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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 9, 2006

Philosophical Anthropology

Hans Lenk
Pages 77-90

On an Interpretive Definition of the Concepts of Value and of their Descriptive and Normative Uses

Values are essentially interpretive: they can, even must be interpreted and can and should be understood as (somehow socially or personally standardized) interpretive constructs of a specific kind and according to different types to be distinguished and classified within an hierarchical typology. There is a special connection between values and actions as well as their characteristic of being related to their ascription to persons, goods, events etc. This connection is indeed covered, borne or carried out by interpretation. In fact, any ascription of a value concept or predicate whatsoever is dependent on a structure and hierarchy of normative and in part descriptive schemes of at times conventional and dispositional scheme-interpretations. Generally speaking, the thesis is that the methodological model of interpretive constructs (scheme-interpretationism) can be thoroughly applied to the concept and usage of values. Social values are then in this sense socially originated, institutionally sanctioned or standardized interpretational constructs of a social character, notably for social comparisons in using and establishing preferences for a kind of (limited) uniformity and expectability and predictability of social behavior and actions.

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