1 Sometimes we find a distinction made between intrinsic goodness and intrinsic badness, e.g. in Zimmerman (2001) usually attached to states (of affairs) or facts, but value and goodness are probably distinct categories and the concept of intrinsic badness might not be identical with intrinsic disvalue.
2 For suggestive attempts to explain instantiation see Mertz (1996) and Baxter (2001). Both authors use the term ‘aspect’ but their explanations are different.
3 ‘Being a spoon’ is a property that hardly can be instantiated only partially or ‘to some extent.’ But ‘being money’ is a property that is instantiable to different degrees. Economists may disagree on what financial instruments are to be counted as ‘money.’
4 For a view that values are born by physical things and persons see Rabinowicz-Rønnow-Rasmussen (2001); concrete things: Tännsjö (2005); concrete states of individuals: Chisholm (2005); experiences: Audi (2003); states of affairs: Lemos (1994); facts: Zimmermann (2001).
5 Moore (1988). His treatment of the topic is responsible for this. His concern was to redirect ethical theory and he uses the term ‘intrinsic value’ to get to the notion of the ‘good’ as soon as possible. Thus, the very first occasion to employ the term ‘intrinsic value’ or – as he writes – ‘intrinsic worth’ is embedded in a longer discussion of the ‘good’ as ‘the unique property of things’ (9., 17). There is no room for a consideration of individual values in this context.
6 ‘Love’ is the content of the relation ‘loves.’ For grammatical simplicity, the content will be identified with the relation itself, unless the context requires stressing the distinction.
7 I assume that love between persons (and possibly collective subjects) is substantially different from love that connects a person and an object or concept. („[T]he proper, natural object of love is a person.” Mulligan (1998), 173.
8 Note that the virtual presence of values is an epistemological, and not an ontological, statement. Values and disvalues influencing the worth or valuableness of the particulars must be actually instantiated, otherwise the differences between the two cases could not be accounted for. This is why M. Zimmerman’s proposal, to explain the difference between right and wrong pleasure (pleasure at the good and pleasure at the bad) in terms of virtual and actual value is unconvincing. His distinction is ontologically ungrounded, as it remains unexplained what makes actual value turn virtual and vice versa. See Zimmerman (1999).
9 Another example could be the mutual supervenience of being a human being and being conscious of being a human being.
10 It seems possible to argue that, contrary to Aristotle’s suggestion, recklessness is not an extreme form of courage, but, at least in certain cases, it is a curious amalgam of courage and cowardice. For recklessness is a more or less conscious disregard for the consequences of one’s action, and this disregard may arise from a fear of having to face those consequences.
11 Lemos (1994), 46. Though not citing him, Irwin Goldstein makes the same point: „ being maliciously pleased has two components. The parts need not inherit the whole’s properties. Malicious pleasure’s moral offensiveness is a property of the whole – the cognitive-pleasure compound. We are not entitled to infer from the whole’s being bad and offensive that the pleasure component is also bad and offensive.” Goldstein, (2003), 28. This may be the case, indeed, but we still may wish to know why the whole is ‘bad;’ whether it is worse just because it contains a valuable component and if yes why, and so on.
12 The reason is that ‘Enjoys’ is evidently a relation, whereas ‘being Pleased at’ is less evidently a relation. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine cases where one is pleased in general, and not at something concrete, or is not pleased by something concrete, and feels pleasure like feeling distressed or sleepy, but such cases may, on an exceptional basis, be possible. Pain is similar. We are pained by something, or feel pain at something, but are rarely in pain not related to a cause. However, such cases might be possible. Difficult cases, favored by existentialism, include being in fear, being worried, etc., without any apparent reason.
13 This is the position Lemos endorses (1994, 40–46).
14 Olson (2004) also refers to the „intentional relation” of the relatum – the individual – as being constitutive of value. Further, he argues that the phenomenological identity of two experiences (both being pleasures) do not compel one to the contention that they are evaluatively also identical (that is, values). This latter possibility is, in my view, not fully explored. It is possible that the right moral evaluation of an experience of malicious pleasure makes that experience phenomenologically (and perhaps also psychologically) different from an experience of morally right pleasure.
15 A computer cannot enjoy anything. A person cannot enjoy her own consciouslessness or a future state of her that she is unaware of (such as, for instance, enjoying a birthday gift).
16 On valuing retributive punishment, see also Harman (2000), Chapter 8.
17 Since envy is a disvalue which can be analysed psychologically in terms of pain and pleasure (feeling pain at someone’s deserved pleasure) but it is not a combination of a value and a disvalue, we might conclude that, inversely, pleasure at another person’s pain must be an ontologically independent disvalue, even though there is no distinct word for it.
18 Olson (2004) talks about the „intentional relation” of the person feeling pain/pleasure at another person’s pain which is similar to my reference to the constitutive role of the relata in the instantiation of values.
19 Like suffering under envy, suffering under compassion is not direct physical pain.
20 No wonder that for many ethical theorists of the British moral philosophical tradition compassion, empathy or sympathy were even more fundamental phenomena than love.
21 Thomas Hurka claims, following Moore, that „ [i]f x is intrinsically evil, hating x for itself, though intrinsically good, is not as intrinsically good as x is intrinsically evil. Hurka (1992). The principle is perhaps just another way of expressing the axiological truth that relation values inherently connected with disvalues are always dependent on the obtaining of other, non-disvalue-related, relation values. But if the principle aims at a more precise guiding of how to calculate valuableness and disvaluableness (and worth), a more rigorously elaborated calculus is needed to assess the validity of the principle.
22 Matthew Pianalto challenges the view that pleasure is an intrinsic value. His argument is based on the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental value and is meant to show that pleasure is inherently instrumental to well-being, ‘the’ intrinsic good. But the argument may be adapted to the present conception as contending that pleasure is not identical with the higher-order property of being a value (in fact, no first-order property or relation can be identical with it), and pleasure may instantiate the property of being a disvalue, too. In any case, that pleasure is the highest or sole (intrinsic) value is a dubious claim. Pianalto (2009).
23 Another peculiar example is „ being a parent” (and/or „being a father/mother”). The interesting question is not whether parental (paternal, maternal) love is a value since love is a value, but whether being a father/mother, for instance, is a value not reducible to other values, including love, even if in practice parental love is, perhaps, inseparable from the consciousness, pride, and power of parenthood.
24 Catholic and Orthodox theology has subtle distinctions between reverence, adoration, worship etc.
25 Lady Diana’s dress is another object whose axiological status has been extensively discussed in the literature. To talk about its ‘holiness,’ in a however secular sense, sounds rather sacrilegious, but not necessarily to all modern ears. See Rabinowicz, Rønnow-Rasmussen (1999).
26 Axiology is, to repeat, not moral theory. Axiological results must influence moral reasoning but do not replace it. How to determine the worth of a person is a matter of moral theory.
27 A similar reasoning is possible for disvalues. It is sometimes suggested the there are cases of rank evil (persons like Stalin, events like the Holocaust) that are somehow „ more unique” than similar cases and this special status is partly explained in terms of a unique combination (though in principle repeatable) of disvalues.
28 Ch. Grau uses the same example, making the same point about the particular history that an original piece has to its author. (Grau, 2006). His own solution to the puzzle of irreplaceability being a value for its own sake, but not an intrinsic value (insofar as intrinsic value supervenes on the object’s intrinsic properties which are naturally repeatable) is to subsume it under the category of „final values” in the Korsgaardian sense, though in a distinct way. That is, his thesis is that uniqueness or particularity is a kind of value. What remains unclear is why and how not everything that exists (the universe being made up of particulars) appears to have the same value in virtue of its particularity.
29 Armstrong (1978).
30 Value creation is not to be understood as creating universals but as making them obtain.
31 The comparability of values is a topic beyond the scope of this paper. The suggestion here is that even if particularity in itself were a value, it would still be only one distinct value, contributing to the valuableness or worth of the particular in question only partially, and not at all precluding evaluative comparisons with other particulars.
32 Of course, the latter case is more doubtful, since technology allows for more and more chances to restore a former technological state of affairs.
33 John O’Neill, who considers the problem of rarity with view of environmental ethics, writes that „[r]arity appears to confer a special value to an object. This value is related to that of another irreducibly relational property of environmental significance, i.e., diversity” (124). This claim is related to another one, that the existence of values does not presuppose the existence of human beings (evaluators). The latter claim is consistent with the present approach but the former is not. Rarity seems to be constitutive of a relation value specific to human beings (see below) but not, in itself, a value. Environmental ethics is supportable on the grounds that some, but not all, values are objective in the sense that no conscious evaluators are necessary for them to exist. Further, diversity (variety) as a value is ambiguous. “It” might take up a value and a disvalue aspect as well, depending on the context. A single rubin stone on a dress might be more refined and elegant than a variety of precious stones. Variety might be related to opulence, confusion, scare, even disgust. See O’Neill (1992).
34 There are even more dubious cases, such as four-leaf clovers which are, indeed, rare, and thought to be valuable by some people, but considered absolutely worthless by most people.
35 Collecting* is different from simply collecting insofar as the former relation has an aspect of enjoyment, pride, mastering, and especially treasuring, etc. that have clear value-connections. This is perhaps what Christine Korsgaard had in mind when considering „ [m]ink coats and handsome china and gorgeously enamelled frying pans” and saying that they “are all things that human beings might choose partly for their own sakes under the condition of their instrumentality: that is, given the role such things play in our lives” (Korsgaard 2005, 89, emphasis added). Of course, her Kantian conception of value relates every value to humanity, which is questionable, but relation values, as was said earlier, might indeed turn out to be essentially linked up with the existence human beings (though enthusiasts about animals may disagree, saying that parental love, for instance, is a relation value instantiable in many species). Zimmerman makes a similar point: “ethical goodness is relative (…) to persons” (The Nature of Intrinsic Value, 27).
36 That this might not be a value relation is a view that J. Swift appears to endorse. In Gulliver’s Fourth Travel, Ch. 7., we find a description of the detestable yahoos’ passion for collecting and hiding worthless stones.
37 The reasons of why certain things are in fashion are famously difficult to explain. Historically, one of the most amusing example is the tulipomania in the 16th century Holland.
38 Feldman (1998).