Value theory  

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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and gestures to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and gestures to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
anthropological theories of value, Ten Commandments, good and evil, morality

Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. This investigation began in ancient philosophy, where it is called axiology or ethics. Early philosophical investigations sought to understand good and evil and the concept of "the good". Today much of value theory is scientifically empirical, recording what people do value and attempting to understand why they value it in the context of psychology, sociology, and economics.

At the general level, there is a difference between moral and natural goods. Moral goods are those that have to do with the conduct of persons, usually leading to praise or blame. Natural goods, on the other hand, have to do with objects, not persons. For example, to say that "Mary is a morally good person" might involve a different sense of "good" than the one used in the sentence "That was some good food".

Ethics is mainly focused on moral goods rather than natural goods, while economics has a concern in what is economically good for the society but not single person and is also interested in natural goods. However, both moral and natural goods are equally relevant to goodness and value theory, which is more general in scope.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Value theory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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