Praxeology - Episode 7 - Scale of Values

Author: Praxgirl. Link to original: (English).
Tags: praxeology, praxgirl Submitted by praxgirl 10.08.2011. Public material.

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Праксиология Эпизод 7 — Шкала ценности. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by IrinaChernykh 10.06.2015
into Spanish: Praxeología - Episodio 7 - Escala de Valores. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by inmanez 24.01.2012 Published 6 years, 5 months ago.
into French: Praxéologie - Episode 7 - L'échelle de valeurs. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by briquolo 07.09.2011
into Dutch: Praxeologie - Aflevering 7 - Waardenschaal. Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by chamullero 25.08.2011

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Hi guys, Praxgirl here.

In our last lesson, I defined Praxeology’s use of the terms Ends and Means. I showed that a thing only become a Means when a purposeful actor has employed it to achieve some End. And I showed that Ends are the desired states a man acts to achieve to remove some uneasiness.

In this lesson, I’d like to discuss another important categorization implied in the concept of action that we will now refer to as an acting man’s Scale of Values.

We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on showing that action involves choosing between different alternatives, and that action itself is the demonstrated preference of the actor’s weighing between these alternatives.

The fact that action is a choice implies that valuation occurs when acting and that we can build a scale for reference to an actor’s values.

For example:

Suppose that Sam wakes up one morning and is faced with the choice of either going to the Superbowl or seeing his favorite band in concert. Both events will be happening at the same time in different locations. Sam can’t be in two places at the same time, but he wishes he could attend both.

The way Praxeology logically determines what Sam actually valued is by his action. If Sam ends up going to the Superbowl, then we must say that Sam preferred going to the Superbowl over going to the concert. If he ended up going to the concert, then we must say that he preferred going to the concert over going to the Superbowl.

Every action is in perfect agreement with a man’s Scale of Values, because the scale itself is only a tool for logically interpreting a man’s action.

Man satisfies his most urgent wants and leaves his less urgent want unsatisfied. There is no way of actually determining a conscious actor’s value without action.

Let’s go back to our example with Sam and suppose that his favorite band actually happens to be U2, and they’re playing live at the Superbowl half time. Sam can now attend both events. Does he value U2 or the Superbowl more? Can we say that Sam values both the Superbowl and U2 the same?

The problem we face is that we can no longer separate the U2 concert from The Superbowl. If Sam chooses going to the Superbowl stadium, he is not choosing between the concert and the Superbowl. Since no action is performed, no choice is demonstrated. There is no logical way of separating his value of one thing over the other.

Action is the real agency that enables us to establish what a person finds more important, what he values. Value is not intrinsic. It is not “in things”. Value is within us and shown in the way we react to the conditions of our environment.

A man may say he values one thing over another day in and day out, but only one thing actually counts towards real changes in our universe: Action.

I’ll see you guys in the next lesson.