , 4 3 ,
u n i v e r s a l i s vmi i, , 5 9 . 6 0 , 6 1 l, l l 44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,
university 6 2 , 6 5 , 6 6 ,1 0 3
HowardUniversity,Washington,x van Fraasscn, B. C., 8l , 83, 84, l4l,
Univcrsityof Bucharest, xv, xvi, 142
xvii, xviii, 151 ViennaCircle,74
Universityof Cambridge,England, Vollmer,Gerhard,13, 141
l5l v o n B o h m B a w e r k ,l 0
Llrban,Wilbur Marshall,l1
W a i s m a n nF,. , 1 8 , l 4 l
v a l u a t i o nv, i i , 5 , 7 , 1 2 , 1 4 , 1 5 , 1 7, 1 8 , W a r s a w x, v i
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