Hierarchy of Value

THE HIERARCHY OF VALUES WITHIN INTRINSIC VALUATION

I firmly believe that preserving the hierarchy of value objects within the domain of intrinsic valuation has powerful intuitive appeal. Identifying ourselves with or intrinsically valuating systemic values (e.g., beliefs about God) is terrific so long as we also identify ourselves with and give even higher priority to more valuable extrinsic values (e.g., actually putting our faith into practice and doing the works of love, mercy, justice, and humility). Identifying intrinsically with extrinsically good things is also terrific so long as we first identify ourselves with and give highest priority to even more precious intrinsic values like God and people as ends in themselves. Even if we value systemic and extrinsic values intrinsically, valuing God and our “neighbors” intrinsically has even greater worth.

I am convinced that we must insure that within the domain of intrinsic valuation (HOW we value) the hierarchy of valuable objects (WHAT we value) is preserved. If so, this gives us another of many good reasons (developed elsewhere)(1) for not plugging formal axiology into transfinite mathematics, and for using instead something like the quantum wave model mathematics of Mark A. Moore when we are ready for a value calculus. Let me explain.

Consider this formula, as quoted from p. 50 of Frank G. Forrest’s Valuemetricsא: The Science of Personal and Professional Ethics:(2)

“A1A1 = kA1 = nA1 = A2.”

In Forrest’s system of notation,

“A” above stands for the Hebrew letter “aleph” or “א”;

“A1” above stands for all intrinsic valuations and value objects;

“k” above stands for all extrinsic valuations and value objects;

“n” above stands for all systemic valuations and value objects.

The above formula acknowledges that each of the first three formulas results in a value increase, so we end up with “A2” on the far right. This formula also says that in each case we end up with the SAME value increase, namely, “A2,”and that is precisely the problem! Put into “plain English,” this formula says,

-the intrinsic valuation of an intrinsically valuable reality has “A2” value;

-the intrinsic valuation of an extrinsically valuable reality has “A2” value; and

-the intrinsic valuation of an systemically valuable reality has “A2” value.

But all of these have the same worth! No one has any more value than any of the others. To re-state the point using the less abstruse notation of “I,” “E,” and “S” for our three domains of value, transfinite math commits us to the view that since II, EI, and SI all have equal worth, II has no more value than EI; and EI has no more value than SI.

Next, mixing symbolisms, if we apply this to our preceding religious reflections, we get:

-the intrinsic valuation of God (II ) has “A2” worth;

-the intrinsic valuation of a brick (EI) has “A2” worth; and

-the intrinsic valuation of a belief about God or a brick (SI) has “A2” worth.

Thus, by this logic, it is just as valuable for us to love a brick, or a belief about a brick, as it is to love God! It is just as valuable for us to love a belief or dogma about God as it is to love God! It is just as valuable for God to love a brick, or the idea of a brick, as it is for God to love us! In my own inner axiological calculus, this just doesn’t compute! If using “God” here complicates the picture unnecessarily, substitute “a human being” for “God” in the first picture, and you get: our loving a person has the same value as our loving a brick, which has the same value as our loving the idea of a person or a brick. This is a crystal clear implication of applying transfinite mathematics to the more basic levels of Hartmanian value theory! The more basic levels of Hartmanian axiology are fine, perhaps even splendid, but for many reasons the topmost formality, the transfinite calculus, has to go. The hierarchy of value just gets lost when we try to deal with value combinations using transfinite math. If this does not prompt us to seek for a better mathematics, I do not know what it would take!

Well, it just so happens that a better mathematics is available, and Mark A. Moore gave it to us years ago, though we have greatly neglected it. In Moore’s “A Quantum Wave Model of Value Theory,”(3) important value distinctions like the hierarchy of value can be mathematically represented and preserved without collapsing them into one another by taking account of what he calls “vectors” using nothing but finite numbers. On p. 187 of Moore’s essay, we find that in the simplest instances of combining intrinsic valuation with value objects in the three value dimensions, quantum wave model math gives these results:

-the intrinsic valuation of an intrinsic value has the vector of “0.9239.”

-the intrinsic valuation of an extrinsic value has the vector of “0.7965.”

-the intrinsic valuation of a systemic value has the vector of “0.6542.”

Here, nothing gets lost, the hierarchy of value is preserved within the domain of intrinsic valuation, and it makes good sense to say that our loving God has more value than loving a brick, which in turn has more value than our loving some belief about God or about a brick. This is as it should be.

NOTES

1. For example, see: Dicken and Edwards, Dialogues on Values and Centers of Value, pp. 139, 146-149.

2. Frank G. Forrest, Valuemetricsא: The Science of Personal and Professional Ethics. Amsterdam – Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1994.

3. Mark A. Moore, “A Quantum Wave Model of Value Theory,” in Formal Axiology and Its Critics, Rem B. Edwards, ed. Amsterdam – Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1995, pp. 171-215.

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