Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 95, 2021

The Diakonia of Truth

Joseph Gamache
Pages 91-103

Hildebrandian Importance as a Scale of Forms
Why Value is Properly a Philosophical Concept

The present work argues that value is a properly philosophical concept, the study and understanding of which therefore requires philosophical inquiry. It does so by bringing together two, quite different, philosophers: R. G. Collingwood and Dietrich von Hildebrand. From the former, this work takes its account of what differentiates philosophical concepts. From the latter, it takes the concept of importance as differentiated into intrinsic value, objective goodness, and subjective satisfaction. After explicating the distinctive features of philosophical concepts (the intensional overlap of their classes and their situation on a “scale of forms”), it argues that, despite prima facie difficulties, von Hildebrand’s categories of importance can be arrayed as a scale of forms, in which the categories of importance are not only differences in kind, but also differences in degree. The overall result is one illustration of how philosophers can argue for philosophy’s special domain of competence.