Define Values in Ethics

Define Values

Values are the belief of a person or a social group in which they have some emotional investment. Values can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action/outcomes values.

Values are abstract ideals positive/negative not tied to any specific object or situation and representing the person’s belief about the modes of conduct.

Values are global, abstract in nature, are broad preferences, serve as internal guides, have an evaluative component that can be held by the individual or group are strongly entrenched in our personality, and by applying our values as Benchmarks, we can make subjective judgments about the things that we encounter in the world around us.

Values are different from norms i.e. they are more global and abstract. Norms are the rules of behavior for specific conditions or situations. Any deviations from norms invite severe punishments. For example: flying our national flag on Republic day is the norm and it underlines and reflects the values of Patriotism.

Values in conflict with Ethics results in:

  1. Error of judgement
  2. wrong moral principles
  3. results in hypocritic behavior – organizations that preach gender quality may not provide work parity.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value

Some experts classify values into intrinsic versus instrumental categories.

  • Intrinsic value implies something that is valued purely for itself generally. Physiologically determined values can be considered to be intrinsic values. For example, our tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
  • Instrumental value implies, something is valued because it is a means to achieve some other end which in turn is more important. Instrumental value play important role in a teleological moral system which are the theories of morality that emphasize moral choices as those which lead to best possible consequences.

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