The Personalist Project

Comments (3)

Jules van Schaijik

#1, Feb 17, 2012 7:22am

I can see a few reasons but none of them are critical. Von Hildebrand's language to describe the three categories is certainly cumbersome and unusual. I have tried to use the term good instead of importance: subjective good, benefical good, and intrinsic good. But some philosophical precision is thereby lost. (And I don't just mean technical precision, but the sort of precision that is necessary to capture important truths and that sheds light on many areas of philosophy: ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of the person, love, God, evil, freedom, psychology, community, etc.)

The main reason I see against using "value" to cover all three catergories of importance is that it is such a fitting word for the intrinsic good, one that is not easily replaced. It has often been used in this way by great english writers (I'll give some examples in the next comment). And there are still plenty of traces of this nobler meaning in our current use of the term.  E.g. we like ice-cream, but we value our friends. So I guess I would want to recover the older, nobler meaning of the word, rather than giving up on it.

Jules van Schaijik

#2, Feb 17, 2012 7:42am

Some examples of writers who use value in exactly the same sense as von Hildebrand (taken from a footnote in Crosby's Selfhood):

Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida:

But value dwells not in particular will;
It holds his estimate and dignity
As wherein 'tis precious of itself
As in the prizer.

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan:

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

C.S. Lewis uses the term in this sense too, when, in The Abolition of Man, he defends the traditional "doctrine of objective value" against the emotivism of the "The Green Book".

Rhett Segall

#3, Feb 17, 2012 9:06am

Thank you Jules. Your clarifications and examples are very helpful.

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