The philosophical axiology is the general doctrine of the values. As a philosophical area, it was created only in the 19th century. Representatives of axiology – eg. As Oskar Kraus – find their question already in the goods ethics of the Greek philosophers, although one of the most influential representatives of the philosophy of value, Max Scheler, his theory has developed in opposition to the goods ethics. As the founder of the philosophy of value u. a. Hermann Lotze, In general usage, the concept of value has been invaded by the widespread effect of intensive discussions around the turn of the twentieth century and by the reception of Friedrich Nietzsche’s works, in which the term often occurs. The term “axiology” goes back to Eduard von Hartmann, who first used the term in 1887 in his Philosophy of the Beautiful.

Axiology studies mainly two kinds of values: ethics and aesthetics. Ethics investigates the concepts of “right” and “good” in individual and social conduct. Aesthetics studies the concepts of “beauty” and “harmony.” Formal axiology, the attempt to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor, is exemplified by Robert S. Hartman’s science of value.

The explicit reflection about values, however, predates the notion of axiology and can be traced back to Hume, who is mainly concerned with moral and aesthetic values and elaborates an anti-metaphysical and nominalist theory of values. However, David Hume’s theory defines values as principles of moral and aesthetic judgments, a view that will be criticized by Friedrich Nietzsche and his genealogical conception of values, according to which not only aesthetic and moral judgments depend on values, but that even scientific truths and everyday observations respond to certain values and ways of valuing (Voluntarist irrationalism, close to Arthur Schopenhauer, and contrary to the Enlightenment promoted byImmanuel Kant).

Before them, in order of importance would be the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, who would place the possibility of an Ethics in the foundation of the Subject and of the Substantial Reason (and not in the mere instrumental rationality of the calculation in the style of Bentham’s Utilitarianism). For Kant there can only be ethics if there is Freedom, a condition of the necessary Autonomy, in front of the imposed Heteronomy.

Thus for Kant, against the conservative Hume, the World of Necessity is the World of Physics, that is, the World of Newton’s Mechanics(Kant was a physicist rather than a professor of philosophy). Kant, a critical reader of Hume, rescues Newton’s Physics, but elaborates a Subject Theory as the Ultimate Foundation of his philosophical system (“Gründ”, in German), an idea developed later by G. Fichte and later by GFW Hegel. For the purposes of an Ethics, it is not his beloved Newton’s Physics that Kant needs here, but the Regulatory Ideas of a Reason (Substantial), which uses the Understanding (categories of instrumental reason to build scientific knowledge) and Sensibility (the empirical, the sensitive experience). Thus Kant reconciles the scientific and philosophical reason with the possibility of practical emancipation (politics and ethics). The great values in Kant, will no longer be fossilized in the old metaphysics, of religious inspiration,

On the other hand and from a different discursive matrix, Marx from Critique to Political Economy develops a critique of value, which goes beyond criticism to the usual mystification between use value and exchange value. Marx thus develops a critique of the economic concept of value to largely support his critiques and socio-economic analysis. Certainly the price is not the value, but the reading of this social criticism is not religious or moralistic, nor metaphysical, but with scientific-social pretensions. Of course, the Marxist critique, although it is based on philosophical elements, goes beyond them, because it is located from the socio-historical elements that allow it. Marx and then Marxism (in their different discursive developments), propose (n) a Theory and a Praxis, that part of his Theory of History (usually known as Historical Materialism, in its different variants), as well as from his sociological conception that starts from a modern Theory of the “class struggle”, to explain the different hegemonies and forms of domination, in the different concrete historical formations and in the most general Production Modes. (For example: the Slave Production Mode, the Feudal Production Mode, the Asian Production Mode, the Despotic-Tax Production Mode, the Capitalist Production Mode, the Bureaucratic Mode, the Socialist Production Mode, etc. The fundamental discursive contribution of Marx was his criticism of the modern alienation of the great majorities of the world population under the capitalist world-system, thus raises the “fetishism of merchandise”,

Before and since there was a human economic surplus, there are mercantile relations. But it is with Capitalism as a hegemonic mode of production, and above all with Industrial Capitalism, and certainly with current Financial Capitalism, that human relations in a generalized way are conditioned by the commodity-form. This means that the vast majority of current social values have a mercantilist origin. Thus, the human being, whose work is the social origin of all wealth, splits from this genealogy, from this social genesis, and ends up being worth less, than its production, which is the commodity. These collective cultural operations are sometimes done very subtly and taking advantage of collective unconscious elements (review Freud and the contributions of Psychoanalysis here), because the human being is doomed to the reproduction of his immediate life, through his alienated work, therefore, he can not know the structural origin of his collective alienation. Thus, the solution would not only be ethical and discursive, but theoretical and political practice, so that it can transform its current alienated social condition.)

Historically, the philosophy of value dates back to the adoption of the value concept of the national economy; in Immanuel Kant, for example, the talk of the “absolute value” of good will represents such a metaphorical adoption of the concept of economic value. The value concept already plays a significant role in the ethics of Jakob Friedrich Fries, but Lotze was the point of reference of later value philosophies, Since the 1890s, the concept of value by the direct Lotze reception of George Santayana and others in the United States is common and played a major role in the late-moral writing of John Dewey, so for the expressionvalue in English-speaking countries gave the same everyday-language uses as in German-speaking areas.

Lotze took an objective philosophy of values and attributed values to a mode of their own: the “validity”. Subjective value theories, on the other hand, proceed from the value judgment as the basis of the value: the judgmental man establishes a relationship between his scale and an object, which represents the value of the thing.

If the measure of value is based on a feeling of pleasure through the satisfaction of needs, then a psychological value theory arises. If values are granted only relative importance and validity, this leads to value relativism as a special form of relativism.

The most prominent value theories of the 19th and 20th centuries were:

the neo-Kantianism of the Badische Schule by Heinrich Rickert and Wilhelm Windelband, who attribute to the values a transcendent status and to attribute to them the mode of validation, which is to be distinguished from the mode of (empirical) being. The values form their own realm and have absolute validity, exist but not in the mode of being.
the philosophy of life of Friedrich Nietzsche, which defines the Weltanschauung as the result of esteem as “physiological demands for the preservation of a certain kind of life” and values. This appreciation is expressed in the will to power. Therefore he demands a revaluation of all values.
the Austrian philosophy of value by Franz Brentano and his students Christian von Ehrenfels, Edmund Husserl and Alexius Meinong
the neovitalism of Eduard von Hartmann
the British intuitionism of George Edward Moore, Hastings Rashdall (1858-1924) and William David Ross
the pragmatism of William James, John Dewey and Clarence Irving Lewis
the Wertphilosophie of value phenomenology of Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann, which follows the early phenomenology of Husserl. Scheler invokes the sense of value: this manifests itself in the intuitive loving (as an expression of the valuable) or hate (as an expression of the illicit) of a thing, before its meaning was rationalized. The values themselves form an empire of material qualities (Scheler), which is independent of being.
as well as the neurealism of Ralph Barton Perry (1876-1957).
Windelband explained the philosophy of value to the critical science of common values. In that, she differs from the exact sciences, which explore and systematize natural laws and special phenomena. The philosophy of value forms the true center of philosophy.

The mathematically exact science of value stood at the center of the work of Robert S. Hartman. Through the axiom of the science of values, which he developed, it was possible to build up an exact science of values independently of different ethical moral values.

The theory of value as a comprehensive philosophical approach, as it was trained by Lotze, Hartmann and the southwest German neo-Kantianism, u. a. sharply criticized by Martin Heidegger. It is no longer represented today as a philosophical theory, although it still has adherents in jurisprudence (such as in the influential school of Rudolf Smend) and even the analysis of the value judgment is quite a special topic of analytical philosophy. Some representatives of the philosophy of value was the value philosophy of the 19th and early 20th century, however, as the foundation of the other philosophical disciplines, as they laid claim as the basis for other areas such as logic,Ethics, epistemology, philosophy of law, philosophy of culture, philosophy of religion, social philosophy, political philosophy, economics and aesthetics to serve.

The formal axiology
One of the areas in which research continues the most is that of the so-called formal axiology, which consists in the attempt to investigate the nature and foundations of value with mathematical rigor.

The term is sometimes also used in economics, for which the content of the theory of values is a notion of goodness defined in a much more subjective manner than that of ethics or aesthetics (which deal with goodness “in itself”), which leads the various disciplines to very different statements, often conflicting.

For example, it is quite different to say that Ludwig van Beethoven prefers to Bon Jovi (affirmation that he prefers it) from saying that Beethoven is musically superior to Bon Jovi, regardless of the listener’s taste (affirmation concerning the intrinsic value of their music).

According to the traditional conception, values can be objective or subjective. Examples of objective values include good, truth or beauty, being ends themselves. They are considered subjective values, however, when they represent a means to reach an end (in most cases characterized by a personal desire).

In addition, the values can be fixed (permanent) or dynamic (changing). Values can also be differentiated based on their importance and can be conceptualized in terms of a hierarchy, in which case some will have a higher position than others.

The fundamental problem that develops from the very origins of axiology, towards the end of the nineteenth century, is that of the objectivity or subjectivity of the totality of values. Max Scheler will be placed in the first of the two positions. Subjectivism will oppose this approach from the beginning. And he will understand – in the old Protagoras’ way – that the strictly human is the measure of all things, of what is worth and what is not, and of the same scale of values, without sustenance in external reality. Alfred Jules Yesterday, in Language, truth and logic, his early work, will leave value judgments out of all question, because they do not comply with the principle of empirical verification. In this way, the ethical and the aesthetic are no more than “expressions” of the subject’s spiritual life. Not a verifiable capture of the external world.

From Nietzsche’s point of view, however, there is no essential difference between what the traditional conception calls “value judgments” and scientific judgments, since both are based on historically shaped assessments that constitute themselves same the specific ways of interpreting and living. Also, there is no essential difference between judging and acting, since both consist of the deployment of certain forces that by definition are forces that value and whose movement also depends on previous assessments.

Within philosophical thinking there is a central point that is how we want to become in the future, in a better state. In order to move from a current state to a better state it is necessary to understand first that to make improvements we have to found them in certain key points. In thought we have always called them the philosophical axiology or the existential one, that is, the values, which are those based on action that can lead us to a better state tomorrow; This is because values give meaning and coherence to our actions.

The nature of value arouses debate among scientists from different disciplines. It is a complex problem that requires a philosophical specification. The axiology is the science that studies values and they have a philosophical connotation. In the article the antecedents of the axiology are briefly presented and various interpretations of the value concept are presented, analyzing these from the perspective of Marxist philosophy. The dialectical-materialist response with respect to value is highlighted, stating that this is a social phenomenon, which has significance in the context of the subject-object relationship and that expresses the needs and interests of human beings or of all nature.

Axiological neutrality
The expression axiological neutrality used by Max Weber in his lectures (the essay and politics) has passed into common use in the sense of defending a point of view (in the particular case that of the historian or sociologist) that maintains a maximum of objectivity opposing each judgment of value and every criticism of what constitutes the object of its investigation.

The book by Robert M. Pirsig, very famous in Italy, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, published by Adelphi, helped popularize the term “axiology” at the most, although outside of each technical context.

If two values are in conflict and can not be realized without jeopardizing one another, then the axiology speaks of a value antinomy. Today’s everyday and nonphilosophical technical language (juridical, sociological…) use of the value concept, which corresponds to no philosophically elaborated modern value theory, has led to numerous compositions: The conflicts arising from conflicting value concepts can lead to loss of value (Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann), loss of value (Rupert Lay) or value synthesis (Helmut Klages) result (see also value change). value blindness denotes the lack of feeling for certain values.

Contemporary Axiology
The contemporary axiology, not only tries to address the positive values, but also the negative ones (or anti-values), analyzing the principles that allow to consider that something is or not valuable, and considering the foundations of such judgment. The investigation of a theory of values has found a special application in ethics and aesthetics, areas where the concept of value has a specific relevance. Some philosophers such as the Germans Heinrich Rickert or Max Scheler have made different proposals to develop an appropriate hierarchy of values. In this sense, we can speak of an “axiological ethics”, which was developed, mainly, by Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann himself. From the ethical point of view, axiology is one of the two main foundations of ethics along with deontology.

Source from Wikipedia