Objective Value

Everything we interact with as human beings has an‭ ‬‘ordinate‭’‬ and intrinsic value.‭ ‬A worth beyond all predicates.‭ ‬This‭ ‬fact,‭ ‬that objects do not merely receive,‭ ‬but also merit our approval or disapproval,‭ ‬our reverence or contempt,‭ ‬clearly indicates a doctrine the Chinese refer to as‭ ‬Tao‭;‬ ‘the greatest thing,‭ ‬reality,‭ ‬nature and the way the universe goes on and things everlastingly emerge‭’‬,‭ ‬the doctrine of‭ ‬objective value. This appreciation of objective value as a reality,‭ ‬and not just an idea,‭ ‬has been echoed throughout history by different schools of thought,‭ ‬cultures and even religions.‭ ‬Shelly described it by comparing the sensibility of man to a lyre with the power of‭ ‬‘internal adjustment‭’‬ that‭ ‬‘accommodates its chords to the motions of whatever strikes them‭’‬ as he described how we interact with objects.‭ ‬Trahene further emphasized that every object has its‭ ‬‘due esteem‭’‬ and Aristotle went on to tell us that education‭’‬s main aim is to teach us what,‭ ‬already,‭ ‬ought to be liked and disliked,‭ ‬a sentiment shared by Plato,‭ ‬long before him,‭ ‬in nearly the same exact words. By this reality,‭ ‬certain attitudes are true or false according to how the universe works,‭ ‬and our approvals and disapprovals are recognitions of a quality which demands a certain response from us,‭ ‬recognitions of‭ ‬objective value.‭ ‬In line with this,‭ ‬our emotional states are therefore alogical and‭ ‬cannot be judgements in themselves‭; ‬they are all‭ ‬viewed as either reasonable or unreasonable in their conformity to reason and objective value.‭ ‬In Lewis‭’‬ lecture on‭ ‬‘Men without chests‭’‬ he gives the example that we call children delightful and old men venerable as recognition of their objective value and not simply a record of our emotional perception.‭ ‬He further tells us how he does not enjoy the company of children.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬regardless of his own preferences he acknowledges,‭ ‬just as a man may recognize that he is‭ ‬colour blind or mute,‭ ‬that this is not caused by a defect in children but rather himself. An individual‭’‬s refusal to acknowledge objective value is absolutely non-rational as it therefore forces that individual to hold the stance that nothing has any value.‭ ‬When one tourist,‭ ‬in the story of Coleridge at the waterfall,‭ ‬called the cataract‭ ‬‘sublime‭’‬,‭ ‬he was not only talking of how his emotion of‭ ‬humility was ordinate to the reality,‭ ‬just as to say that‭ ‬‘a shoe fits‭’‬ is to speak also of the feet.‭ ‬The emotion considered by itself‭  ‬is thus neither reasonable or unreasonable but rather does not even rise to the dignity of error.‭ ‬In this view,‭ ‬also the world of facts,‭ ‬without a trace of value is non-rational.‭ ‬Therefore when an individual cannot provide grounds for identification of objective value he lacks the rationality of thought necessary to acknowledge the dignity of the person,‭ ‬and by extension his own.‭ ‬Just as no amount of justification of virtue will make a man virtuous,‭ ‬virtues of human dignity cannot be coherently justified without‭ ‬any appeal to objective value.


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