Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quick thoughts on subjective value

... I am beginning to think that I had been seriously over-analysing the issue with the theory value, and that my initial inclinations were in fact correct:

- firstly, that, although subjectivism in epistemology strongly tends to trumpet the use of emotion to ascertain truth or value, going so far as to equate subjectivism in epistemology with the use of emotions to that end is a mistake because, a), ulimately intrinsicism does exactly the same thing, and b), that the decision to make a final choice between equally valid objective options by emotion does NOT make such a choice subjective in the philosophical sense of the word (and that saying that this method does make them subjective makes ALL values whatsoever subjective at root, Kantian/Misesean style, because the potential for options is always open at the consumer-good level - and note that it is from these goods that all producer-goods get their own value in turn, hence Mises' Kantian method and disastrous conclusions)

- secondly, that intrinsicism is at heart just as arbitrary and dependent upon personal and social history and people's psychologies as subjectivism is, to the point of being almost indistinguishable from group-oriented subjectivism but for intrinsicism's group being everyone while group-subjectivism allows for a plurality of groups; when people default on reason what they come up with in its stead always comes back to personal psychology and psychoepistemology: remember, emotions are the products of ideas, and do not pop up inexplicably out of nowhere

- and thirdly, because intrinsicism and subjectivism are merely two different methods of arriving at the same core emotion-driven methodology and same rejection of and action in defiance of reason's fullest and proper use, the equation of the primacy-of-emotion with the subjective also has the effect of glossing over the differences in how exactly the emotions are improperly used in any case.

I asked myself the obvious question: if it is being posited that, contrary to my own statements, there are such things as subjective values (in the philosophical sense of the word), would there also be any such thing as intrinsic values? I realised that there were phenomena just as superficially plausible on the intrinsicist side as there were on the subjectivist side. When pushed further they both fell in a heap for the same reason - that consciousness is aware of existence, it has to process the content of that existence, and that there's no getting away from this. I'll explain it better later, but I thus came to the firmer conclusion of a NO on both accounts.

As a result of all this, I am going back to my original conclusion: that really, the primary alternative for values to a being operating on the conceptual level is between objective values on the one hand (including emotion-based choices between options that reason finds to be equally valid) and irrational values on the other. It is then later, after this, that those so inclined may divide irrational values into those arrived at an intrinsicist methodology versus those arrived at by a subjectivist methodology, without implying that the results were actually intrinsic values or subjective values respectively.

The other charge levied against me (and really, the main one) was of denying a role for volition in the creation of values. This too, I reject, mostly because it is claiming too much for what volition does, but again, more later.

I apologise for this being as rough as buggery. I will try to address it better this weekend.


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