Fact-value distinction

Fact-value distinction

The fact-value distinction is a concept used to distinguish between arguments which can be claimed through reason alone, and those where rationality is limited to describing a collective opinion. In another formulation, it is the distinction between what "is" (can be discovered by science, philosophy or reason) and what "ought" to be (a judgment which can be agreed upon by consensus). The terms positive and normative represent another manner of expressing this, as do the terms "descriptive" and "prescriptive", respectively. Positive statements make the implicit claim to facts (e.g. water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom), whereas normative statements make a claim to values or to norms (e.g. water ought to be protected from environmental pollution).

David Hume's skepticism

The fact-value distinction emerged in philosophy during the Enlightenment; in particular, David Hume (1711-1776) argued that human beings are unable to ground normative arguments in positive arguments, that is, to derive 'ought' from 'is'. Hume was a skeptic, and although he was a complex and dedicated philosopher, he shared a political viewpoint with previous Enlightenment philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704). Specifically, Hume, at least to some extent, argued that religious and national hostilities that divided European society were based on unfounded beliefs; in effect, he argued they were not found in nature, but a creation of a particular time and place, and thus unworthy of mortal conflict. Thus Hume is often cited as being the philosopher who finally debunked the idea of nature as a standard for political existence. For instance, without Hume, Jean Jacques Rousseau’s (1712-1778) 'return' to nature would have not been so revolutionary, inventive and fascinating.

The naturalistic fallacy

The fact-value distinction is closely related to the naturalistic fallacy, a topic that is still open to debate in ethical and moral philosophy. G. E. Moore believed it was essential to all ethical thinkingFact|date=February 2007. However, more recent contemporary philosophers like Phillipa Foot have called into question the validity of such assumptions. Others, such as Ruth Anna Putnam, have argued even the most ‘scientific’ of disciplines are affected by the ‘values’ of the men and women who research and practice the vocation [Putnam, Ruth Anna.“Perceiving Facts and Values." "Philosophy" 73, 1998. This article as well as her earlier article- "Creating Facts and Values." "Philosophy" 60, 1985 examines how the choice of investigations scientists make may be based upon their unexamined subjectivity which undermines the objectivity of their hypothesis and findings. See also Smart J.C. "Ruth Anna Putnam and the Fact-Value Distinction" "Philosophy" 74, 1999.] . Nevertheless, the difference between the naturalistic fallacy and the fact-value distinction is derived from the manner in which the fact-value distinction, and not the strict naturalistic fallacy, has been used by modern social science to articulate new fields of study and create academic disciplines.

Nietzsche's table of values

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" said that a table of values hangs above every great people. Nietzsche asserts that what made a people great was not the content of their beliefs, but the act of valuing. Thus the values a community strives to articulate are not as important as the collective will to see those values come to pass." [Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". Book Two "On the Virtuous": "You who are virtuous still want to be paid! Do you want rewards for virtue, and heaven for earth, and the eternal for your today? And now you are angry with me because I teach that there is no reward and paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward."] The "willing" is more essential than the intrinsic worth of the goal itself, according to Nietzsche [Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". Book Four "On Old and New Tablets": "To redeem what is past in man and to receate all "it was" until the will says, "Thus I willed it! Thus I shall will it!"- this I called redemption and this alone I taught them to call redemption"."] There are "a thousand and one goals," says Zarathustra, one no more worthy than the next. This idea became a core premise in modern social science. Max Weber and Martin Heidegger absorbed it and made it their own. It shaped their philosophical endeavor, as well as their political understanding.

ee also

*Is-ought problem
*Naturalistic fallacy



* Hume, David. "Treatise of Human Nature". First published 1739-1740.
* Hume, David. "Enquiry concerning Human Understanding".
* Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". Translated by R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Penguin, 1969.
* Putnam, Ruth Anna. “Creating Facts and Values." "Philosophy" 60, 1985
* Putnam, Ruth Anna.“Perceiving Facts and Values." "Philosophy" 73, 1998
* Rice, Daryl H. "Guide to Plato's Republic". Oxford University Press, 1997.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fact/value distinction — (or gap) The presumed distinction between statements of fact, thought of as value free, and statements of value. The distinction is often attributed to Hume, and the separation of fact from value is a platitude of many academic disciplines, and… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • fact-value distinction — In philosophy, the ontological distinction between what is (facts) and what ought to be (values). David Hume gave the distinction its classical formulation in his dictum that it is impossible to derive an ought from an is. See also naturalistic… …   Universalium

  • Fact — For other uses, see Fact (disambiguation). A fact (derived from the Latin Factum, see below) is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown… …   Wikipedia

  • value — /val yooh/, n., v., valued, valuing. n. 1. relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess. 2. monetary or material worth, as in commerce or trade: This piece of land has greatly increased in… …   Universalium

  • Value product — The value product (VP) is an economic concept formulated by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy during the 1860s, and used in Marxian social accounting theory for capitalist economies. Its annual monetary value is approximately equal… …   Wikipedia

  • value + structural law of value —    by David B. Clarke   The term value has currency not only in political economy use value, exchange value, surplus value but also in terms of the great humanist criteria of value, the whole civilisation of moral, aesthetic and practical… …   The Baudrillard dictionary

  • Value (semiotics) — In semiotics, the value of a sign depends on its position and relations in the system of signification and upon the particular codes being used.aussure s ValueValue is the sign as it is determined by the other signs in a semiotic system. For… …   Wikipedia

  • Labor theory of value — The labor theories of value (LTV) are theories in economics according to which the values of commodities are related to the labor needed to produce them.There are many different accounts of labor value, with the common element that the value of… …   Wikipedia

  • Surplus value — is a concept created by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy, where its ultimate source is unpaid surplus labor performed by the worker for the capitalist, serving as a basis for capital accumulation.The German equivalent word Mehrwert… …   Wikipedia

  • Objectivist theory of value — Note: This is not to be confused with theories of economic value, which seek to explain why things have different market prices. The Objectivist theory of value is the ethical theory of value held by Objectivists, as propounded by the founder of… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”