Value-Oriented Education - What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

22 January 2004

Value may be conceived as an object, subjective or objective, the possession of which imparts to us a sense of fulfilment and therefore something we prize and cherish.

A value, understood, in the above sense, may be already possessed by us and which is maintained by us and what is naturally pursued by us for continuous maintenance or for a greater maximisation. In that context, value is an object that is desired and which is also pursued as something desirable on the ground that it is desired. Value is thus both positive and normative. The hedonist maintains that pleasure is desired, and thus he underlines psychological hedonism. But on that very ground, he argues that pleasure is desirable and should be normatively pursued.

But when the desirable is sought to be derived from what is desired, there is a possibility of committing what is called “naturalistic fallacy”, since there are a number of things which are desired but are not considered to be desirable. And this introduces in the concept of value several considerations which are not naturalistic but normative in character, and in the light of which value is conceived to be a normative concept.

These normative considerations emerge from two important facts. There is, first, the fact that no individual exists or can exist all by himself independent of the collectivity. And this calls upon every individual to relate with the collectivity in a way that is not positively natural but which is normative, requiring efforts that are not experienced to be necessarily spontaneous or pleasant.

What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

At the minimum level, the individual is seen to be demanding from the others what they expect and demand from him. And this demand is the starting point of what can properly be called “ethical”, which may be pleasant but can, and often is, unpleasant or neutral in respect of pleasant and painful, or else something quite other than what can fall under the category of “pleasure”. And this is where hedonism, psychological or ethical, is required to expand the notion of value and include in it some new ingredients.

The second fact is that pleasure which is at the rudimentary level felt to be identical with sensational in character begins to be perceived as having varied gradations both in degree and in kind, depending upon what objects other than pleasure are sought to be pursued, cultivated and experienced. Even the word pleasure comes to be seen to be a restriction, and the notion of happiness comes to be conceived so as to admit the pursuit of objects which begin to demand our attention as worthy of attainment, even though they do not belong to the category of pleasure or even of happiness.

These two facts impose a process of ascent towards values that are intrinsically objects of worth and where can be called good in themselves or a law, a normative law, − a law other than the law of the processes − that we find operating in our present ordinary existence.

Value, properly speaking, is what ought to be seen, practised and attained, and it is what is necessitated by the process of ascent from our naturalistic situation towards what comes to be conceived a higher stage where the individual and the collectivity find some attainable but not yet attained equilibrium or harmony, and which involves the pursuit of objects that fall outside the category of pleasure or happiness, even though these objects may include happiness or sense of fulfilment.

What are the constituent ingredients of Value?

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