Unnatural Kinds: Beyond Dignity and Price
ROBERT WELSH JORDAN
The essay that follows was published in volume 20 of the journal Man and World (1987), pages 283-303 (©Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht). The page numbers for the journal publication are shown below by bold face numbers enclosed by angle brackets within the text. The essay develops a much shorter (typescript 5 pages) lead-off off paper for discussion that was read in the symposium on "Natural Kinds" as part of the first conference of philosophy of Colorado (a sadly long defunct affiliation of Colorado philosophy departments) at University of Northern Colorado. The essay, very much as it was later published, was read during the 1981 meeting of the Husserl Circle at Wilfrid Laurier University. During June and July of 1983, a version of the essay in German was read on invitation at the universities of Münster, Bochum and Osnabrück, Federal Republic of Germany and defended on invitation before a departmental colloquium at the University of Salzburg, Austria.
that display pages on this site with something very like the originally intended
colors are Opera and Google. The others that I am familiar with convert the
pages to standard black foreground on light background. Even Microsoft's
Internet Explorer does that although the pages were generated using Microsoft's
Front Page 2003. Among word processors, Open Office will display pretty much as
meant, Word will not.
PRINTING. Pages should print in the usual manner: black foreground on light background despite the screen display colors.
Persistently, conjoining the terms "phenomenological" and "axiology" conjures into fairly sophisticated minds thoughts of Scheler's monumental work on ethical and material values and - all too persistently -little else. Beyond Jean-Paul Sartre's bewildering claims about values little will be suggested to less knowing minds while cognoscenti who realize what, given the ontology of Being and Nothingness, Sartre should have said will think of Nicolai Hartmann. The differences between these phenomenologies of value and what Husserl either said or implied about what are called "values" remain obscure and vague. Husserlian axiology is in his works an implied rather than a developed discipline. That it scarcely enters either into the deliberations or the anthologies of axiologists is not surprising. It has less need therefore of rescue from the miscomprehensions of foe and friend than does the axiology of Sartre or Scheler or even of Hartmann. Yet benign neglect should not go undisturbed even here. In Husserl's work phenomenology achieved a precision and clarity of expression which, however imperfect, has seldom been equaled; and other phenomenologists, in their impatience to get on with the work, have seldom taken pains to explain the Husserlian methods and concepts they have used.
Many an uninitiate critic has been lead to write off - as unfounded speculation in the service of personalistic or existential or other metaphysical speculation - what was in fact the result of painstaking analysis in the fields of axiology or meta-ethics. Along with those admirable results, ill-founded and sometimes even absurd speculations are unfortunately to be found in Scheler's conception of "material" values. Some of these hardly bear mentioning; others are in urgent need of criticism, but to deal even with the most important of these requires that an elaborate conceptual framework be established.
The word "values" — when used the only way it will be throughout <284> this paper — designates a certain class of kinds of qualities. It does so in much the same way that "pitch" designates a kind of quality of which any sound is an example or an instance. The kinds designated in each case are universals. Spatially or temporally located things which are of a certain kind may be said to embody that kind. The same may not be said of kinds which are of a certain kind though they also may be said to instantiate that kind or to be instances of it. Values then are kinds of qualities. They differ from other kinds of qualities in being embodied by actual or possible temporal things insofar as these ought to be; any temporal object whether actual or possible - or, for that matter, impossible - which ought to be embodies a value of some kind. Values, which are unnatural kinds, are thus set apart from other, natural kinds in that the natural species are embodied by qualities of things quite independently of whether things having those qualities ought or ought not to exist. Those things, whether actual, possible, or impossible, which ought not to be also embody unnatural kinds; the unnatural kinds which insofar as those things ought not to be are embodied by them are disvalues. The things which, through certain qualities or characteristics they possess, embody disvalues may be said to have or to be of disvalue. They are those things which are rightly called evil just as things which embody a value may be said to be of value or to have value and are the things rightly called good. Values and disvalues alike are unnatural, that is to say, axiological kinds or universals in contrast to natural or ontological universals or kinds.
The agreement between this proposed use of the word "values" and Scheler's use of the corresponding German word is only partial. A principal difference is that as conceived by Scheler value qualities are truly predicable of the very values they instantiate and are truly predicable only of those values: "The value qualities possessed by a sensuously pleasant thing are genuine qualities of the value itself." Moreover, Scheler conceives values to be material qualities, and he conceives material qualities to remain constant despite any changes in their bearers."
How axiological kinds differ from ontological kinds may be clarified by risking the fatal misunderstanding which threatens the moment values are thought of as laws: then axiological universals are laws in the sense that the original - or intuitive - consciousness of values makes possible (is a necessary condition for) the formulation of correct and evidently correct axiological laws. These would be predicative judgments about universals and could be formed only through step by step (in Husserlian terms polythetic) acts. Judging acts are never intui-<285>tions of the state of affairs being judged about although they may be founded upon such intuitions. Any evidently correct judgment about axiological universals (such as "All pleasures are good.", or "All pains are bad.", or "In all cases, believing in a false judgment is an evil.") would be a correct formulation of a universal state of affairs given through an intuiting act which involves no step by step judging about axiological universals and no believing or disbelieving in them. The state of affairs thus formulated would be correctly identified with what is given in the intuition. The identification can occur however only insofar as the state of affairs is formed syntactically.
With these intimations of threatening error, it may be said that axiological universals can be correctly identified with a species of laws which may also be called axiological. Under a similar caveat non axiological, natural, or ontological universals may be conceived as laws so that the two sorts of universals and laws may be compared. Ontological laws would then include whatever logical, mathematical, or causal laws there may be. Axiological laws would include ethical and presumably aesthetic laws. Just as distinct concepts of possibility, necessity, contingency, and impossibility can be formed in view of what is, respectively, consistent with, implied by, or contradictory of logical, mathematical, or causal laws so concepts of what is axiologically possible, necessary, contingent or impossible can be formed in view of what is consistent with, implied by, or contradictory of axiological laws.
When axiological universals are conceived as those exemplified by actual or possible temporal things insofar as and only insofar as they ought or ought not to be, to have been or to become actual, it then turns out that: what is axiologically necessary would be those things which ought to be (the members of the class of goods); the axiologically impossible would be those things which ought not to be (the members of the class of evils); while axiological contingencies would be the members of the union of the axiologically non-necessary with the axiologically non-impossible (the things which are neither goods nor evils).
That a given event or event of a given kind is ontologically necessary would imply that it cannot but happen. That it is ontologically impossible would imply that it cannot happen at all. That it is ontologically contingent would imply that it is ontologically neither necessary nor impossible. Axiological impossibilities on the other hand can and do actually happen while axiological necessities often fail to occur. Where as the requirements of genuine ontological laws are bound to be satis-<286>fied by whatever actually happens, what is axiologically necessary often fails to happen. Whatever is, for example, causally necessary always does happen. What is in a given situation "required" by causal laws becomes actual; whatever actually happens is always in agreement with what causal, mathematical, and logical laws require under the circumstances. The situation is different where axiological laws are concerned, for these determine requirements which must be met if things are to have value or disvalue - regardless of whether the thing in question does or does not exist in fact. If this were all that is meant when ontological laws are conceived to be descriptive and axiological laws in contrast to be non-descriptive then the differentiation would be perfectly legitimate. Nevertheless, it should perhaps be avoided if it prejudices one's approach to the question, "Are there any facts regarding which things ought or ought not to be?" or, "Is anything good or bad by nature and regardless of any emotional attitudes or positive prescriptions concerning it?"
Things often do possess characteristics by virtue of which they satisfy the requirements of a value or of a disvalue. These are the things' axiological characteristics and are distinct from their ontological characteristics, the latter being those by virtue of which it satisfies the requirements of ontological laws. To the extent that a thing has axiological characteristics that thing is often, and misleadingly, said to "actualize" the value or disvalue whose requirements it satisfies. Values, being universals, never become actual and distinctions between actuality and possibility do not apply to them so that it would be perhaps less misleading to speak of a thing's embodying, by virtue of its axiological characteristics, values or disvalues. In this respect values are like other universals. An individual's "having" a value quality of a certain kind does not in any way involve its having the kind whether in whole or in part. This is but an extension to axiological universals of what Husserl wrote concerning universals in general in the second of his Logical Investigations and reiterated in later works.
Whenever there is a consciousness of likeness there is a consciousness of identity in the strict sense, a consciousness of something numerically one. Likeness obtains only through identity in this strict sense. But the identity involved is not that of the one similar with the other, neither is it the identity of part of the one with part of the other. In being aware of A and B as similars, there is an awareness of A as numerically one and of B as numerically one, but neither is the identical object in respect of which A and B are alike. Moreover, each constituent part <287> of individual A is itself individual and non-universal, and the same is true of the genuine constituent parts of any individual. No individual has or can have universals as its constituent parts. In comparing A and B, the two individuals are numerically differentiated as are each and every one of the compared parts. That which the consciousness of similarity is aware of as numerically one is a universal to which A and B alike are related as embodiments or as instances. The exemplification of a universal by its instances is, according to Husserl, a relation sui generis. It is not to be considered a specification of any species of relation which might obtain among the universal's instances (such as similarity, likeness, or family resemblance) or among individuals (such as whole-part or causality) nor is it a special case of the relation which might obtain between the universal and any genera of which it is a species.
The specification of universals from higher to lower orders of generality would yield at its lower limit not characteristics of individual things but lowest specific differences, including what were traditionally called infimae species, and these would belong to the class of objects that Husserl calls eidetic singularities. They are ideal objects and cannot be parts of spatial or temporal objects. Infirnae species would be eidetic singularities which are subordinated under genera in such a way that the species implies its genera so that whatever instantiates the species instantiates all genera to which it is subordinate. Lowest specific universals of this sort are differentiated as materially eidetic signularities from formally eidetic singularities. The latter class would include such formal categories as "universal" and "object" ("something" or "this"). Eidetic singularities are those universals whose ideal extension is limited to objects which are perfectly alike in a certain respect.
Perfect likeness is the limit of total similarity; the latter would be similarity in respect of the totality of individual moments (the non self-sufficient or so-called "abstract" parts) of the individual similars. In the case of color, for example, if two individual colors were of identical hue, saturation, and brightness as well as shape then their similarity would be total. But if there were any difference whatsoever, say in the brightness of the individual, colors, then the similarity could not be total even though the similarity between each of the other individual moments of the two colors were complete. In such a case the two colors could only be similar, they would not be perfectly alike. And the two would remain numerically different even if they were perfectly alike in all other aspects of their respective individual whatnesses: there would be on the one hand two individual color <288> moments and on the other hand two different concrete universals. The individual colors would then not be just numerically different. They would also not embody the self-same concrete universal. A universal concreturn is an essence that can be embodied only by ideally possible perfectly like individuals. The Logical Investigations appear to acknowledge only relatively concrete universals; species are there said to be concrete compared to their genera. The concrete universals are introduced in Ideas, where they are said to be absolutely self sufficient, leading to a differentiation of universals into those that are concrete and those that are abstract whereas the Logical Investigations had spoken only of relative self-sufficiency among the kinds called abstract in the subsequent works. "Conscious process [Erlebnis]" now comes to be listed along with "real thing" and visual phantom" as being a concrete genus, i.e. a genus having concrete universals as its lowest differentia. Every conscious process would accordingly be one of a manifold of essentially possible conscious processes each of which would be not just similar to but perfectly like itself in every respect [vollig gleich].
On the other hand, generic universals, all of which are classified as abstract, are apparently universals whose ideal extension includes objects which are not perfectly alike but merely similar. Every lowest species, on the other hand, would apparently include in its ideal extension only instances that are perfectly alike; every infirna species would be an ideal singularity which could be instantiated in individuals only insofar as they were perfectly like.
In contrast, Heidegger appears to hold that the temporal structure of certain individuals is such that they can neither be perfectly like any other individual nor have genuine constituents perfectly like those of another individual. This would be true of Dasein [being-there, Being there, there-being or (most misleadingly) human existence - depending upon the whims of the translator] in all its instances. Being in the world, the manner of being attributed exclusively to Dasein, is such that neither Dasein nor any of its genuine constituent parts could embody a concrete universal as conceived by Husserl.
Moreover, if Heidegger is correct then individual entities other than Dasein or Mitdasein which are useful for a purpose, those entities whose manner of being Heidegger designates as readiness to hand, also are not embodiments of concrete ideal singularities. Yet, by abstraction, ready to hand entities may be conceived to have constituents which may be perfectly like those of other entities within the world. The constituents so conceived Heidegger speaks of as being present at <289> hand in the ready to hand entity. An exactly determined shape perfectly like that of a manifold of other entities might be present at hand as a constituent of the gears in Dasein's automobile. There is nothing to exclude this as a possibility. Heidegger is however careful to identify the being ready to hand of any non-Dasein-like entity which is capable of functioning in a practical context with that entity's "being in itself." The ready to hand entity is in no sense reducible to any set of present at hand entities, however complete, which it may correctly be thought to include as constituent parts.
On either view, whether Husserl's or Heidegger's, a thing's serviceability or usefulness for a given purpose is a constituent of that thing. A quality by virtue of which a thing embodies the sort of axiological universal (goods value or disvalue) instantiated by anything at all insofar as that thing promotes or maintains the existence of something else having value or disvalue would be as much a part of the thing possessing the quality as would be the thing's shape or size or color. Such a goods value (disvalue) quality would belong as objectively as any of its other qualities to the thing's meaning, would be as intrinsic to the thing as any of the other aspects of its quiddity. The fact that the quality depends upon a relation in which the thing stands to some other actual or possible value quality has no bearing upon its objectivity. Axiological universals which can be instantiated only through axiological qualities that depend upon such a relation are secondary values or disvalues. Values whose instantiation does not depend on such a relation are primary. Secondary axiological qualities are no less intrinsic to their bearers than are primary axiological qualities. Moreover, if Husserl and Heidegger are correct then no two things can have identical axiological qualities. And if Heidegger is correct then no two things can have perfectly like secondary axiological qualities.
In either case, however, it becomes quite impossible to distinguish "dignity" from "price" as Kant tries to do in his Grundlegung. Dignity as Kant conceives it there would be a sort of axiological quality peculiar to persons, i.e., to rational and moral beings, and would belong to any such being since each is able by applying the moral law to act with a good will. It is a sort of value quality which each of us, supposedly, derives from a "pure humanity" or a "pure personality" within. Price would be a kind of axiological quality instantiated only by nonpersonal beings and only insofar as they are useful or serviceable for some purpose. Price would be the usefulness or serviceability (axiological goods quality) of things. The goods quality of any thing, says Kant, is replaceable by that of any other thing whose "price" is either identical with or <290> precisely equivalent to that of the first thing. Kant seems clearly to regard two things as equivalent in "price" whenever either of the two can be used to achieve the "same end," i.e. to do the "same" job, as in the case of two crowbars of the same model. Since the two are equivalent in goods value - so the doctrine runs - the destruction of the one entails no loss of value quality; its usefulness is "replaced" by the use of the other crowbar or by the use of anything else that will do the job at least as efficiently. Goods quality is of a kind instantiated by things simply insofar as they are means to some end. Kant takes this to mean that goods value quality is not an end in itself, and he apparently infers from this, falsely, that "price" or goods quality is always "extrinsic" and never really intrinsic to the thing to which it can be truly attributed. The value qualities of things are regarded not just as accidental but even as transferable to other things. Because utility is founded on a relation to a possible future event and because the relation involved is cognizable only a posteriori, utility is denied objective status. Whatever is good merely in the sense of being useful is not good unconditionally. Its goodness can be only a subjective end since it cannot be known a priori to be good; objects of this sort cannot be known to be good in all cases. The hypothetical character of our beliefs about utility is hypostatized, as it were, into a lack of objectivity.
Kant's differentiation between dignity and price involves a serious error, for the fact that utility is a contingent characteristic, dependent upon future events whose actualization can only be cognized a posteriori does not mitigate against the objectivity of the thing's utility so long as the relevant conditions are such as can be met. That their being in fact met is something which cannot be known a priori has no bearing on the facts of the case. What must be cognizable a priori is just the axiological universal whose "actualization" is the intended end toward which the thing intended as useful might be employed. That this condition can be met independently of rationalist and nativist assumptions was well established by Scheler's Formalism in Ethics…
In spite of that, Scheler appears to agree with Kant in the belief that in order for the intended end to be given both a priori and prepredicatively as good its goodness must be that of an idea [Wesenheit]. For Scheler regards the value quality of the end as an ideal quality which is indestructible no matter what becomes of the thing's ontological qualities."
Any such doctrine, leading to the conclusion that things of value can be disposed of with no loss of "goodness," is simply false if value qualities are individual characteristics inherent in valuable things in much the <291> same way as other qualities belong to them. For in that case the crowbar's goods quality belongs to it and to nothing else so that destruction of the thing will entail destruction of its goodness which is irreplaceable even if there is another tool around of the same kind. The other tool then has a value quality similar to the one the bent and twisted crowbar had. But the two value qualities are not identical, and Heidegger is also right in claiming that they are not even perfectly alike. The goods quality of the broken tool has indeed been lost and in a very obvious sense lost irreplaceably. The value qualities of nonpersonal objects are no more replaceable by substitutes than are the value qualities of persons. Moreover, utility or goods value is as much a characteristic of persons and their acts as it is a characteristic of tools and other goods whether natural or artificial.
Failure to differentiate sharply between axiological universals and axiological qualities promotes a further distortion in Scheler's critique of formalism when he argues that there are no circumstances under which a voluntary action could have as its end (material content) the instantiation (realization) of moral value." A morally good striving is always a striving to generate some concrete benefit and always involves therefore an intending of itself as beneficial. The striving's inventiveness to itself as useful may be active or passive but it is always involved in any morally good striving. The primary motive of a morally good striving is however not its own co-intended utility but rather the actualization of the benefit on which that utility would depend.
Goods values (disvalues) - or one's acquaintance with them in any case - are what indicate or require that something ought (ought not) to be done. Any species of goods value (disvalue) entails, insofar as it is instantiable but not yet instantiated in a given situation, a requirement that something be done to effect its instantiation. Moral values no doubt ought to be instantiated by strivings; their being so instantiated is however never something that ought to be done as a purpose: more precisely, no striving having moral value has as its purpose or end the existence of its own moral value quality. In this sense, but only in this sense, it is true that moral goodness cannot be the purpose of a morally correct striving. The difference of the axiom understood in this way from the axiom understood Scheler's way is enormous. Scheler's application of it would deny that there is an axiological necessity (obligation) to promote anyone's well being as a means of promoting in that person a morally good will: no striving having the instantiation of moral goodness as its purpose could be correct; any such striving would in fact be axiologically impossible. For to prohibit <292> projecting the moral goodness of a striving as the purpose of that striving would then be equivalent to an unconditional prohibition on projecting as a purpose the instantiation of the axiological universal in question, viz. moral goodness. When value qualities are properly conceived however the axiom prohibits neither purposing the moral goodness of other persons and their volitions nor purposing the moral goodness of other volitions of one's own." In this respect Kant's cosmopolitan ethic is above Scheler's critique.
Contrary to Kantian doctrine, however, an action's material end — its aiming to promote the chances for actualization of goods value — is the sine qua non of its moral goodness while what Kant calls the formal end cannot be under any circumstances the purpose of a morally good action. Doing something in order to be good, adopting the moral value quality of one's own action as an end is both absurd and perverse. Far from being the only object in the world or elsewhere that is unconditionally good, the will which has as its end its own conformity with the requirements of the moral law is an absurdity and a perversion. An action cannot conform with the requirements of a moral value and still be entirely lacking in moral worth. On this point there is less need for reservation in agreeing with Scheler's critique of Kant: an action cannot have intended goods value and still be lacking in moral worth. The moral value quality of honest trading where the motive or end is an anticipated benefit to the agent is different from that of honest trading when intended as beneficial to the customers. But in neither case is moral goodness entirely lacking as it would be should some moral idiot undertake an "honest" action in order thereby to effect its own moral goodness.
So long as an action's moral quality depends upon its anticipated benefit or goods quality rather than upon the goods quality of any actual effects, its moral goodness or badness can be given even during the phase in which the agent is aware of it only as a potentiality. The agent's acquaintance with the goods quality of actions must be intuitive and must be able to found judgments that are a priori in the strict sense - and not just "before the fact" - if the concept of moral goodness is to be neither fictitious nor innate.
Valuations, as Kant rightly understood, normally imply that all things of a certain kind have a quality of a definite axiological kind. An individual thing then can be correctly valued only if all things similar to it in a definite way would have the same kind of value. Yet Kant was once more wrong in believing that veridical acquaintance with axiological universals cannot be derived from any experience. < 293> All experience is intuitive: every experience is a perception in the sense of being a consciousness of something as itself given to that consciousness. The sort of experience from which a priori acquaintance with values is derived can obviously not be empirical intuition. Scheler and Hartmann take their clue as to the sort of experience required from the fact that - as Brentano had pointed out - in asserting that something is good it is implied that it is correct to love that thing or to approve it. This in turn means that anyone who hated or disapproved the good thing would do so incorrectly. Feelings, in the sense of sentiments or emotions, affective phenomena, would be, it seems, the sort of experience from which we might hope to derive acquaintance with axiological qualities and universals. That someone or even that everyone likes, loves, or desires a given thing would be evidence though not adequate evidence of that thing's being good. That something is good means not that it is loved by someone but that it is worthy of being loved, and it seems clear that things can be worthy of love without their being loved by anyone. Anyone whose emotions provide adequate evidence concerning the axiological quality of an object having value will be a person who loves (approves) that object.
The relationship between evils and negative affective phenomena is precisely analogous to that between goods and positive affects. Any evil is something correctly to be hated, something worthy of hatred; and the mere fact that someone hates a certain object or that everyone hates it is not adequate evidence that it is correctly to be hated and therefore bad. Anyone whose emotions provide adequate evidence concerning the axiological necessity, impossibility, or contingency of an object having disvalue is a person who hates (disapproves) the object.
Affective consciousness is, as Hume clearly saw, a form of perception. A love is, however, as Hume may have failed to see, a perception of something other than love, viz., of axiological qualities other than its own. But even if it be granted that sentiments afford a perceptual experience of axiological characters, how can this form of acquaintance with them provide the foundation for a priori knowledge of values and disvalues? In what sense are the intuitions involved other than empirical?
Emotions are founded upon beliefs about the object which is loved, hated, approved, respected, etc. These beliefs are either evident or nonevident (veridical or non-veridical, in the misleading language employed by translators of Heidegger, authentic or inauthentic). If I see something and like it as a seat (something to sit on rather than to caress, <294> pinch, flagellate, etc.) then my liking it is founded on a belief that it will support the weight of a person. This belief, being based only on visual perception, is non-evident, non-veridical. And since it is the foundation for the liking, the valuing, the latter cannot be veridical as a valuing of the object believed to be a seat. Evidentness of the founding beliefs is a necessary condition for any fully veridical or adequately evident emotion. But the main point to be made here is that emotions involve a certain abstraction since they are founded on beliefs: to like something is to like it as a thing believed to possess certain definite individual characteristics and as a thing of a certain kind. My liking of this thing for its individual axiological quality as a seat is a posteriori, subject to verification by experience; should I see it collapse or wobble perilously when someone sets a box of books on it then one of the founding beliefs will be cancelled and with it, in all likelihood, the valuation; the ultimate experiential test of the valuation, however, would be, in this case, the attempt actually to use the thing as a seat. The a posteriori aspect of the valuation is subject to cancellation. On the other hand, an approval of seats was implicated in the valuation of the individual thing and is not subject to cancellation, just as the liking of comfort and of the alleviation of tired muscles, aching feet, etc. is also not subject to cancellation. Whatever promotes comfort or alleviates suffering has goods value unconditionally and that this is so is a law having no possible exceptions, a law known a priori. That comfort and the alleviation of suffering are of primary value, that they can be correctly loved in every instance for their own sakes and regardless of anything else is also a law which was given a priori in the cancelled valuation.
The axiological quality of some individual thing is what is normally given to an evident affect, yet there is also co-intended an axiological kind of which the individual thing and anything like it in a certain way are instances. Hence the moral sentiments, our evidently correct emotions are able when properly explicated to yield a priori axiological cognitions. This axiological "emotional" a priori does not at all require that the object of the emotion be just a universal. There is absolutely no basis for Scheler's claim that the material qualities towards which moral sentiments are directed are universals. It is not at all clear that the co-intending involved in veridical affective experiences which has axiological universals as its objects must or even can be itself affective. It is not unlikely that the primary object of a correct emotion is necessarily something temporally individuated and that no universal, even an axiological one can be correctly loved for its own <295> sake. Since universals are neither smellable nor audible nor visible why should they be lovable? If they cannot be then those "pure" feelings which Scheler believes to have value species as their objects and to make it possible for a person to understand a value feeling even when that person is himself unable to feel the value quality in question or any other like it would be perversions of the same ilk as Platonic love for the idea of the good or Kantian reverence for the moral law. Each of these fictions would be the product of a category error whereby an ideal object is misconceived to be good absolutely or in itself or for its own sake, i.e., a primary good.
Unless Husserl's conception of the relation between universals and their instances is either wholly false or false applied to axiological universals Scheler has confused goods and evils, the bearers of axiological qualities, both with values and with the axiological qualities themselves. Whatever is the object of a correct affective experience (feeling) is a bearer of some axiological characteristic, and that x is the bearer of the quality in question (Qx) is the sole ground for the correctness of the feeling. An abstracted axiological quality (Qx) of x can be correctly loved or hated only by being the subject for some other axiological quality (QQx). Similarly values themselves and axiological universals generally can be worthy of love or of hate only by being bearers of axiological qualities. And those axiological kinds, if any, which have axiological kinds among their instances are all of them kinds of secondary value. Values themselves are never bearers of primary axiological qualities. No axiological universal is itself an instance of moral goodness or badness, of beauty or ugliness, of pleasantness or painfulness, and this is true even of those universals for which these are names.
From the point of view of Husserlian ontology then Scheler's bewildering claim that the value qualities possessed by a sensuously pleasant thing - the good taste of a pomegranate, a cherry, a pear — "are genuine qualities of the value itself" is simply inadmissible. If he meant just that the goodness of the pomegranate is something distinct from and not reducible to ontological characteristics then there would be no cause for bewilderment. Even if, beyond this, he meant just that value qualities of goods, when considered in abstraction from their bearers are each of them identical with a species belonging to an axiological genus then the claim would be wrong, but it would be less bewildering than the doctrine Scheler actually asserts - apparently as a consequence of this claim - to the effect that "…the value qualities [of good things, for example] do not change along with changes in the thing.
<296> With respect to the relationship among goods, their axiological qualities, and axiological universals Scheler here places himself squarely on the side of Kant and against both Husserl and Heidegger. The axiological characteristics of things are utterly indifferent to their ontological characteristics:
The things in a world having the same qualities could therefore be wholly different from what they are and yet the world of goods be the self-same. The natural world of things is not in any manner definitive or even conditioning for the formation of the world of goods - never and not in any area of goods.
In the view of either Husserl or Heidegger, the sentiments through which axiological characteristics are given are founded in every case upon beliefs about the object of the sentiment. Correlatively the axiological characteristics given to any adequately evident sentiment are founded upon ontological characteristics of the sentiment's noematic object. What is true is that no sentiment as such is a believing in anything at all about the object liked or disliked. Liking something is a necessary condition for believing with evidence that the object in question is liked or is correctly liked or is good. But the liking involves no such believing even though the goodness of what is liked is intuitively given through the liking act. The moral quality, for example, of his volition can be given to its agent even when he does not in any way believe in its goodness or badness. That many morally good agents do not believe in moral goodness at all affords no evidence whatsoever against the claim that actions can and do possess primary moral qualities over and above whatever secondary axiological qualities they may have. That affects are not beliefs does not entail independence for correct valuations vis-à-vis their founding beliefs.
Scheler's denial of the dependence of adequate valuations upon correct beliefs, of unnatural characteristics upon natural ones is most obviously weak as it applies to utility, and in its defense Scheler falls into a subjectivism reminiscent of Kant where "means" are concerned. Whatever is a mere means whereby goods might be causally generated is said to have no phenomenal (intuitively feelable) value of its own. This, if Scheler were right, would be true since what is called the value of the mere means and is attributed [zugebilligt] to the thing would belong to it [ihr zukommt] only by virtue of an inference (or an association) through which the thing is represented as a means. Those "mere means" which function causally in the production of <297> goods would have no value qualities of their own — would have no "consecutive value" in Scheler's terms — because none would be intuitively felt. Their alleged value qualities would be attributed falsely as the result of an inference or association through which value is borrowed from something having self-value and applied mistakenly to them. Such a mistake would perhaps be facilitated by a misplaced analogy with cases of genuine utility. The latter would always be an intuitively feelable relatedness to other values and so would be a genuine consecutive value.
Why are certain things that function in the production of goods useful and intuitively feelable as related to those goods and to the actualization of "self-values" while other things that function in the production of the self-same goods, the embodiment of the self-same values are not? Why does the one means possess a utility which is genuine value quality belonging to its bearer whether or not it is in fact used as a means while the other means does not? The only answer Scheler offers is that the relevant difference between instantiating utility and not doing so is imply that the status of the thing as means is intuitively given, i.e., felt, in the case of the thing that has genuine consecutive value whereas that status in the other cases is intended non-intuitively. No other reason is given why "having utility" should not be equivalent to "being usable." That x is in some sense good (bad), that x ought (ought not) to be, implies that an evidently correct love (hate) can be directed toward it, that x is worthy of love (hate). Scheler proposes that, where utility is concerned, it is implied in addition that an evidently correct emotion is in fact directed toward x. Thus, what does not instantiate a primary value (selfvalue) has no genuine value quality whatsoever unless it is both worthy of love and appreciated by an intuitive emotion. A plausible reason for this additional requirement is not to be found phenomenologically. But that evident emotions generated the axiological qualities of x — or at least their status as properties of x — would disguise the homely fact that the utility of x does indeed depend upon the ontological characteristics of x, including the causal relations in which x can stand to other possible bearers of axiological qualities, especially to bearers of primary values.
If this is true of utility, there is no less reason to believe it true of primary axiological qualities. There is nothing to indicate that they are less dependent upon ontological qualities than are such secondary ones as utility. This fact, too, Scheler denies. His insistence that value qualities are, quite universally, utterly independent of ontological properties tends to obscure a subjectivism that is no less complete for <298> being fairly subtle not just toward utility but toward values, and therefore value qualities, in general. It is a subjectivism rooted in Scheler's — at least literally — perverse doctrine that values of a lower order are founded upon those of a higher order. From the fact that necessarily some lower order values can be given only if certain higher order values are given Scheler seems to infer that the lower order values can be instantiated only on the condition that the higher order values be instantiated. Nothing can be useful unless something be pleasant; nothing can be pleasant unless there be something having vital value or disvalue (e.g., health or sickness, the sublime or the degenerate); nothing can have vital value unless something have spiritual value; nothing would be of spiritual value unless there were something holy. Thus Scheler asserts, "Only insofar as there are spiritual values and spiritual acts in which they are grasped does life per se — regardless of the differentiation among the [various species of] vital value qualities — have any value."  The sublime [das Edele] and the degenerate [das Gemeinel - axiological kinds which would include a whole series of vital opposites - would be independent of spiritual values only as ideal and absolute essences; in fact [faktischl , life itself in all its factual forms would have these vital values only insofar as it actually is the bearer of higher order spiritual ones. Yet Scheler also maintains the more defensible doctrines that vital value qualities are not peculiar to man but are properties of all living being and that their vital axiological properties are as integral to living beings as are their ontological properties. in order to reconcile these three doctrines while still admitting that living things could have existed and instantiated vital values before the emergence in natural history of persons, Scheler posits an infinite personal spirit upon whose grasp of them values as such, i.e., as ideal objects in their absolute status would depend. The spiritual and the vital values — along with any others there may be — would be founded upon the value of the universe of axiological universals itself in conjunction with the value of this infinite spirit by whom they are grasped.
Ultimately, and astonishingly, Scheler lapses with Kant not just into transcendental subjectivism but into intellectualism as well. The infinite personal spirit would be able to understand the axiological universals without experiencing the appropriate feelings required for an intuitive grasp of them as value qualities; "No one will dare think of god, e.g., that he experiences all those values of the pleasant that are experienced by brutes and humans." Without having to feel the axiological quality of any of its instantiations, the infinite spirit would grasp "understandingly" the axiological kind they instantiate.
<299> The necessity of an infinite spirit as a condition for the actualization of vital values prior to the emergence of finite spirits disappears as soon as axiological qualities are differentiated adequately from axiological universals. For then the contingency of axiological upon ontological characteristics entails by itself no corresponding dependence of axiological universals. Axiological universals - like any others - are as absolute as Scheler says they are and far more so. Scheler's transcendental subjectivism would render values independent not just of their actual instantiation but also of any finite mind's intuitive acquaintance with them. Those acts whereby the absolutely objective values are grasped could take place only in and through the infinite personal spirit for whose understanding the hierarchy or ordered universe of values would subsist. Speaking, presumably, as phenomenologist Scheler maintains that neither values nor kinds of values may legitimately be presumed to have objective existence save as correlates of the kinds of acts and functions pertinent to the experience of the respective kinds of values [Wertartenj. Quite illegitimately he goes on to claim that unnatural kinds cannot have objective, non-relative existence, that their being is necessarily relative to, contingent upon the infinite spirit.
Any conception that laws, whether logical or axiological, have their being only in and through a subject is a case of psychologism with respect to the laws in question. It makes no difference whether that subject is conceived to be animal, vegetable, mineral, mundane, transcendental, divine, or human. Psychologism whether in the form of anthropologism, transcendentalism, personalism, or theism is skeptical relativism. The category error by which a concept such as contingent, dependent, or relative is carried over from those temporal individuals for which explanations, grounds, and reasons for being are appropriate to objects that are irreal and atemporal builds a bridge that is totally illusory from the one region to the other. It is however just the sort of bridge from which the skeptical relativist cannot be excluded. If axiological universals are relative and dependent in their being how is either their continued existence or their invariability to be assured? "Neither Scheler nor the infinite personal spirit would want it otherwise!" Perhaps, but that simply makes it clear that everything has become a matter of faith either in Scheler or in someone else:
Of himself man cannot know what is good and what evil, that is why God taught his will to man…Moral: the Priest does not lie - "true" or "untrue" is not an issue in the things of which Priests speak; in such matters lies are impossible. For to lie one must be able to tell what the truth is here. But that is exactly <300> what man cannot do; the Priest is God's mouthpiece — Such a Priestly syllogism is not merely Judaic and Christian; the right to lie and the cunning of "revelation" are part of the Priest as type…The "holy lie"… There is the truth," signifies wherever it is uttered loudly, "The Priest lies…"
Phenomenology should no doubt involve an initial methodological suspension of belief in any object or in any proposition that is neither itself given nor evidently true. The phenomenologist may indeed be unable either to assert or to imply the existence of any object whatsoever save as object for a possible intuitively evident consciousness of it. Indeed Husserlian phenomenology regards as materially absurd propositions asserting or implying the existence of an object that would not satisfy this condition. But this is — or purports to be — a result of the method, an eidetic truth, and nowhere does it conceal a claim such as Scheler suggests, viz., that the essentially necessary correlations among ego, cogito, and cogitatum entail a denial that eide can exist without there being an actual grasping of them in some mind. What sort of phenomenology would require that we either deny or refrain from uttering eidetic truths? The denial that absolute and non-contingent, non-relative being belongs to the sense of being ideal would be evidently absurd to the extent that it implied psychologism and therefore skeptical relativism. Even in its transcendentalist and theistic forms psychologism contradicts - at least so far as Husserl is concerned -the necessary conditions for any theory whatsoever and cannot be true.
Scheler's "transcendental deduction" of the infinite personal spirit's existence fails. Life as such in all its instances can — he would have us believe — be known to be good only if
1. There exist personal spirits who can grasp an ordered universe of ideal values; and
2. there exist an infinite personal spirit in and through whom Condition 1 must be satisfied; and
3. there be axiological qualities which are absolutely independent of ontological qualities.
Moreover, all of this is so because
4. In the universe of axiological kinds and in the rank order of axiological qualities the lower order kinds and qualities are founded upon the higher order ones.
The fact of the matter is that, while the state of affairs which supposedly depends upon the truth of propositions I through 4 obtains, propositions 2 through 4 are false.
Is it not likely then that phenomenologists should regard these three propositions in Scheler's axiology as being of confessional rather than phenomenological provenance and as being in fact unfit for a correct axiological theory?
Max Scheler, Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, 4th corrected ed. by Maria Scheler (Bern: Francke Verlag, 1954) — hereafter cited just as Formalismus — page 35. See page 12 of the English translation by Manfred S. Frings and Roger L. Funk (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1973), cited hereafter simply as Formalism.
Formalismus, p. 40 (Formalism, p. 17); see below, pp. 293ff.
This point will be elaborated somewhat in connection with the intuition of values and disvalues below, pp. 293-295.
This would in fact be true of anything at all that instantiated any value or disvalue whatsoever. Whatever has an axiological characteristic satisfies a requirement of some axiological universal. What Scheler calls personal values would be ontologically impossible inasmuch as they would be values whose instantiation allegedly would not entail "satisfaction of a law" or being "in accordance with a norm" (see Formalismus, p. 50; Formalism, p. 28).
Edmund Husserl, Erfahrung und Urteil, revised and edited by Ludwig Landgrebe (Hamburg: Claassen Verlag, 1954), hereafter cited as E.U. - page 429, p. 354 in the English translation by James S. Churchill and Karl Ameriks, Experience and Judgment (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1973), cited hereafter just as E.U.
Edmund Husserl, Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Erstes Buch, Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie, newly edited by Karl Schuhmann, Husserliana Vol, III/I (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976) — hereafter cited as Ideen I — §§ 11-13. The section numbers correspond to those of all earlier editions as well as to those of the two English translations (cited hereafter simply as Ideas I), the earlier one by W.R. Boyce Gibson under the title Ideas, General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (London, George Allen & Unwin and New York, The Macmillan Company: 1931) as well as the more recent and far more reliable one by F. Kersten, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. First Book, General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology (The Hague, Boston, London: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982).
E. U., § 8 1 b., p. 389 (E.J., p. 323f.).
E. U., § 84, pp. 403f. (E.J. 334f.) and Ideen I, §§ 15f.
Edmund Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen, 4th printing (Halle a.d. S.: Max Niemeyer, 1928). Third Investigation, § 7 a. The section numbers correspond to those of the English translation by J.N. Findlay, Logical Investigations (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul and New York, The Humanities Press: 1970), cited hereafter as L.I.
Ideen I, § 15 see also E. U. (and E.J.) § 84.
Ideen I (and Ideas I), § 15.
E. U. (and E.J.), § 84.
Formalismus, pp. 66-101 (Formalism, pp. 45-81).
That such a claim entails a пρώτον ψεϋδος is shown below (pp. 296ff.)
See pp. 300 ff. below.
Formalismus, p. 49 (Formalism, p. 27).
See Nicolai Hartmann's critique of this aspect in Scheler's work [N. Hartmann, Ethik (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1926), Chapter 24 b., pp. 228ff. (pp. 317ff. in the English translation by Stanton Coit, Ethics, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1932, cited hereafter as Ethics)].
See pp. 20ff. below.
Formalismus, p. 44 (Formalism, p. 22).
See p. 297f. below.
Formalismus, p. 35 (Formalism, p. 12) and p. 284f. above.
Formalismus, p. 41 (Formalism, p. 18).
Formalismus, p. 45 (Formalism, p. 22).
Edmund Husserl, Ideen I (and Ideas I) § 117. See also Ideen... Zweites Buch, Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution, ed. Marly Biemel, Husserliana Vol. 4 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1952), § § 4-7, pp. 10-17 as well as Alexander Pfänder, Zur Psychologie der Gesinnungen in Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung, Volume I, (Halle a.d. S., Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1913), pp. 342ff.
Formalismus, p. 123 (Formalism, p. 103)
Ibid., and p. 115 (p. 95).
Formalismus, p. 11 4ff. (Formalism, p. 94ff.). See also N. Hartmann's excellent discussion of this doctrine in Ethik, Ch. 27 d., pp. 255f. and his proposed alternative [Ch. 27 b. and c., pp. 251-254 (Ethics, Vol. II, Ch. II.b. and c. ) as well as Chs. 60 and 62 (Chs. xXXV and XXXVII of Ethics, Vol. II) of the same work] which seems more plausible by far. Hartmann does not, however, note the parallels between Scheler's own views and the transcendental subjectivism entailed in Kant's conception of practical reason that he had discussed in Ch. 11 (Ethics, Vol. I, Ch. XI) very largely on the basis of Scheler's critique of Kant.
Formalismus, pp. 114ff. (Formalism, p. 94ff.).
Formalismus, p. 116 (Formalism, p. 95f.).
Formalismus, p. 106 (Formalism, p. 86).
Formalismus, p. 115 (Formalism, p. 94f.).
That values are absolute in their ideal world or rank order would not imply that they are absolutely independent but only that they are "non-relatively" meaning by that simply that they are independent of any of their actual instances.
See p. 299f. above.
Formalismus, p. 118 (Formalism, p. 98).
Edmund Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen. Erster Band, Prolegomena zur Logik, ed. Elmer Haldenstein, Husserliana Vol. 18 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975) §§ 36-38 (and in L.I.).
Friedrich Nietzsche, § 55 of Der Antichrist in Friedrich Nietzsche, Werke in drei Bänden, ed. Karl Schlechta (Darmstadt: Wissenschafthche Buchgesellschaft, 1973), Vol. II, pp. 1223f.