Socrates. And can we ever know what art makes a man better, if we do not know what we are ourselves?

Alcibiades. Impossible

Socrates. And is self-knowledge such an easy thing, and was he to be lightly esteemed who inscribed the text [“Know Thyself”] on the temple at Delphi?

Alcibiades. At times I fancy, Socrates, that anybody can know himself; at other times the task appears to be very difficult.

Socrates. But whether easy or difficult, Alcibiades, still there is no other way; knowing what we are, we shall know how to take care of ourselves, and if we are ignorant, we shall not know.

Alcibiades. That is true.(2) Plato

Do we know who we are? Are we trying to find ourselves? Do we value (or disvalue) ourselves? Do we value (or disvalue) others? If some things in our broadest social and physical environments are more valuable than others, how can, how should, we evaluate them? What must we do to answer such questions? It has been said that “We are what we eat.” To take this as the whole truth is to oversimplify immensely. We can get much closer to the whole truth if we say: “We are what and how we value.” What we value and how we value are the keys to our personality and our whole reality. Let us see how these keys unlock the doors to self-knowledge and self-appreciation.

Before we can use what and how we value to know ourselves, we must first make a little effort to understand some key concepts. Values are meanings, and everything of which we are conscious has meaning. Values are also the intentional objects of valuations; they are what we valuate. Valuation, how we attach value to things, is conscious involvement with meanings or objects of value. Every moment of consciousness includes values and valuations, but these can take many forms. Every wakeful moment, we are valuing (or disvaluing) objects of consciousness just by being aware of them. We are consciously involved with many different kinds of things in many different ways; and as we grow physically, socially, mentally, ethically, and spiritually, the things with which we are involved constantly increase, as do our capacities for valuational involvement. To be alive and alert is to be saturated with values and valuations. You probably never realized this before now! The immense mass of values and valuations that is our conscious life can be very confusing; but we can bring order to our initial chaos of awareness if we master some important distinctions.


1. Three Kinds of Value

Value…is defined as a formal relation, namely, the correspondence between the properties possessed by a subject and the predicates contained in the intension of the subject’s concept.(3) Robert S. Hartman

To measure value by meaning means, then, to use meaning as a measuring rod which fits the thing and from which the number of the value of the thing can be read off. Meaning as logical intension, or as a set of predicates, is, precisely, such a standard of measuring. Just as the units of the meter are the centimeters, so the units of an intension are the predicates it contains. This set of predicates is compared with the set of properties actually possessed by the thing; and the thing has value in the degree that the set of its properties corresponds to the set of predicates in its intension; just as the thing has length in the degree that the units of length it possesses correspond to the centimeters contained in the measure of its length, the meter.(4) Robert S. Hartman

According to axiology, entities have value when they fulfill our expectations, standards, or normative concepts. Just what this means will become clearer as our discussions progress, but note that value measurement is a rational process in which we try to determine whether actual or possible entities conform or fail to conform to relevant standards. To measure anything’s value, we must get to know its properties or attributes, apply an ideal standard to it, and determine the degree to which it measures up to the elements of that standard.

What kinds of value and standards for measuring value are there? To be conscious of anything is to value it. Everything with which we are consciously involved belongs to one of at least three categories of value: extrinsic, systemic, and intrinsic. These three dimensions of value and their appropriate value standards will be defined and explained, along with their distinctive conceptual measuring rods, in forthcoming chapters. Most people are much more attuned to extrinsic values than to any of the others, so this is a good place to begin.


A. Extrinsic Values

Abstraction “draws off” properties common to at least two things. These properties are denumerable, for they must be abstracted one by one;…but there is an infinity of such possible properties. Referents of such concepts are the things of the everyday world. Each such thing has potentially an infinite number of properties in common with other such things…but in practice valuation will turn upon only a few of these properties…What is valued is not the thing in itself but its possession of the class predicates. Fulfillment by a thing of an abstract concept constitutesextrinsic value.(5) Robert S. Hartman

The subjects of extrinsic valuation are everyday things and persons…in space and time…These empirical things are valued in the degree that they have the fullness of their class attributes. They are better when they have more attributes and worse when they have less…(6) Robert S. Hartman

Every way of classifying a thing is but a way of handling it for some particular purpose. Conceptions, “kinds,” are teleological instruments.(7) William James

Philosophers say that extrinsic values are means to ends; they are useful in getting other things that we want. Extrinsically valuable things are good with respect to their function.(8) Every thing, process, and action in public spacetime presented to us through our external senses is potentially if not actually a useful instrument, an extrinsic value. Footballs, basketballs, goal lines, goal posts, hoops, cars, clothes, food, drink, our own bodies, and the bodies of plants, animals, and other people are all extrinsic values. We can use our bodies to kick footballs, bounce basketballs, charge or defend goal lines, earn a living, paint a portrait, write a novel, make a sale, wear clothes, and wine and dine. Extrinsic value objects exist in the common, public, sensory world of space and time that we share with others. We can see, touch, smell, taste, and hear extrinsic value objects; and so can other people and other sentient creatures like the non-human animals. In fact, extrinsic values are just things, processes, and activities located in our common world of sense experience (as opposed to our dreams and imagination). They are things that can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard. All such things are actually or potentially useful as means to ends. Extrinsic values are good precisely because they are useful in achieving and sustaining other and deeper values.

Within their classes, extrinsic value objects can be compared and contrasted with other extrinsic value objects. Some coins (quarters) will buy more than others (pennies or dimes); some books contain more information than others; some philosophical and axiological systems are more illuminating than others; some cars run more efficiently than others; some workers are more productive than others; some philosophers are better thinkers and teachers than others; some coaches are better motivators than others; some athletes are more “physical” and proficient than others. When athletes compete for the same position on a team, coaches compare their talents and performances to determine which players best fulfill standards essential for winning games and athletic contests. When we compare persons, ourselves or others, regarding useful properties, only extrinsic but not intrinsic worth is being considered.

Extrinsic values are immensely complicated realities. Using our raw senses plus magnifying instruments to get to the level of basic physical particles and motions, how long would it take us to describe every perceptible feature of a golf ball or a baseball bat, along with every relationship that it has to everything else in our common world? How many books would that fill? We should be thankful that we do not have to master all of this information in order to use balls and bats effectively! Most of the time, sensory experience filters out biologically and practically irrelevant data for us. We have evolution to thank for that! But the more we know about extrinsic realities, and about how our bodies can control them, the more effective we can be pragmatically.


B. Systemic Values

…The whole realm of what we call systemic value is new to value theory.(9) Robert S. Hartman

Finite intensional sets (definitions) define formal concepts (synthetic concepts in the sense of…Kant’s Logic). The things corresponding to them are constructions of the human mind, such as geometrical circles. Such things either fulfill their concept or else they are not such things; they either are or they are not what they are said to be. There are no good or bad geometric circles. A circle lacking a single one of the properties of the concept “circle” is not a circle. Constructions of the human mind thus have only two values, which we shall call systemic values: either perfection or non value.(10) Robert S. Hartman

The subjects of logical or systemic valuation are things in a minimum relationship: as elements of a system or as schemata. A schema is less real than any empirical thing…What counts in a system is the system and its procedures and nothing else. This goes not only for the system’s victims but also for its agents. They act as elements of the system and as nothing else.(11) Robert S. Hartman

Systemic values are also useful, but they do not exist in public spacetime. They are not physical and perceptible things; they exist only mentally as concepts constructed by our minds. Examples are: definitions of perfect triangles, circles, squares; moral, legal, logical, and mathematical rules; and philosophical and religious doctrines and dogmas. In definitions, systemic values connote the minimal properties necessary for something to belong to its class. The systemic features of non-systemic entities like businesses, products, activities, or persons are the essential elements they must possess to be classified as such things at all. Systemic entities are not recollected from some prior existence in a realm of pure ideas, as Plato thought. Instead, we create or construct systemic value objects with our minds. In their purest form they exist only in our minds. We cannot see or touch them, but we can experience less than perfect copies of them.

Systemic values exist only mentally, but all of us can use them to order chaos. Systemic entities are much simpler than extrinsic entities; they do not have as many properties. They can be defined with absolute precision in only a few words, and every true instance of them is flawless. A circle that deviates slightly from being “a closed curved line with no thickness at all, every point of which is equally distant from its center” is not really a circle. The circumference of every existing wheel, basketball, and baseball is slightly flawed. None manifest perfect circularity, so they are not really circles at all. Yet, if we play basketball or baseball, we want the balls to approach the ideal as closely as possible. We don’t want to play with lop-sided balls! Manufacturers of spherical balls, circular wheels, or auto tires, know that people will not buy these products if they are significantly out-of-round. Systemic values can help us to order our world and provide us with regulative ideals to which we try to approximate, but we cannot actually create or achieve systemic perfection.


C. Intrinsic Values

…If systemic value is the value of Perfection and extrinsic value that of Goodness, singular or intrinsic value is the value of Uniqueness.(12) Robert S. Hartman

The subjects of intrinsic valuation are non-empirical things, or rather empirical things in their non-empirical aspects. They are, as such, neither in time nor in space. Each thing here is regarded as unique…Extrinsically seen, a woman is one among many beings of such and such a shape, features, and “build.” Intrinsically seen, a woman is “the only one in the world,” “the one and only,” “there is nothing like her,” “she is Woman.”(13) Robert S. Hartman


Intrinsic values are final ends; they are good in and of themselves, good for their own sake. Extrinsic values are good as means, and systemic values bring orderliness; but only intrinsically valuable entities are ends in themselves.

What kinds of things are intrinsically good? People have debated this question for centuries. Philosophers usually conclude, after much thought, that intrinsic goods exist only in or as conscious awareness, and that intrinsically good things are abstract and repeatable features of consciousness like pleasure, or happiness (which is a surplus of pleasure over pain for an extended period of time); or conscientiousness (dutifulness); or virtues like courage, temperance, justice, mercy, love, faith, and hope; or knowledge and contemplation; or self-realization; or fulfillment of interests or desires, and so on. These abstractions exist only in or as the conscious awareness of unique individuals who valuate them, who attach value to them. None of them can be isolated from individuated consciousness to determine whether they have intrinsic value “in themselves.”

Consciousness is valuation, so the most plausible theory, all things considered, is that intrinsically valuable things are unique centers or subjects of conscious experience, activity, and valuation who can be enriched in some, perhaps all, of the ways just mentioned. In this sense, God, people, and animals are intrinsically valuable entities — to varying degrees. Although non-human animals will be mentioned occasionally, the degree of their intrinsic worth relative to each other and to human beings is too complex to be considered here in depth.(14)

Intrinsically valuable entities are unique, conscious, organically integrated totalities, but systemic ideas and extrinsic things can be valued intrinsically as if they were intrinsic goods. How we value them can resemble how we ought to value divine and human persons and animals. Inanimate things and ideas can be valuated as if they have intrinsic worth; they can be considered and appreciated in their wholeness, their total property inventory, as unique wholes; and we may personify them, fully delight in them, identify ourselves with them, emotionally embrace and cherish them, and make them valuationally one with our being. In a great athletic team, the distinctive talents, efforts, and contributions of individual players and coaches are combined into a unique whole to form the team’s distinctive “personality,” something greater than the sum of its parts. Its members wholeheartedly give themselves, their talents, and their efforts to the team, identify with it, and internalize it as an integral part of themselves. The same thing may happen with many social wholes — tribes, communities, nations, families, universities, churches and synagogues, etc. And many physical entities — mountains, canyons, homes, paintings, statues, airships, the seas — may be valued intrinsically in ways most appropriate to, and having their native home in, our relations with conscious individuals.

Most essentially, each of us is an intrinsic value. We are unique unified centers or subjects of consciousness; for fleeting moments, we are experientially conscious of ourselves and have cognitive concepts of ourselves. We experience; we are active; we are valuing subjects. We assign some kind and degree of value or disvalue, however great or small, to everything of which we aware; and our lives can be enriched in intrinsic worth by happiness, dutifulness, virtue, knowledge, self-realization, and in so many other intrinsic-value-enhancing ways. Our lives can also be impoverished by the absence of, or by the opposites of, these intrinsic enrichers. Think for a moment about what our lives would be like if devoid of all pleasures, feelings, happiness, virtue, knowledge, self-realization, and so on, and what they would be like if filled completely with their opposites. In our for-the-moment-complete but ever increasing temporal totality, we are intrinsically valuable, unique, conscious individuals. We exists as ends, not merely as means. What evidence supports this conclusion?


2. The Hierarchy of Value

Systemic value, extrinsic value, and intrinsic value are the three value dimensions. They constitute a hierarchy of richness, intrinsic being richer in qualities than extrinsic value, extrinsic richer in qualities than systemic value. “Richer in qualities” is the definition of “better,” poorer in qualities” is the definition of “worse.”(15) Robert S. Hartman

…The hierarchy of value [is] based on the fact that, since value is defined as the fulfillment of a connotation, the more of a connotation there is to be fulfilled the higher is the value.(16) Robert S. Hartman

Which type of value is most valuable — extrinsic, systemic, or intrinsic? Does this question have a rational answer? Our discussion began with extrinsic value, not because it has greater worth than the others, but because to most people it is the most familiar. A rational and natural pre-systematic hierarchy of values is built into us, into human nature, some axiologists suggest, by evolutionary pressures and processes.(17) We can access this hierarchy of values in our most deeply reflective and self-aware moments; but most of the time we are not very reflective or self-aware about our values and valuations and are very confused about them.

Some forms of value are more valuable than others. One way to see this is to get in touch with our deepest and most enlightened preferences. Many strategies are available to help us do this. Consider the following.

Which would most enrich our lives, the idea or blueprint of a champion’s trophy or a sports car, or a real trophy or sports car? Most people who think seriously about it (except Plato!) would judge that we would be better off with an existing extrinsic reality than with nothing more than the ideal systemic pattern of it. Extrinsic realities seem to be generally more important than systemic realities. Ideas of things are less valuable than the things themselves.

Similarly, if we must choose between the idea or blueprint of a friend, a spouse, or a puppy, and a real friend, a real spouse, or a real puppy, which would we prefer, all things considered? Most thoughtful people would prefer the existing intrinsic realities over the ideal systemic pattern of friendship, spousehood, or puppyhood, even when these are particularized as much as our imaginations will permit. Imaginary friends are never quite as good as real ones. Intrinsic realities also are more valuable than systemic realities. Ideas are less valuable than people and animals. Since concepts or ideas are less valuable than things, people, and animals, systemic entities belong on the bottom of our threefold hierarchy of value objects. To account adequately for animals, we may need a fourfold or tenfold hierarchy of value with most kinds of animals (for example, those below the great apes) occupying lower tiers in the class of intrinsic goods. Because animals are beyond the scope of this book, the following discussion will concentrate on ideas, things, and people. Why are people better than things, and things better than ideas?

The insight that ideas are less valuable than things and people goes counter to the prejudices of many intellectuals, especially philosophers, scientists, and religious dogmatists. Can its truth be shown in another way? Values involve meanings, and meanings are actual or potential mental contents that exist at least in minds (intensions) and possibly also in things (extensions). The more positive or negative the meaning, the more positive or negative the value. So, which is more meaningful (fulfills more good-making concepts, intensions, or standards), the blueprint of a sports car or a real one, the idealized image of a dearly beloved spouse or a real one? Which would we prefer to ride, or to sleep with? The answer should be fairly obvious! Empirical and intrinsic realities are far richer in desirable properties, in positive meanings, and thus in positive values, than our ideas of them.

When we compare the value of things with the value of our ideas of them, things are clearly richer in properties and thus better than ideas; but some ideas are of obligations or regulative ideals rather than of things. Moral and religious ideals like the Ten Commandments or the duty not to inflict harm on others have enormous positive consequences when followed, so are they not better than things? The answer may be that we should not confuse the value of the inherent properties of an idea with value of the consequences of deliberately acting upon it. We should not confuse the systemic with the extrinsic value of ideas. Moral and religious ideals may or not be acted upon; their consequences are initially only potential but not actual; and particular results are no part of general ideas or ideals as such. Getting desirable results requires combining the values of favorable causal conditions, human decisions, and regulative guidance. That holistic combination or composition of beneficial results, favorable conditions, moral decisions, and systemic guidance has immense worth; but its value should not be confused with the value of systemic guidance alone.

If systemic values belong on the bottom of our hierarchy of value, which of the other two — intrinsic or extrinsic — belongs in the middle? Again, we must try to get in touch with our deepest preferences. Suppose that a brother or a son that we adore is a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and that our country is engaged in a war primarily to protect its supplies of oil. Would we want our pilot to risk his life for this oil? If he is killed in this war, would we believe that exchanging his life for so many barrels of oil is a fair exchange? Does the value of extrinsic realities ever equal or surpass the value of intrinsic realities? When he considered the value of conscious moral beings, Immanuel Kant pronounced them to be “without price”; they cannot be replaced or their loss adequately compensated for by some extrinsic equivalent like money.(18)

Some people devote their entire lives to accumulating great wealth and living in luxury; but this way of life consumes so much of their time and energy that they experience few if any deep and intimate relationships with other human beings. They may die never having loved their parents, never marrying, never having children, never having a single true friend, never even respecting themselves. For a profusion of extrinsic values, they sacrifice all intrinsic values. They achieve the goods of life, but not a good life. In gaining the world, these people lose their souls. Would you want to be such a person? Perhaps you already are!

Are extrinsic realities richer in positive meanings, in desirable properties, than intrinsic realities? Or is it just the reverse? The problems are more difficult here than with systemic values, for both things and people are almost inconceivably complex in properties or meanings. But consider this: are we human beings simpler or more complex than circles or volleyballs? The answer should be very obvious, but if it is not at this stage, perhaps it will emerge as we come to know ourselves better. Just how rich in properties are we? How many books would it take to describe absolutely everything about us, our inherent attributes, and our internal and external relations to everything else in the universe?

We are constituted largely if not entirely by our inherent properties and our internal relations to innumerable other things and happenings that enter into our unique existence. Philosophers distinguish between internal relations that enter causally and constitutively into a thing’s composition, and external relations that are conceivable and knowable but inoperative in making something be what it is. Our causal relations with our parents and early caregivers is highly constitutive of and internal to who we are, but our mere spatiotemporal relations with the parents of most people we have never heard of, or with grains of sand on some distant continent or planet, are largely irrelevant and external to who we are. Many things exist now in the universe that do not affect us at all; by definition, contemporaries are things that are causally independent of one another. Although as social beings we are who we are largely because of our internal relational properties to events that fall within our cones of causation, many relations are external and irrelevant to our reality. When counting relational properties that belong to us, we probably should not count external relations. As Alfred North Whitehead suggested, we should not exaggerate the community of the universe.(19)

We are embodied, spatially extended, temporally developing, conscious beings. Our extrinsic physical properties definitely belong to our total property inventory. As Whitehead also pointed out, “Our feeling of bodily unity is a primary experience…No one ever says, Here am I, and I have brought my body with me.”(20) Human bodies, including human brains, are more complex and richer in properties than any other known physical objects. In addition to mere embodiment, we are centers or subjects of conscious intentions, experiences, feelings, decisions, thoughts, and valuations; and these facts about us are so immensely complex that they are almost beyond comprehension. Some people, like Robert S. Hartman, claim that we are infinitely complex, infinitely rich in inherent and internal relational properties. Thus, we are infinitely valuable; but this is very difficult if not impossible to prove!(21) Even if as unique persons (intrinsic realities) we are not infinitely intricate, we still have at least as much presence and physical meaning as any extrinsic reality; and we consist of indescribably multifarious psychic properties and predicates or meanings. Thus, we (intrinsic realities) are more valuable or meaningful than things (extrinsic realities).

Our consciousness, self-awareness, and psychological functions may or may not be identical with our functioning brains. Very likely they are identical, but not in a reductive materialist sense. No one can reduce the fullness of conscious experience and activity to mere matter in motion without a stupendous sacrifice or loss of properties. Reductionists choose to ignore such particulars, but axiologists cannot. Consciousness involves meanings that merely physical processes, mere things composed solely of mathematically measurable properties, cannot comport or comprehend. In accounting for human nature, reductive materialists proceed by subtracting properties from conscious persons until only the measurable and predictable properties of inert Newtonian/Cartesian matter remain. Non-reductive physicalism,(22) by contrast, subtracts no properties. It acknowledges that we are essentially embodied beings; but our embodiment is as rich in properties as we know ourselves to be. Consciousness, conscience, moral sensitivity, perceptivity, affectivity, rationality, autonomy, and spirituality are functions of our brains; they supervene upon the physical, chemical, and biological structures and processes of our brains; and they are preeminently real and efficacious.

Much more could be said to establish the validity of axiology’s hierarchy of value;(23) but it should be obvious on reflection that intrinsic entities are more valuable than extrinsic entities, which are more valuable than systemic entities. This hierarchy of value is rationally based. Things are more valuable than ideas or concepts, and people are more valuable than things. As noted, this hierarchy of value has evolutionary significance if, over the very long run, evolutionary selection weeds out the kind of people who do not generally value according to this hierarchy of value and does not allow them to pass along their genes to future generations. In a weak sense, this is true, as explained in more depth in Chapter Three.

As for your own self-knowledge, how would you rank the three items in our hierarchy of value — persons, things, and ideas? How much worth do you attach to yourself relative to physical things and immaterial ideas? At times, do you devalue yourself, underestimate your own worth, and attach more significance to things and ideas than to yourself? Do these habits of valuation infect your relations with others? How much value do you attach to other people relative to things and ideas? Do you ever underestimate their worth?


3. Three Kinds of Valuation

Valuation is no more nor less a matter of feeling than is music. It is a matter of feeling structured by laws — feeling following definite laws. The feeling of value is nothing arbitrary.(24) Robert S. Hartman

Our essential reality and worth consists largely of our capacity to attach value or disvalue to everything we consciously experience, are aware of, think about, do, and are; so we must try to understand and enhance our valuational capacities. We can value how we value, but most people do not know how they value, and there are many ways. How we value has cognitive, affective, and dynamic components. We can learn how to value more intelligently and skillfully. Valuation is how we attach value or disvalue to everything that we experience, do, think, and are. To the three basic kinds of value — extrinsic, systemic, and intrinsic — correspond three kinds of valuation. Guess what they are!


A. Extrinsic Valuation

Extrinsic valuation is the model of everyday pragmatic thinking.(25) Robert S. Hartman

Extrinsic valuation, in practice, is based upon relatively few properties, up to about two hundred in expert valuation of an everyday thing and upon far fewer in everyday valuation and discourse.(26) Robert S. Hartman

Extrinsic valuation is its most familiar and commonplace form. Extrinsic valuation is the ordinary, everyday, practical assessment of actual or potential instrumental significance; it involves classifying and knowing things and processes as means to ends and learning what causes what in the world. It is our most essential survival skill. Most of the problems that our hunter/gatherer ancestors had to solve were located in the external sensory and social worlds. Most of us today have a fairly well developed capacity for pragmatic extrinsic valuation by the time we reach adulthood; but we can still learn how to be better pragmatists, even if we learn nothing else about how to value. Cognition, feeling, and action are three aspects of pragmatic valuation. We can increase our skills in all three.


i. Cognition and Extrinsic Valuation

The knowledge relevant to extrinsic valuation is the knowledge of the world of things, of the order and classification of things which correspond to their actual variety. This is the valuation of common sense, of sound situational understanding. Here we have the capacity of comparison, of judging the present in terms of the future,…and the solid open-mindedness that used to distinguish the American mind.(27) Robert S. Hartman

Whenever I judge a thing for its value, I compare the meaning of its name with the properties of the thing itself.(28) Robert S. Hartman

Extrinsic valuation applies cognitions or conceptions (thoughts or ideas) to sensory experiences. We can use thoughts as value standards to measure the goodness or badness of everything that exists in our common world of sense experience, including physical objects, natural and social processes, and individual and collective human activities. Remember that values involve meanings that can exist both in minds and in things. When spatiotemporal objects and processes fulfill the cognitive standards that we apply to them, they are good. Axiology says that goodness is concept fulfillment. We can think “sweetness” and “strength” (intensions); and sweetness and strength (extensions) can exist in things encountered in everyday experience. Technically, predicates or mental connotations are intensional meanings; and the corresponding properties in existing things are extensional meanings. Concepts can connote or denote.

Strictly speaking, definitions of things, the essence of systemic valuations, are not used to evaluate them extrinsically. Of course, things must fulfill their definitions if they are to be rated as good members of their kind or class, for if they do not they just do not belong to the relevant class. Additional intensional elements called “expositions” are the ones actually used in extrinsic valuation.(29) The difference between a mere orange and a good orange is important. To be an orange at all, an entity must be a roughly spherical, edible, pulpy citrus fruit that is orange colored when ripe; but since some oranges are green (unripe ones), being actually orange colored is a good-making expositional property. Since some oranges, especially unripe ones, are very sour, sweetness is a good-making expositional property. The line between extrinsic definitions and expositions is not perfectly exact in practice; often the difference is only between potential and actual properties. A good orange exhibits expositional properties like a sweet taste, the right degree of tartness and firmness, a roughly spherical shape, a bright orange color, and a pleasant citrusy smell. Small, green, bitter oranges are oranges; and they normally actualize their good-making expositional properties in due time. Only then are they good oranges.

When we buy oranges, we shop for color, citrusy taste, and sweetness; and when we recruit linebackers, we shop for speed and strength; but these are not the only expositional sensory traits that we have in mind when we try to find good oranges and good linebackers. A good orange also has a preferred blemish-free shape and size. A good linebacker combines strength, quickness, intelligence, aggressiveness, and team spirit with the ability to fulfill a well defined athletic role on a football team. In fact, a good anything has good-making properties that fulfill the expositional or good-making standards, criteria, or concepts that we have in mind when we measure worth. Things usually fulfill our standards by degrees, so there are degrees of value.

Axiology says that goodness is concept or standard fulfillment. Determining whether an extrinsic object is good of its kind or class consists mainly in observing it and then matching its actual properties with our conceptualized expectations or standards. It is truly good if it fulfills all our conceptualized expectations, fair if it fulfills most of them, average if it fulfills about half of them, poor if less than half, and no good at all if it completely fails to fulfill any of our expositional expectations.(30) The properties of good things stand in one to one correlation with the predicates that constitute our norms or standards. Less than good things correlate less and less.

Thus, if we want to be skilled at valuing extrinsically, we must have clear standards in mind, inspect things to discover their properties, and determine whether these properties fulfill their norms, and to what degree. Many of us use consumer magazines like Consumer Reports when we want to buy a good boombox, lawn mower, car, or other consumer product or service. Consumer magazines have mastered the art of extrinsic valuation. They give us standards to be fulfilled, examine products to determine their properties, and tell us which ones best fulfill the standards and to what degree. They practice applied axiology! Axiology is the science of values and valuations; and consumer publications show us how to be scientific about extrinsic values.


ii. Feelings and Extrinsic Valuation

Conceptually, extrinsic valuation is a matter of measuring a thing’s properties by means of a concept, as is also the case with both systemic and intrinsic valuations. But some valuations have an affective or emotional aspect…What then of the extrinsic? One the one hand, the process of measuring the extrinsic value of a thing can be characterized, like the systemic, as objective, impartial, and dispassionate, for a set of predicates is compared with a set of properties. The evaluator need not take a “pro-attitude” toward the thing being measured. On the other hand, the determination of the set of predicates used as a measure may involve emotion. “Extrinsic valuation is the model of everyday pragmatic thinking,” writes Hartman. But such thinking involves human desires and interests. We order and classify the things that we interact with in space and time for all sorts of purposes. Our abstract concepts help us get what we want. However, this is not to say that there is no logic involved in the formulation of such concepts.(31) John W. Davis

Indirectly or directly, feelings play a part in extrinsic valuations; so if we are going to be good at managing our practical affairs, we must understand our feelings and the role they play in practical life. All sensations and thoughts bear emotional charges, however faint. Ordinary everyday feelings, desires, emotions, moods, and attitudes are directly involved in setting the conceptual standards by which we measure the goodness of things, roles, and processes. Normally they come into play when we judge that a particular thing, role, or process is a good instance of its kind. Often we do not know how we think or feel about things, and reading a consumer review or consulting with an expert can help us clarify not only our thoughts but also our feelings. Conceptual standards for measuring goodness are set by people who desire and/or have positive feelings or attitudes about things like round balls, rough linebackers, treble and bass clarity in boomboxes, and fuel efficiency, style, and comfort in automobiles.

We may disagree with judgments of goodness expressed by other people, by experts, by conventions, or in consumer magazines, not because we doubt that the standards proffered are fulfilled, but because we do not accept the standards, because do not take pro-attitudes toward some or all of the good-making traits that comprise the standards. Robert S. Hartman wrote that

It is not the case that axiological judgment would differ from man to man only because one man did not know the expositional properties of the thing in question, but rather because one man does, and another does not, approve of these properties as exhibited by a phenomenon.(32)

direct positive emotional or affective involvement with the alleged good-making properties of a thing is essential for embracing fully the judgment that it is good because it fulfills the appropriate norms; we must both judge and feel that the norms themselves are appropriate. Evolution has equipped us to approve of successful means to ends.

However, indirect or truncated extrinsic valuation can exist without our having to take pro-attitudes toward the good-making descriptive predicates included in the norm itself, or toward the properties of the objects measured by these predicates. An extrinsic valuer may employ only the conceptual and sensory aspects of extrinsic valuation. Apple graders or auto inspectors need little or no positive emotional involvement with the apples or autos they classify as good or less-than-good. More or less dispassionately, they can just apply the conceptual standards set by the pro-attitudes of others to the products they evaluate. At this “indirect” extreme, extrinsic valuation resembles systemic valuation, as John W. Davis indicates in the above quote.

The feelings involved in direct extrinsic valuation are the ordinary prosaic and pragmatic feelings, desires, emotions, affections, and attitudes of everyday life and practice. They are not the extremely intense and special feelings that characterize intrinsic valuation, as explained later. However, the ordinary shades off into the extraordinary by degrees; and where they come together, they are almost indistinguishable. Where their extremes tend to meet, all three dimensions of valuation may merge with the next in line; but hard-core instances of each are easy to identify.


iii. Dynamics and Extrinsic Valuation

…But the combination of things can be bad: and bad is indeed nothing but the incompatibility of things, or things in transposition…A good Buick and a good Ford transpose each other when they collide… The result is both a bad Buick and a bad Ford, or rather, a Buick disvalued in terms of a Ford and vice versa…The wreck, however, is a good wreck, fulfilling the definition of “wreck,” which in turn means a combination of two bad cars. On the other hand, a good Buick and a good Ford in a showroom form a composition of values,…and this complex is a whole whose concept contains the expositions of both automobiles.(33) Robert S. Hartman


Values and value combinations in all dimensions are not just found; they can be created. A dynamic or active feature of extrinsic valuation appears when extrinsic values are actively combined with other values. Extrinsic objects can be forcefully combined with other extrinsic objects — even with systemic and intrinsic objects. They can be combined positively to create more complex positive values or compositions, or negatively to create complex disvalues or transpositions. Gifts can be given to loved ones. Blocks of marble can be shaped into ideal forms. Nets and hoops can be combined positively to produce basketball goals; leather and laces can be united to make baseballs; running and grabbing are complementary talents in football tackles; steel and chrome can be merged to make sports cars; wires and condensers can be consolidated in electronic equipment, and so on. Additional standards for judging excellence are then required by these more complex extrinsic combinations, for their goodness cannot be measured by the standards that apply to their separate ingredients. The extrinsic goodness of novel organic wholes cannot be equated with or reduced to the goodness of their parts.

Extrinsic objects can also be combined to produce disvalues. Crash a Ford into a Buick, and junk is created. A crashed Ford is a good junker, but not a good sports car or family sedan. Crash a tackle into a quarterback’s knee and more junk (injury) is created. Pour sawdust into a Coke and we have poor sawdust and a poor Coke. Shoot a bullet into a human body, or stick a finger into a rival player’s eye, and no good comes of it. Detonating a bomb on or in a building destroys it and reduces it to useless debris. Adding pollutants to the atmosphere yields bad air but good smog.

Much of life consists of activities that combine extrinsic value objects with other value objects in positive or negative ways to produce new values or disvalues. We must think carefully about the consequences of our acts. Everything that we do creates values or disvalues of some kind, but we may not always have concepts suitable for measuring them. Learning how to value more effectively is partly a matter of increasing the number, range, clarity, and depth of our normative concepts.


B. Systemic Valuation

Since valuation is a matter of thinking, it is important to see what kind of valuation regular logical thinking represents.(34) Robert S. Hartman

Like all other valuations, systemic valuation involves cognition, feeling, and dynamics. Its natural home is with systemic values like logic, mathematics, definitions, and behavioral rules; but it too can be extended beyond its natural limits. Non-systemic values can also be valuated systemically in all three of the following ways: cognitively, affectively, and dynamically.


i. Cognition and Systemic Valuation

…Systemic valuation denies all degrees of value and sees things in either black or white; the thing either is or is not a member of its class, it either is perfect or no good. In a systemic organization you either belong or you don’t belong. Shades and differences of opinion and character are not tolerated. The one value is conformity and the one disvalue non-conformity — which leads to expulsion or “liquidation.”

…All members of a system must be the same or else be no members…Things that are all the same are indistinguishable of one another and interchangeable…All the elements are on the lowest common denominator, namely, as elements of the system, and all their intrinsic or extrinsic differences are erased; they are, as individuals, unavailable. There is nothing but a mass of interchangeable, formless elements. Chaos numbered and indexed. The culmination of such systemic organization was Nazi Germany.(35) Robert S. Hartman

Conceptually, systemic valuation is a habit of mind that measures by systemic cognitive standards. Systemically, things are always perfect instances of their concepts, or they do not exist at all. Systemic valuation neither recognizes nor appreciates degrees of concept fulfillment. The number “three” is always a perfect trinity, or it is not a trinity at all. Systemic valuation is always rigidly dualistic — “all or nothing,” “black or white,” “either/or,” “absolutely for or against.” It incorporates only very small sets of definitional properties into norms for judging value or disvalue. Systemically, things are either perfect when they are as they should be, or worthless and non-existent whenever the tiniest flaws exist.

Systemic valuation is very appropriate when we have to deal with or relate to systemic objects created by our own minds, existing only in our minds, and having only and precisely the limited features that we choose to give to them. Systemic objects can never fail to fulfill their concepts because they are identical with those concepts. They have no other reality. They are created by our minds, not abstracted from experience, and not recollected from some prior existence in a Platonic realm of ideas. They are totally mind-dependent for their being. Experienced entities may resemble and approximate to them, but never perfectly.

Trouble arises when systemic habits of mind are applied to non-systemic entities like people and things. Applied to extrinsic and intrinsic realities, systemic valuation (1) habitually focuses on very limited sets of traits and refuses to see all that is there; and (2) it prejudges everything to be either perfect or utterly worthless. It is the mind set of prejudice, ideology, reductionism, dualism, totalitarianism, perfectionism, dogmatism, and fanaticism. For systemic mentalities, finite sets of traits like those defining race, sex, nationality, species, social class, or religious affiliation mean absolutely everything. What fits the preconceptions of the system has value; what does not fit is utterly worthless and, for that reason, may be eliminated or exterminated without loss of worth and without qualms of systemic conscience. Ideologists have only systemic conscience to guide them; but most people keep systemic values in their proper place with guidance from extrinsic and intrinsic conscience.


ii. Feelings and Systemic Valuation

…Systemic measurement is the abstract, formal kind of measurement used by the scientist, objective and detached.(36) Robert S. Hartman

[The three axiological] dimensions indicate, precisely, the distance of the valuer from the valued object. This distance gives us the feeling tone accompanying valuation. That we are most involved in intrinsic and least involved in systemic value means, precisely, that in intrinsic valuation the distance of the valuer from the valued object is closest, up to identification, while in systemic valuation it is farthest.(37) Robert S. Hartman

Affectively, systemic valuation is ideally devoid of all distorting feelings, emotions, pro or con attitudes, and desires. It is deliberate affective detachment or “objectivity” designed to achieve the scientific, philosophical, and intellectual goals of conceptual clarity and fair mindedness. It is not uninterestedness but disinterestedness, which is open and fair minded interestedness. It is the least involved kind of possible involvement. Being conscious of anything is involvement with it. Systemic involvement aspires to and approximates complete non-involvement, but it never goes quite that far. Total non-involvement means being altogether out of sight and out of mind. When applied to non-systemic entities, systemic valuation readily degenerates into aloofness, indifference, or hostility.


iii. Dynamic Systemic Valuation

There are even life situations where systemic valuation is necessary: all situations where no play is allowed and it is a matter of either being or not being. Thus, when meeting a deadline, when making a train, when stopping at a red light or before a railroad crossing — you either do or you don’t — and when you don’t you miss, and sometimes [lose] your life.(38) Robert S. Hartman

Dynamically, systemic valuation combines systemic entities with other objects. This can be done positively or compositionally to enhance value and negatively or transpositionally to diminish value. Positive systemic valuation is very important and useful. Systemic numbers and logic can be combined with extrinsic mechanical devices to make watches, clocks, airships, rockets, buildings, computers, and smart bombs. We can number our seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. As citizens, we have Social Security numbers; as depositors, we have bank numbers; as international travelers, we receive passport numbers. Athletes are identified with the numbers on their jerseys and receive high honors when those numbers are permanently retired.

Systemic values have many constructive uses. Without numbers, we could not get to church on time for weddings, our own or others’. Without numbered bracelets, a mother might take someone else’s baby home from the hospital. Without geometrical and numerical patterns, no one could construct basketball courts and baseball diamonds, or distinguish winners from losers. Numbers are essential for doing the work of architects, engineers, builders, and statisticians. Without moral rules, which are also systemic entities, we could not tell the difference between right and wrong. Without laws, we would be governed by brute force and transient whims. Systemic values, properly used, enrich the lives of everyone.

Systemic values can also be combined with other things to decrease value. Convicted lawbreakers wear numbered uniforms in prisons to degrade their worth. Students in large classes or huge universities frequently complain about being reduced to mere numbers. The Nazis numbered the Jews that they imprisoned and exterminated; they tattooed these numbers onto their bodies; they organized evil very methodically and systemically. Systemic ideologists who wish to ignore or devalue everything important about unique individual human subjects of experience, action, and valuation can employ numbers and formal patterns to reduce people to insignificant tokens in a system.


C. Intrinsic Valuation

Intrinsic valuation involves the valuer completely.(39) Robert S. Hartman

If identification is the ability to feel closer to one object in the environment than other, and to make the situation of the first to some extent one’s own, this is a very basic ability indeed. It makes it possible to reach out mentally to others, making them an extension of the self, paying close attention to their situation so as to influence it or gain information from it. Identification underlies both empathy and imitation.(40) Frans de Waal

Intrinsic valuation also has three aspects, conceptual, affective, and dynamic. It is both the most important and the most neglected form of valuation; and we can learn to increase our capacities for intrinsic valuation by understanding each of these.


i. Cognition and Intrinsic Valuation

The formal norm says that a person, like anything, ought to be good, that is to say, ought to fulfill his concept.(41) Robert S. Hartman

According to the axiom of formal axiology, we have seen, a thing has value in the degree that it fulfills the meaning, or intension, of its concept. Applied to the self-concept, “I”, this means that a person has value to himself in the degree that he fulfills the intension of his [or her] self-concept. This intension, however, may vary, depending on whether a person defines himself [or herself] systemically, extrinsically, or intrinsically.(42) Robert S. Hartman

…Identifying with and caring about another without losing one’s own identity is the crux of human sympathy. As we have seen, this requires certain cognitive abilities, the most important one being a well-developed sense of self and the ability to assume another individual’s perspective.(43) Frans de Waal

Cognitively, intrinsic valuation involves taking the fullest possible conceptual inventory of who we and others are as unique individual subjects and agents. Conceptually, intrinsic valuation focuses on uniqueness, wholeness, and enrichment. Unlike systemic valuation, which takes account of only a few features of what it values, intrinsic valuation aspires to consider everything about, and the wholeness of, what is valued. Unlike extrinsic valuation, which sees things only as repeatable members of useful classes, intrinsic valuation understands, appreciates, and identifies with entities just as they are in their full individuality, uniqueness, completeness, and concreteness.

Unique human beings, intrinsic values proper, are temporally ordered realities; and our full property inventory includes our future potentials as well as our determinate present and past attributes. Our future potentials count only as possible, not as actual, value properties; we will never actualize most of the futures that are logically possible for us. Intrinsically valuing ourselves as temporally ordered intrinsic values looks to the past, present, and future. It aspires to conceive of ways to enhance the intrinsic experience of entities that already have intrinsic worth with intrinsic enrichers like happiness, knowledge, love, virtue, constructive self-realization, and so on.

Cognitively, intrinsic valuation of intrinsic values concentrates initially on conscious subjects of experience, activity, and valuation — on entities that have proper names, as opposed to general or class names. We know already that general or class names like “track,” “swimming,” “running,” and “studying” have meanings that can be defined and explicated; but do we realize that proper names also have meanings? In a trivial sense, we know who we are; we know our own names! But do we really understand the full meaning of our proper names? Consider your own name carefully. What is the meaning of (your name)? If and only you have an exhaustive answer to that question do you know who you really are!

All of us have only an incomplete answer to the question of the full meaning of our proper names, the full meaning of our individual lives. For many reasons, we only know ourselves in part; we lack the full property inventory that an omniscient being would possess; and even omniscience cannot know as actual the possible future decisions that we have not yet made. Temporality is such an essential part of our existential reality that we cannot allow ourselves to be robbed of it by the classical belief that for God everything is finished and settled from eternity. Process theology is the only kind that will allow us to know ourselves as the genuinely unfinished entities that we really are. Perhaps we have never seriously tried to know ourselves, never asked “Who am I?” Memories fail; we forget who we have been; and we erect unconscious barriers to knowing who we are. Most importantly, we exist in time and are immersed in the process of creating who we will become out of who we have been. Value and valuational awareness as well as imagination often fail us, and we do not know who we wish to be. The full meaning of our proper name, our individual existence, is not available until we die! But much self-knowledge is accessible here and now, especially if we concentrate intensely on ourselves in our totality, uniqueness, and wholeness, and are committed to ongoing self-understanding and self-enrichment. We cannot measure ourselves or others unless we have adequate concepts of who we are and aspire to be.


ii. Feelings and Intrinsic Valuation

…Intrinsic value is the valuation of poets and artists, lovers and mystics, magicians and advertisers, chefs de cuisine and politicians, creative theologians and scientists. It is empathetic — and empathic — valuation.(44) Robert S. Hartman

Profound feelings belong within and are the core of intrinsic valuation. If our approach to self-knowledge and knowledge of others is merely cognitive, we have not yet arrived at full-scale intrinsic valuation. Systemic valuation approximates total non-involvement; intrinsic valuation is just the opposite. It is complete affective concentration on and attachment to what is being valued. At its best, intrinsic valuation goes so far beyond the “everyday interestedness” of extrinsic valuation that it is qualitatively distinct from it. It is maximal conscious personal identification and bonding with something; and it may take many forms like deeply felt sympathy, empathy, love, enjoyment, delight, appreciation, conscience, creativity, or mystical union. In the experience of intrinsic identification, the distinction between self and other, subject and object, melts away and becomes valuationally insignificant. This does not mean that independent realities just disappear or coalesce metaphysically; but psychologically, phenomenologically, and valuationally these differences no longer matter. For many people, this type of valuation is quite rare; but without it, human lives are greatly impoverished. Moments of intrinsic valuation are the “peak experiences”(45) of human existence.

Intrinsic valuation has its natural home in relating to intrinsic values, but anything can be valued intrinsically. We may identify ourselves fully with our jobs, cars, athletic teams, universities, home towns, nations, churches, religions, scriptures, moral ideals, and so on. With what do you fully identify yourself? Some people actually identify themselves with horrendous evils like mass genocide, ethnic cleansing, racial prejudice, or philosophical or religious dogmatism, intolerance, exclusivism, and persecution. The intrinsic valuation of evil, of disvalue, creates many of the horrors of human existence.


iii. Dynamics and Intrinsic Valuation

…The relationship between systemic, extrinsic and intrinsic value corresponds to a process of continuous enrichment with definite leaps from one value dimension to the next. Thus, if I buy a package of cigarettes from a saleslady, I am in a legal, a systemic relationship with her. If I take her out for dinner I am in an extrinsic relationship, and if I take her to church and marry her I am in an intrinsic relationship with her: my total being is joined with hers in a common intrinsic Gestalt. This Gestalt grew through successive enrichments, out of the first tenuous bond, the original sales contract.(46) Robert S. Hartman

Dynamically, intrinsic valuation is the process or activity by which intrinsic values or valuations are combined with other value objects. These value objects can be intrinsic, extrinsic, or systemic entities. Any value object can be evaluated in any dimension. For example, systemically, a house is merely an investment; extrinsically, it is just a shelter or dwelling; but intrinsically, a house is a home.

Intrinsic values can be combined with one another into a unified gestalt, as in marriage, family, and deep friendship at their best, all of which take considerable time and effort. In the most profound instances of such intrinsic relations, two or more persons axiologically become one. Distinctions between self and other cease to matter. The subject/object distinction is overcome valuationally. What happens to anyone happens to everyone; and what happens to everyone happens to oneself. If you have ever achieved this kind of union and identity with another person, even for a short period of time, you should consider yourself blessed.

Intrinsic values also can be combined with extrinsic values, as when we realize and fully appreciate the fact that we are embodied souls, or when creative artists or writers become one with their tools, instruments, artifacts, and performances, or when athletes pour their hearts, their total being, into their games. Intrinsic values can be fused dynamically with systemic values, as when we bet our souls on biblical inerrancy, or when we judge that our entire worth rests on passionately believing a handful of conceptually constructed and unverifiable philosophical or religious doctrines.

Consider what we say when we introduce ourselves to other people. We give our proper name and usually mention a very small number of our extrinsic social roles like the job we hold, our marital status, our home town, the game and position we play, and so on. Most people are better developed extrinsically than in other ways. In introducing ourselves, we almost never mention our systemic or intrinsic capacities and attributes! Do we at times think of ourselves (or others) as being only extrinsic selves, only exteriors without interiors? Sharing information about our systemic traits usually takes place in educational or occupational contexts; and disclosing the intrinsic inner self is usually reserved for intimate interpersonal relations. Our self-esteem depends largely on the richness of the ways that we think about ourselves. At times our self-esteem may be very low because we have an inordinately low opinion of ourselves, because we keep running excessively limited or distorted scripts of self-knowledge through our consciousness.


4. Systemic, Extrinsic, and Intrinsic Dimensions of Self(47)

Man is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self…; the self is not the relation but [consists in the fact] that the relation relates itself to its own self.(48) Søren Kierkegaard

…Our inner or moral Self, our outer or social self, and our systemic, or thinking self, comprise our total value pattern, our Personality.(49) Robert S. Hartman

Complete self-knowledge involves understanding all dimensions of ourselves, our systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic personalities. We are not pure and immaterial consciousnesses. We are unique, embodied, conscious subjects who think, feel, choose, and act in a common world of spacetime shared by others. Much of what we are and can be resides in the unconscious storehouses of our brains. In extrinsic physiological terms, the contrasts between our systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic selves are probably just differences between which parts of our brains are working and which not, and whether they are working in harmony or at odds with one another. The same is true of the distinctions between worldliness, ideology, and saintliness. The trick to becoming a holistic saint is to get all parts of the brain to working harmoniously, especially prefrontal area of the cerebral cortex where conscience seems to be embodied.(50) You will understand holistic saintliness better by and by, but non-saints just aren’t using their brains!

As Warren S. Brown indicates, both self-knowledge and conscience, a sense of moral right and wrong, involve and presupposes the development and activation of capacities residing in identifiable localized parts of our brains; also localized in general brain regions are our capacities for language, perceptual recognition, emotional responsiveness to things present and imagined, long-term memory — especially episodic memory of the events of our own lives that largely constitute of our sense of self-identity over time and autobiography, and for long-range foresight and planning.(51) Brain diseased or damaged persons lack some or all of these capacities, depending on the locus and extent of the injury or lesion. Many of the brain regions of worldlings are conspicuously underdeveloped and underutilized! With today’s marvelous brain-scan technology, we can actually see which parts of the brain are active and which are not when various psychological experiences, activities, and processes transpire. We can see where and when various parts of the brain are unused or impaired. We can predict that worldlings and ideologists regularly use only parts of their brains, and that saints have and use it all. Only saints play the game of life with a full deck!


A. The Systemic Self

Systemic value applied to individual persons shows the individual as a system…(52) Robert S. Hartman

Our systemic self is our most abstract conceptual self. It consists of our actual and potential:

a. knowledge and application of mathematics, logic, computer programs, rules, regulations, laws, symbols, the formal aspects of music and the arts, and the formal aspects of the sciences, including the natural sciences and value science or axiology;

b. knowledge of and obedience or conformity to ideal constructs such as rituals, institutional regulations, laws, moral rules, and social action-guiding principles;

c. offices, memberships, and positions in institutions and organizations;

d. non-empirical, formal, theoretical, philosophical and religious concepts, beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, ideologies;

e. capacity for systemic valuation, for measuring things objectively with constructed concepts, for using “all or nothing” logic, for reducing things to minimal essentials, and for combining systemic with other values.


B. The Extrinsic Self

The application of extrinsic value to individual persons shows each person as a class of functions.(53) Robert S. Hartman

Our extrinsic self is our public and practical self, our actual or potential:


a. perceptions or sensations of, and relations with, perceptual objects — including our own possessions, our immediate physical environment, the world of nature, our own bodies, and the bodies of other living things;

b. mastery of facts, including knowing and using means/ends, cause/effect relations;

c. bodily structures, functions, and behaviors;

d. physical skills, talents, abilities, habits, hobbies, discipline;

e. social skills, talents, abilities, habits, discipline — our abilities to relate to others;

f. knowledge of and conformity to the ideal demands or expectations of others such as parents, peers, and society;

g. knowledge of and conformity to manners, customs, conventions, dress codes, and social morality;

h. social roles such as student, teacher, rabbi, athlete, coach, parent, child, sibling, spouse, citizen, alien, high caste, outcast, employer, employee, producer, consumer, leader, follower, ruler, ruled, etc.

i. social status, rank, reputation, role; position in social hierarchies;

j. management of practical affairs, career, work, ambitions, business, property or possessions, meeting physical needs, health habits, amusements, hobbies, athletics, and so on;

k. competitiveness with others;

l. comparisons between ourselves and others;

m. proneness to accidents, to good or bad luck;

n. analytic, empirical, factual, and social concepts and beliefs;

o. immersion in and absorption by the present moment; short range foresight.

p. capacity for extrinsic valuation, for measuring practically by empirical class concepts and standards, for manifesting ordinary human desires, emotions, interests, and for combining extrinsic with other values.


C. The Intrinsic Inner Self

…Intrinsic value applied to individual persons shows the uniqueness of each person and its fulfilling or failing to fulfill its own self.(54) Robert S. Hartman

…This is the important thing; you cannot fully be systemic or extrinsic unless you are fully intrinsic. In other words, the moral man will also be a better accountant, pilot, or surgeon. The value dimensions are within each other. The human contains the social, and the social the systematic. The lower value is within the higher. The systemic is within the extrinsic, and the extrinsic within the intrinsic. The more fully you are yourself, the better you will be at your job, and in your social role, and in your thinking. Out of your intrinsic being you summon the resources to be anything you want to be. Thus, the intrinsic, the development of your inner self, is not a luxury. It is a necessity for your own being yourself in all three dimensions.(55) Robert S. Hartman

Our intrinsic self is our total self with all its properties. As such it is our richest self because it includes our systemic and extrinsic selves, but to these it adds the inner or primordial self. Systemic and extrinsic self-development are immensely enhanced by intrinsic self-development.

Our inner or primordial self consists of our actual or potential:

a. experiential self-awareness, paying attention to our internal psychological states, processes, activities, and experiences;

b. awareness and appreciation of ourselves and others as unique centers of conscious activity, experience, and valuation;

c. capacities for attention, concentration, choice or decision, self-control, effort-making, free will, autonomy;

d. emotions, feelings, desires, interests, the most intense and focused of which belong to intrinsic valuation;

e. enjoyments, pleasures, delights, joys, happiness;

f. empathetic identification with and compassion for self and others;

g. imagination and creativity — in any field of human endeavor;

h. religious experience and devotion;

i. conscience, the ideal demands or expectations that we place upon ourselves and others, including our deepest moral sense of right and wrong, virtue and vice, good and evil;

j. authenticity, being true to ourselves;

k. moral virtues like honesty, sincerity, truthfulness, courage, integrity, temperance, fidelity, gratitude, justice, wisdom, benevolence, harm-avoidance, harm-prevention, and so on;

l. self-acceptance, self-respect, self-esteem, self-love, and delight in our own existence;

m. acceptance of and respect, esteem, and love for others, delight in their existence and well being, and identification with them;

n. aesthetic sensitivities and creativity;

o. faith (in Kierkegaard’s sense of knowing and accepting ourselves as unique individuals living out our lives before God);

p. deepest hopes for ourselves and others, our long and short range objectives and plans of life;

q. cooperation and intrinsic unity with others;

r. singular and metaphorical concepts and beliefs, including our concepts of ourselves and others as unique individuals;

s. the capacity for intrinsic valuation, for the foregoing forms of self and other understanding, identification, and measurement; and the capacity for combining intrinsic realities with other value objects.

The self has been portrayed positively in all of the above. Yet, our neglect and perversion of all of the above dimensions and elements also belong to the intrinsic self. Religion says that we should not be satisfied with this dark side of self, a complication to be explored in some depth in the next chapter.

Now, all we have to do to know ourselves is work through the details of this outline of the dimensions of selfhood, improve it where it is deficient, and apply each item to ourselves in depth!

Once we gain self-knowledge, what do we do with it? Robert S. Hartman gave this excellent advice:

Thus, Self-development is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our being truly ourselves on all three levels…But how?…

First of all, I would say, you have to achieve clarity about yourself. Philosophers have tried to show you how to do it, from Socrates to Kierkegaard. What they have said can be synthesized into what I call the four Self rules.

The first is Socrates’: know thyself. You…have to find out what kind of person you are, what kind of properties you have, what kind of material has been given to you to live with.

The second is Kierkegaard’s: choose thyself. This means that once you have found out what kind of person you are, you have to accept yourself and make the best of it because this is all you have. You have to choose yourself; you are your own material. This is the material you have to develop to infinity, and there is absolutely no limit, from the bottom at which you start, to the height to which you can go. Jesus said to the thief who repented: “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” Mary Magdalene was a prostitute and became a saint: Matthew was a tax collector, which at that time meant a robber and collaborator with the Romans, and he became a writer of the Gospel. There is no limit to the lowness at which you may start. But no matter how despicable you may be to yourself, you must choose yourself, accept yourself as the one you are…

The third rule is Pico della Mirandola’s and also Kierkegaard’s: create thyself. Make yourself into the very best person you can. You are your own creation. It’s never too late, but start as early as you can, and never stop. There is more joy in heaven for one sinner who repents than for ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

The fourth is Jesus’: give thyself. This means forget all limitations, be generous with your own Self. Give your Self to your fellow man and to the world. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Throw your bread upon the water. Lack of love is the cause of our trouble. If everyone would love himself and his neighbor, fear of war and violence would fade away. This is the Gospel truth, expressed both by Jesus and the Prophets, both in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18) and the New (Matthew 22:37-40).(56)



5. Knowing and Valuing Our Uniqueness


Nobody can be exactly like me, and sometimes even I have trouble doing it.(57) Tallulah Bankhead

The key to the kingdom [of God] is in the hands of everyone of us: it is love of our own Selves — or, in order to exclude misunderstanding as if self-love were the same as selfishness — it is liking our Selves. Unless you like yourself you cannot like anybody else. Unless you feel that you are of importance nothing can be of importance to you. You must feel that you are important. You must take yourself seriously. If you take yourself as an accident that just as well might not have happened, if you dislike your own self, then you are lost. You are a loss to the universe. You cannot enrich the world of God. God has created you for the enrichment of His world. If you yourself feel unworthy of yourself, then, of course, you cannot fulfill the mission that you are given by your birth. You must make yourself worthy of yourself in order to be worthy of God and worthy of your fellowman.(58) Robert S. Hartman

Do we know and value ourselves and others as unique centers or subjects of conscious experience, activity, and valuation? We may think that we should love our neighbors as ourselves; but how do we, how should we, love ourselves? What about ourselves do we, should we, love? Unless we love ourselves, we cannot love others, including God, for we will not regard and respect ourselves and what we have to offer to others as valuable gifts worth giving.

Immanuel Kant said that we should respect humanity within ourselves as an end in itself; but this is only a small part of the story. Humanity is something that we have in common with other people. If we value only our common humanity, we still do not value our unique individuality. When Kant explained what he meant by valuing humanity — respecting persons — it turns out that he had in mind valuing only the moral law within us(59) — something purely systemic — which falls very far short of both our common humanity and our distinctive individuality. Valuing rationality, self-consciousness, activity, experience, or valuation in general is not the same as valuing unique self-conscious centers of such properties.

Think of some things that you have in common with all other people. Humanity, whatever that is, is indeed an important part of who you are, but not the whole of it. Now try to think of some things that are true of yourself as an individual but not true of anyone else in the universe. If nothing else, consider that no one else has ever had exactly your spacetime locus or your perspective on the universe; no one else has ever made your decisions or manifested your creativity; no one else reiterates exactly your unique integration and totality of properties — your total property inventory; no one else can enrich the universe in your own distinctive way; no one else could take your place as an intrinsic value.

Our uniqueness consists in the total set of properties and relations that we are, including the ways our attributes are arranged or ordered. This includes our common morality, rationality, affections, and humanity. It also consists of properties and relations that belong to each of us alone. If we value ourselves and if others value us only for characteristics shared by others, we are in principle expendable and replaceable by others.

All of our systemic and extrinsic properties are repeatable; and if these alone have value, we can be replaced without loss of value by others who exemplify these properties. Someone else can wear the numbers on our jerseys, work at our jobs, and be paid by the hour. If we are a quarterback, a center, or a second baseman, other players can replace us as long as we are valued merely as extrinsic means to winning games. If we are teachers, coaches, students, engineers, or salespersons, others can replace us in those roles without loss of value as long as we are valued only because of functional class properties that we share with others.

Even if we are a friend, a husband, a wife, or a child, other people in our lives can make new friends, wed again if we divorce or die, and have additional children; but can our replacements really take our place in truly intimate human relationships? Not if others know and love us as unique human beings. When Thomas Jefferson followed Benjamin Franklin as American Ambassador to France, he was asked if he was Franklin’s replacement. He replied: “No one can replace him, sir; I am only his successor.”(60) So it is with all of us! If we die prematurely, our successors will also be unique persons; but, once lost, our own unique individuality and that of other people can never be replaced intrinsically. A new intrinsic relationship is never a replacement relationship. Even with new intrinsic gains, lost individuals are still lost; and people with capacities for intrinsic valuation are acutely sensitive to this loss. To think that one person could ever replace another in an intrinsic relationship is to fail to understand the concept of uniqueness and to appreciate its value.


6. Knowing Our Limitations

…The Middle Ages were not what the romantic imagination paints, but instead a rugged age much more insensitive than ours today. Tortures, burnings, hangings were public spectacles, their thrill was like today’s bullfights or prizefights. The ladies of high society went to the place of execution the night before and slept in their coaches in order not to miss the entertainment…Today’s moral reality is still philosophical; it is not fundamentally different from that of antiquity or the Middle Ages. We have the same fundamental values and disvalues, even though we practice them with greater refinement, including torture.(61) Robert S. Hartman

As we gradually discover ourselves by discerning our values and valuational capacities, we will probably realize that axiologically we are like many other people who we do not admire. Our values and valuations are very crude in many ways; we are much more developed in some value dimensions than in others; we have natural bents or talents for some but not others; we put much time and effort into knowing and developing some of our valuational capacities but neglect or misuse others; we knowingly or unknowing impose undesirable limits on ourselves; we faintheartedly allow other people to limit us unduly and treat us disrespectfully; we are afflicted by weakness of will; and we do not live up to our full potentials as unique and exceedingly complex human beings. We often do that which we ought not do, and we do not do that which we ought to do. This darker side of self-knowledge will be explored in depth in the next chapter.

We can actually use a personality analysis instrument, the HVP, or Hartman Value Profile, that can pinpoint our distinctive axiological strengths and weaknesses with some exactitude. It can help us to know our weaknesses and to develop plans for personal growth — for better knowing, appreciating, and developing our own reality, and for expanding the scope of our interests, concerns, efforts, values, and valuations — thereby enriching our lives.

What are the present limits of your own capacities for systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic values and valuations? Concentrate for a moment on the intrinsic. The capacity for intrinsic valuation can be distorted or warped. Some people narrowly identify themselves with, and only with, their wealth, success, job, game, or team, and will allow themselves to have no other identity. Do you do this? Some people live constantly for only one small thing, an extrinsic thing like popularity, or an systemic thing like dogma. The theologian Paul Tillich defined “religion” as “being grasped by an ultimate concern.” Some people make a religion, the whole meaning of life, out of extrinsic entities like wealth, success, and football, or out of systemic ideologies that command their total loyalty. They love these things with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. They become one with them and refuse to have any other values or self-identity. Are you like this? When this happens, is anything important omitted? If so, what? What is missing from your own life?

By severely limiting our loves, we can impoverish ourselves and others immensely. Most of us truly love only a few people, as Jonathan Edwards realized. Moral and spiritual growth involves both expanding our capacities for valuation, especially intrinsic valuation, and overcoming the provinciality of our appreciation for intrinsically valuable others.

We can begin right where we are to become what we ideally ought to be, which presumably is what our deepest self wants to be. But what ought we to be? This is where conscience comes in, our inner capacities to give the “law” or normative ideals to ourselves, and to affirm for ourselves many ideals that originated with others but which nevertheless ring true for us after serious consideration. To be true to ourselves, we must know ourselves, especially the limits set by the depths of our own inner reality so that we can intelligently and responsibly choose what to do and who to become.

Along the path of ethico-religious growth and development, the first and the last steps to be taken are those of self knowledge; but the first self that we come to know is usually not exactly the same as the last. The first self is where we are now; the last self is what we will become along life’s way. The first self is the actual but incomplete and unfinished self of the present moment, which includes all the past moments of our lives. This actual or given self is largely created for us by our inherited biological structures and dispositions, by the influences of family, friends, peers, teachers, and others who have touched our lives, and by our own past experiences, adventures, and choices. Most of us do not know who we are. We do not know our given self, but it cannot be escaped. It must be discovered, accepted, forgiven, and transformed. Our future, final, and finished self will develop from this base. It will develop either haphazardly, as is usually the case; or it will develop knowingly, deliberately, and by choice. It will either continue to develop out of control, or it will develop under our knowledge and control; but it will develop. The self we are must be found; the self we will be, the self we ought to be, must be chosen and created. Immediate self-awareness, rational reflection, responsible decision-making, the perspectives of others, good fortune, and divine grace may each contribute to the final outcome.

Our lives are temporally ordered. Our future selves exists largely as values, ideas, ideals, and possibilities to be actualized through the decisions that we make. We are largely responsible for what we make of our existence. Our past and present selves comprise what we are now; our present and future choices will determine what we can and will become before we die. What we are places broad but not minuscule restraints upon what we can become; it also discloses immense horizons for self-becoming and self-creation. Knowing ourselves involves creating ourselves, at least in part. Self-knowledge tells us that we are not finished products. No matter what we have been and now are, the most important question for us at this moment is: What will we become? This question will confront us time and again in the days ahead — every time we face an intellectual challenge, a practical impasse, a personal tragedy, a moral temptation or predicament, a spiritual crisis, an intrinsic choice.



1. 1. This essay is an easy to understand application of ideas about values and valuations developed by Robert S. Hartman, his followers, and his interpreters. For a more formal, scholarly, and philosophical presentation, see Rem B. Edwards and John W. Davis, eds., Forms of Value and Valuation: Theory and Applications (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991).

2. 2. Plato, “Alcibiades I,” The Works of Plato, ed. Benjamin Jowett (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1892), Vol. 2, pp. 763-764.

3. 3. Robert S. Hartman, The Structure of Value (Carbondale and Evansville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967), p. 154.

4. 4. Robert S. Hartman, The Hartman Value Profile (HVP) Manual of Interpretation (Muskegon, Mich.: Research Concepts, 1973), p. 28.

5. 5. Ibid., 113.

6. 6. Robert S. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” Forms of Value and Valuation: Theory and Applications, Rem B. Edwards and John W. Davis, eds. (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991), p. 26.

7. 7. William James, Essays in Pragmatism (New York: Hafner Publishing Co., 1954), pp. 7-8.

8. 8. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” p. 14.

9. 9. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 330, n. 29.

10. 10. Ibid., p. 112.

11. 11. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” p. 25.

12. 12. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 195.

13. 13. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” pp. 25-26.

14. 14. For more on ethics and animals, listen to the two audio cassette tapes authored by Rem B. Edwards, read by Robert Guillaume, Animals and Ethics (Nashville, Tenn.: Knowledge Products, 1995).

15. 15. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 114.

16. 16. Ibid., p. 267.

17. 17. Leon Pomeroy and Arthur R. Ellis, “Psychology and Value Theory,” Forms of Value and Valuation: Theory and Applications, Rem B. Edwards and John W. Davis, eds. (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991), pp. 298, 315-318, 325, 326.

18. 18. Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1959), p. 53.

19. 19. Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York: The Free Press, 1967), p. 198.

20. 20. Alfred North Whitehead, Modes of Thought (New York: The Free Press, 1968), p. 114.

21. 21. For an attempted proof see: Robert S. Hartman, “Four Axiological Proofs of the Infinite Value of Man,” Kant-Studien 55 (1964), pp. 194-198. For a critique see: Rem B. Edwards, “The Value of Man in the Hartman Value System,” The Journal of Value Inquiry 7 (1973), pp. 141-147.

22. 22. Non-reductive physicalism is explained, developed, and effectively related to morality and religion by the contributors to Warren S. Brown, Nancey Murphey, and H. Newton Maloney, eds., Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998).

23. 23. For those interested in justifying the hierarchy of value, more philosophical arguments are given in Rem B. Edwards, “Universals, Individuals, and Intrinsic Goods,” Forms of Value and Valuation: Theory and Applications, Rem B. Edwards and John W. Davis, eds. (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991), pp. 81-104.

24. 24. Hartman, The Structure of Value., p. 129.

25. 25. Ibid., p. 113.

26. 26. Ibid., p. 194.

27. 27. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation” pp. 27-28.

28. 28. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 109.

29. 29. Ibid., pp. 195-197.

30. 30. Ibid., pp. 160, 209-212.

31. 31. John W. Davis, “Extrinsic Value and Valuation,” Forms of Value and Valuation: Theory and Applications, Rem B. Edwards and John W. Davis, eds. (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991), p. 72.

32. 32. Robert S. Hartman, “Reply to Robert W. Mueller, 1969,” in Rem B. Edwards, ed., Formal Axiology and Its Critics (Amsterdam – Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1995), p. 87.

33. 33. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 268.

34. 34. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” p. 18.

35. 35. Ibid., p. 20.

36. 36. Hartman, The Structure of Value, pp. 250-251.

37. 37. Hartman, The Hartman Value Profile (HVP) Manual of Interpretation, p. 237.

38. 38. Robert S. Hartman, “The Nature of Valuation,” p. 33.

39. 39. Robert S. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 260.

40. 40. Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), pp. 71-72.

41. 41. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 293.

42. 42. Hartman, The Hartman Value Profile (HVP) Manual of Interpretation, p. 234.

43. 43. de Waal, p. 82.

44. 44. Hartman, The Structure of Value, pp. 113-114.

45. 45. For Maslow’s discussions of “peak experiences” see: Abraham Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences (Columbus, Oh.: Ohio State University Press, 1970; Abraham Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (New York: The Viking Press, 1971), pp. 168-179; 343-350.

46. 46. Hartman, The Structure of Value, pp. 223-224. This example is fleshed out in much more detail in Robert S. Hartman, Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story (Amsterdam – Atlanta: Editions Rodopi, 1994), pp. 85-86.

47. 47. The outline of dimensions of self given here is adapted from Edwards, “Universals, Individuals, and Intrinsic Good,” pp. 89-91.

48. 48. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death (Princeton: Princeton Universtiy Press, 1954), p. 146.

49. 49. Hartman, Freedom to Live: the Robert Hartman Story, p. 61.

50. 50. de Waal, pp. 116-218. See also: Warren S. Brown, “Cognitive Contributions to Soul,” in Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature, eds. Warren S. Brown, Nancey Murphey, and H. Newton Malone (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998), pp. 120-123.

51. 51. Brown, pp. 99-125.

52. 52. Robert S. Hartman, The Structure of Value, p. 309.

53. 53. Ibid., p. 307.

54. 54. Ibid., p. 308.

55. 55. Robert S. Hartman, The Individual in Management (Unpublished manuscript, 1962), p. 31).

56. 56. Hartman, Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story, pp. 111-112.

57. 57. Words of Women — online

58. 58. Robert S. Hartman, The Individual in Management, p. 68.

59. 59. Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals (New York: Liberal Arts Press, 1949), p. 19, n. 3.

60. 60. Bernard Mayo, Jefferson Himself (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1942), p. 115.

61. 61. Hartman, The Structure of Value, pp. 67, 68.

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