Is there a set of absolute values – God-given, Krishna-given,
Allah-given – which should guide man's conduct and social
behavior? If so, which one? Or are values meaningless, as
Ayer has suggested? And if so, what does the word "value" stand for? To
answer each of these questions to the satisfaction of either the
normative or the non-cognitive school of thought will exclude the other
position. Yet, dialectically speaking, the existence of one implies the
existence of the other. Caught in the middle, the social scientist is
often inclined to avoid the issue by confining himself within an
operational system. Values, as realities of social life, become
structural ingredients of such systems, but their nature is
usually left undiscussed as beyond the confines of the system.
In the following pages a brief remedial attempt is
made in two directions - on one hand through an incursion into the
empirically elaborated theories of social systems, with an inquiry
about the organic nature of their concepts of values (a scrutiny, in a
way, of the link between the two components of Parsons'
value-orientation pattern/action system constellation); on the
other hand by an excursion from within the social sciences context
towards the metaethical normative and the positivist spheres. I am not
so much trying to get involved in a philosophical debate, as to explore
the possibilities of a synthesis which could hopefully throw some
light on the conceit of values as social phenomena. My approach is
"socio-phenomenological" in that I will examine "values-in-themselves,"
as realities of social experience. Of course, in both the
phenomenological and the social sense, "values-in-themselves" cannot be
dissociated from their existential reality.
It is in this dual context that I will deal with them here.
Man as an animal, and as a social animal, has certain patterns of
behavior conducive to the fulfillment of his physiological,
psychological, and sociological needs. For example, when he is hungry
he needs to eat, when he is tired he needs rest, when he is confined he
needs freedom, and when he is bondless he needs attachment. All along
he has "needs." And these needs are flexible, retractable, and
expandable. The Yogi of India can live on an almond a day, while the
Western man reaches for the moon. Within these broad limits some needs
may seem more justifiable than others. Caught in a blizzard, a man will
need a shelter lest he not survive. That need is imperative, while the
desire of the owner of a comfortable suburban house to upgrade his
dwelling into a mansion may be considered dispensable.
You may have noticed the word "need" in one case and "desire" in the
other. Although the two terms are often interchangeably used, in a
spectrum of wants ranging from imperative necessities to trivial
frivolities, we may call our longing for the former a need, and our
longing for the latter a desire. There is, of course, no clear-cut
dichotomy; and one term turns into the other depending on the social
context in which it is used. For example, the desire of the man to
replace his suburban home with a mansion may be classified as a need by
many people. If he has been promoted to the presidency of an important
firm, he may have to reside in a mansion to fulfill the social
obligations attached to his position. As it is in the interest of the
man caught in a blizzard to find shelter, so is it in the interest of
our executive and his firm to acquire a mansion. These interests
provide functional spheres making life and social life possible. When
we talk about "self-interest" or "national interest," we are referring
to functional spheres believed expedient for survival. I was tempted to
say "well-being" instead of "survival," for it is not a question of
mere existence, but the quality of it. In Aristotelian terms, the state
did not come about only for the sake of life, but for the sake of the good
The concept of good is, of course, in itself relative; but man claims
the faculty of choice, and that implies a scale of preferences.
Although we have elaborated no hierarchy of preferences so far, we have
implied an order of importance in which the immediate needs for
survival, such as food and shelter, seem to precede other needs. The
statement is obviously elementary. We know that, for example, through
the intervention of his intricate organism, man, like some other
animals, may renounce his food or his rest in the face of danger. In
fact, the history of mankind is filled with instances, like that of the
Japanese Kamikaze, where men have thrown their very lives onto scales
where conservation did not weigh the heavier. The loci of security and
conservation are at times displaced from individual security and
conservation to preservation of the group, nation, empire, fatherland,
principles, religion, or whatever the cause of the sacrifice. Faced
with the choice, man may prefer to die rather than renounce his
country, creed or ideology. The proposition is, of course, extreme. But
as long as the ultimate is not present, many will pretend to believe in
sacrifices they really would not be prepared to make. Nevertheless, man
is faced with choices, and in choosing he simultaneously conforms with
and participates in the elaboration of a scale of preferences in which
his very being, although certainly essential, may not always occupy the
If that is so, then is it that life and what is good for it are not the
key to the secret of man's preferential scale?
II. Problems of Interest-Value Dichotomy
To answer the question we may start by trying to detect differences in
the nature of the situations we have so far illustrated. We may notice,
for example, that what was described as the interest of the
newly elected president of the firm to upgrade his domicile could, in
the appropriate group context, correspond to certain "functional"
dimensions of social relations. On the other hand, it would be
difficult to explain the functionality of an individual's or a group's
sacrifice of its well-being and even its very existence for the defense
of an ideal. Such behavior does not seem to emanate from material and
functional motivations. It is non-rational and affectional in nature.
Although abstract, it does overlap and compete with the concrete and
material phenomena we have termed interests. In the scale of
preferences, it constitutes values as distinct from valuables.
When the believer donates his fortune to his church, he parts
with his valuables for his values. Without any attempt at a watertight
compartmentation, we may reasonably propose that while interests are
formulated more on the basis of functional-rational considerations,
values appear to pertain to the affectional-non-material dimensions of
human behavior. The distinction should be applied with caution, as
interests and values merge into each other and, as we shall see later,
generate and justify one another.
The concrete-abstract dichotomy between values and interests has
received different degrees of emphasis by different scholars. Fallding
distinguishes between value, which is the "generalized end that guides
behavior toward uniformity," and interest, which is sporadic.
Van Dyke treats them more or less as synonymous.
Still others, Easton for example, have
contained the concrete-abstract dichotomy within the different
connotations they have given, in different contexts, to the term
studies treat values simply as part of a means-end relationship.
Lasswell and Kaplan distinguish between two sets of values: welfare
values, those which are for the benefit of the individual (such as
health, wealth, and enlightenment); and deference values, those which
imply interpersonal position relationships (such as power, respect, and
affection). In this classification values may constitute
goals in themselves, or instruments to attain other values which then
become goals. Lasswell and Kaplan are concerned with values as of the
moment when they become perspectives and instruments in the context of
power, and circumscribe the definition of value to fit
Some philosophical schools have reduced the study of values to the
verifiable facts approach of logical positivism. Values do not
represent facts and therefore the philosopher can proceed to declare
them, as Ayer has done, non-sensical.
And legal positivists, like Kelsen in his Pure Theory of Law,
present us with a value-free concept of law basing its validity on a
system of norms.
Kelsen does not deny the existence of intangible, abstract values, but
considers that they lie beyond the purview of scientific inquiry.
A phenomenological examination cannot be limited to classifying values
into the perspectives and instruments of power and politics; we must
dare to penetrate that hazy, intangible realm which values inhabit. The
inquiry into abstract values may prove profitable by revealing
similarities with those more concrete values that are instrumental in
the power complex. Such a possibility may permit us to close the gap
between values and interests. However, our concern here is not so much
to discuss the metaethical dimension of values, but to scrutinize
values as social phenomena. We wish simply to ponder the what, the why,
and the how of values. It is in this frame of thought that our earlier
discussion of the interest-value dichotomy and the following treatment
of their insularity are elaborated.
In different schools of thought, the term "value" has been used with
connotations covering practically the whole spectrum from material
interests to sublime values. At the "interests" end of the
spectrum, where we speak of the ontological, functional, factual,
descriptive approach - the idea of interest as goods - the term
"value" (the valuable) is used in the material sense. It covers
physical, mathematical, and even social scientific quantification, such
as the Marxian treatment of surplus value. Along the spectrum we touch
on the teleological and utilitarian idea of good as that
defining the desirable end, in the material sense of seeking
pleasure and avoiding pain, but with implications of qualitative values
of happiness. Finally, at the other end of the spectrum we encounter
the "higher" level of values, which, in their full moral and ethical
connotation, may refer to deontological or affectional imperatives
defining an idea of good which is good in itself, beyond
matter and man, and towards which man should strive. We cannot, of
course, extend our use of the concept of value so broadly as to cover
all these connotations without getting involved in apparent
philosophical contradictions. If, however, we conduct our study at the
level of social phenomenology rather than metaethical inquiry, we may
avoid the contradictory levels of different arguments and hopefully
bring them around to some common ground.
Through the various philosophical approaches seems to run a thread
which makes their treatment of values meaningful for our purposes. For
example, even at the material level, where values are interpreted as
"goods," their conversion into property gives them a social valuational
dimension which we may retain for our discussion. Thus Locke goes all
the way back to Adam to give his concept of property religious and
putting it on a par with the right to life and liberty. Similarly, the
concept of utilitarians like Mill of
avoiding pain and seeking pleasure is not built on the simple premises
of satisfying primitive desires, but on the enjoyment of virtues and
the general collective happiness. This concept provides a social
valuational standard beyond individual interests, embracing virtue
and religious morals.
At the level of philosophical treatment of good-in-itself and intrinsic
values we can find premises equally conducive to a valuational
dimension of social significance. Thus Moore, whose search for "good in
itself" bore the fruit of his famous naturalistic fallacy, denying
metaethical naturalism's claim to goodness in the nature of things,
notably in pleasure as advanced by the utilitarians, does nevertheless
The tendency to preserve and propagate life and the desire of property,
seem to be so universal and so strong, that it would be impossible to
remove them; and, this being so, we can say that under any conditions
which could actually be given, the general observance of these rules
would be good as a means .... On any view commonly taken, it seems
certain that the preservation of civilized society, which these rules
are necessary to effect, is necessary for the existence, in any great
degree, of anything which may be held to be good in itself.
Here again Moore provides us with a social valuational dimension. It is
this dimension, whether it is converted from material "goods" or the
ethical "good," that we want to examine.
III. Problems of
Our earlier distinction between interests and values concerned the
degree of their finitude. An interest can be identified, formulated,
striven for, attained, and finally consummated. Once the object of
interest is procured, the goal is attained and the end is reached.
While other similar interests may arise in time for the same
individual, they will all be different and separably definable in
means-ends terms. But values like love, patriotism, and piety, are not
ends attainable once and for all. Values that imply finite ends
eventually fall into the functional category and are therefore closer
to interests. A value must continuously be affirmed. An act of faith,
for example, does not absolve the actor of his faith, but merely
manifests the belief that lies beyond and that continues even after the
act is over. The goal is beyond the act, and because of the very act,
beyond the actors. In contrast to the functionally definable interests,
values lie in the affectional sphere. They are values because they can
only be approximated functionally. If they were attained, if they were
consummated, they would cease to be values. In the words of Sartre,
"Value is always and everywhere the beyond of all surpassings."
The ultimate effort of man in the sphere of his value is to be consumed
towards its attainment, as were the Christians facing the lions in
Rome, the burning Buddhist monks in Saigon, and the Kamikazes.
Different natures and dimensions of interest-value relationships can
fit our model. For example, speaking of commercial profit as an
interest, fair play and honesty as values, and wealth as a goal; or of
defense, patriotism, and glory as interest, value, and goal
respectively, we may visualize our model as follows:
Man's behavior, then is motivated by a pattern of interacting and
intermingling functional material interests and affectional
transcendental values. Some interests are more directly goal-oriented
and value-free, while others, in an increasingly transcendental scale,
are polarized and value-laden. As observed earlier, the gradation from
functionally goal-oriented interests to transcendental values does not
necessarily parallel the gradation from man's physiological needs for
survival to his metaphysical sublimations. The very goal-directed
physiological needs may themselves be conditioned by values. Between
the appeal to a prostitute for satisfaction of the sexual drive, a
functional extreme, and the romantic love which may culminate in
sacrifice, there is a wide spectrum of interest-value combinations. Not
only are these patterns not identical for different individuals, but
they may be different for the same individual under different
How do these patterns of behavior come about? To answer this it may be
helpful to shift our focus to the "social" part of the "social animal."
The group as the unit of identification needs to set a pattern of
behavior for its members in order to secure its cohesion. The
togetherness of the group under given conditions presupposes
already the existence of a group pattern of behavior. But both that
pattern and the togetherness may be caused by the given conditions
which may be external to the group. For the group to secure its
continuity despite the given conditions and not because of them, the
pattern of social behavior of its components should be instilled
(ingrained) in them. The wider and profounder the bases of
communication and communion, the more stable and long-lasting will the
group members' sense of belonging be. But what is the content of
communications, and what fills communion?
The survival of the group, the security of its existence, and its
interests in the material and functional sense depend on the conviction
of its members as to the validity of the group itself. This validity
must be more than the sum total of the private material and functional
interests of the components of the group. Without such a transcendent
validity, there would be no sense in risking one's life as a patriotic
soldier on the front.
pattern of behavior is enveloped in a sense of "oughtness," making
conflicting interests reconcilable and giving the individual a sense of
values. To create this sense of values, in its
process of socialization the group appeals to certain ingredients of
human nature, and matches certain affectional dimensions and
transcendental feelings - values -with functional premises that provide
for material interests. For example, paternal love provides heritage,
faith maintains the church, and patriotism secures the existence of the
Appeal is made to man's non-rational and affectional inclinations to
reinforce and coordinate the interests which are functional from the
point of view of group rationale, but which may not always directly
coincide with the individual rationales of its members. When a man is
hungry, he wants to eat, and he must eat to survive. But if he belongs
to a primeval superstitious group, and the available food is a totem
animal, and he eats it, he may go into convulsions and die a voodoo
In this extreme example the organism responds to the supernatural value
more intensely than to the material interest. The values of the group
act on the group member as stimuli and go through his organism, which
processes them before responding. The more the value is straightforward
and recognizable as a value, and its impact regulated and controlled,
the less will the organism be confused in its response. The efficacy of
the value will depend on how well the organism has been conditioned to
give the desired response to it.
The voodoo death is the extreme of such conditioning, but it helps us
demonstrate rather dramatically the vast gap that can exist between
values and interests. The taboo on sacred food emphasizes the value
that safeguards the group's structure. But groups are not
amorphous, and in the last analysis, their interests and structures
should reflect the interests of their members. In the words of Latham,
"Groups exist for the individuals who belong to them, by his membership
in them the individual fulfills personal values and felt needs."
If certain values instilled in group members can be detrimental to
their interest in physiological survival and security of livelihood,
then they must correspond to some other drives of the individual
members. If order and justice are prerequisites for the continuity of
the group, it is because they are manifestations of man's inner need
for predictability. If for cohesiveness the group develops a sense of
identity and communion among its members, it is because it can appeal
to man's psychological need for contact comfort and belonging. And if
the supernatural belief can bring about a voodoo death, it is that
there exists within man a drive to search and fear the unknown. Thus,
despite the gap between them, both values and interests are phenomena
relating to the reality of man and his basic needs and drives.
If man's drives are the raw material for both his values and interests,
then their common origin may imply an organic relationship between the
two. What kind of organic relationship can that be?
IV. Interest-Orienting Properties of Values
Man's drives and the search for their proper sources of satisfaction
are generated by his consciousness of lacks, whether of food,
attachment, or eternity. As we saw earlier, an interest is the
formulation of a want and the move towards filling the lacuna. But if
the move is haphazard, different interests may - and in a social
context are bound to - come into conflict, jeopardizing the social
pattern conducive to the satisfaction of the drives. The passage from
interests to goals will therefore need some sort of orientation,
like the molecular magnets in a steel bar which are randomly oriented
when unmagnetized, but which line up parallel from one pole to another
Values provide the field for this orientation of interests. But as
molecular magnets are the same before and after magnetization, except
for their charge and their direction in the magnetic field, so are
interests before and after orientation, except that some have been
sublimated by values. What we said earlier about the appeal that is
made to the non-rational, affectional dimensions of man to direct the
rational and functional should be completed by the statement that
the appeal is not the point of departure of a relationship between two
properties otherwise foreign to each other. There is no such abstract,
independent value as patriotism and another totally separate entity as
a fatherland; rather the two are coupled to create an interest-value
constellation which gives meaning to man's need for territorial
belonging. The organic relationship between the affectional and its
corresponding functional - the value that orients the interest - is
causal. Interests and values grow on and into each other. We are thus
closing the gap between values and interests, but not to the extent
pure interest theories do. Values and interests are not totally
identical. To say that they are identical is like saying that
flashlight beams and laser beams are the same because both are the
propagation of light by photons, ignoring the proportionality of
their energy and frequency. Transferring our simple metaphor, we
may say that values are the conversion of interests beyond apparent
recognition. Like the laser and the flashlight, values and interests
are similar up to a certain point of frequency, intensity, and
concentration, but beyond that, the phenomenon reveals different
impacts and consequences. Liking and wanting become loving - the
extrapolation of the ego. The interest in security and survival becomes
We used the analogy of a magnetic field to explain the orienting
directing characteristics of values, and we used the intensity and
frequency of laser photons to illustrate their impact and penetration.
In physical terms, the process of the projection of photons in a laser
is distinct from the magnetic phenomenon. Yet the visualization of a
value system as providing a "magnetic" field to orient interest-goal
movements and thereby create a forward impetus is not necessarily
contradictory for our purposes. Let us, in our first analogy of the
magnetic field, conceptualize a magnetic flow between a pole and an
opposite outside pole, such as a compass needle and the magnetic field
of the earth:
We may then visualize the value-interest constellation, in the process
of providing an orientation within a closed magnetic field,
accelerating and projecting the motivational flow of some towards a
point beyond the closed circuit, comparable to the flow of photons in a
This flow, which we
explained earlier as the consummation towards the attainment of the
value, can be appropriately illustrated by the photons which on
reaching their target are annihilated and become energy.
further from our laser analogy, when man's behavior is strictly
controlled and directed with intensity within a field of values, he is
capable of deeds and behavior otherwise beyond the common realm of
human achievement, such as the sacrifice of the Kamikaze or the early
Christian or Moslem believer. Like the laser, in the process of
orientation and intensification, values narrow their field and isolate
the subject from his surroundings. But our illustration does not follow
the metaphor to the end, because, unlike the laser, the consequences of
valuational rigidity may, for example, turn faith into fanaticism and
fanaticism into superstition, thus reducing the efficacy and
penetrating properties of values and increasing the group's
examples of intense value orientations so far mentioned have been
chosen because of their social and political relevance. There are, of
course, other instances, such as conscious concentration in value
orientation, which also lead to uncommon achievements. We now have
scientific proof that at a high level of religious meditation, man can
transcend toward the sublime in consciousness. Recent experiments by
the application of the electroencephalograph on Zen and Yogi meditators
have shown the possibilities of controlled alpha waves in the brain and
consequent attainment of peaceful plenitude. Discussion of such
dimensions is beyond the purview of this paper, but just consider their
possible future political implications as alternatives to Orwell's 1984.
Interest-Justifying Properties of Values
Our discussion of the need for a field to regulate the passage from
drives to satisfaction within the group implied the likelihood of clash
between different interests in the absence of a value field. The
Hobbesian state of nature would tremendously reduce the chance for
drives to receive satisfaction. Without the field of values, the
eventuality of filling the lacuna would be scarce, whether the basic
material for fulfillment was abundant or not. Maybe we should emphasize
that the idea of a lack does not necessarily refer to an absence, but
rather to the consciousness of its possibility. It is not, therefore,
so much the intrinsic abundance or scarcity of a supply, but man's
subjective want and consciousness of that want that provide grounds for
the formulation of interests, elaboration of their orderly orientation,
and their sublimation into values. Man's subjective perception of a
want, independent of the abundance or scarcity of its supply, implies
that a lacuna can be produced, displaced, magnified or reduced by the
intervention of values.
As before, we use the concept of lack and scarcity globally: it may
refer to a physiological lack such as water or food, or to man's
longing for immortality. The orienting properties of values suggest an
influence over the formulation of interests. The orderly orientation
provided by values will, of course, bring about control over the
hypothetical loose and direct passage from wants to satisfactions which
may have existed in the state of nature. It provides a field which, in
the social context, regulates the passage of drives towards the filling
of the lacuna. But if you look at the position of the arrows in Figure
3(b), you will notice that in the field provided by values, both wants
and the direction of their fulfillment are modified from their original
state of nature position as shown in Figure 3(a). That is why in Figure
2, which was originally inspired by the concept of the magnetic
field, we placed needs and goals as we did - at a lag.
The social unit, the individual (illustrated by arrows representing the
molecular magnet in Figures 3(a) and (b) and 6) might have been only a
short distance from the satisfaction factor for a given need in the
state of nature - with a small chance of getting it, to be sure, but at
a short distance nevertheless. Once in the field provided by values, he
may have to go through a whole social process without necessarily
touching on what could have been the original source of his
satisfaction, which, as our illustration suggests, may lie aside from
the path which his values provide for his behavior.
Of course, the stronger the field created by the value system in its
orienting properties, the more irrelevant our statement about
modification of interests and goals. When the field created by values
is not strong enough, the subject, feeling the pull of his original
drives and goals, may have inclinations to deviate in order to satisfy
them in a value-free, state of nature way. But as the draw of the value
field grows in intensity, it overshadows the original drive, which will
then have to be taken less and less into account. The lacks that the
individual seeks to fill in the social context cannot always be
satisfied by nearby sources. Man has sexual drives, for example, but
the incest taboo makes his progeniture inaccessible to him. A supply
may be intrinsically abundant, but may be made scarce and its
attainment subject to certain values in order to regulate its social
distribution and to create motivations beneficial for group interests
within the members of the group.
Values will obviously also influence those areas where the supply is
intrinsically scarce. There, the orientation provided by values is even
more crucial, since there is not enough for everybody. The value system
must orient interests towards their goals so as to explain and justify
the multiple standards which will permit the attainment of certain
goals by some and not by others. The value system has to supply comfort
and compensation for those interests which have been allotted lesser
satisfactions. There again, depending on the impact of the value
system, we have to qualify our statement about the scarcity of the
resources which do not provide enough for everybody, because if the
value orientation reaches a certain point of intensity, our statement
becomes irrelevant. The ideal situation can be hypothesized as one
where the value system is so well adapted to the social pattern that
each interest will flow towards its own goal orientation and will find
its difference from others justified. It is when a value system leaves
loose ends that the feeling of uneven apportionments becomes acute and
threatening, for it thus creates frustrations and unfulfillable
expectations, reducing its effectiveness for the cohesion of the group.
A value system, then, may be said to be a framework within which
differentiations can find their justification. The differentiations in
turn, if the value system is efficient, provide the scale required for
justifying discrepancies and setting standards. In other words, not
only does the value system orient, adjust, and explain the place and
domain of different interests, their title to different resources, and
the conditions for the attainment of certain goals, but it is in itself
the system of those standards. The revelations of the eternal, the
Vedic caste system, and the mercantile doctrine serve their social
functions through their value charges. By converting the functional
into the affectional, values justify interests and their discrepancies
and attenuate their conflicts. (By the same token, conflicting values
enhance interest conflicts.) Interests in general, and sometimes some
of them in particular, promote values. Of course, not all interests are
value-laden. The difference between values and interests resides in
their intensity and the possibility of their attainment. Values are
more intense and less negotiable. Interests compromise and negotiate on
their way towards their ends.
The interrelatedness of values and interests becomes apparent when
conflicting interests find it time to compromise, while values
justifying them lag behind. In such cases the mechanism is set to
modify, reshape, water down, and disregard the values, or to
reinterpret and re-explain them in the light of other superior values.
Societies imbued with principles of free enterprise, for instance, have
resorted to government control of the economy, such as anti-trust laws,
to ward off crises inherent in their system of values, while regimes
based on Communist ideals have adopted methods of liberal economy. On
the international level, those who had fought Fascism a few years
earlier accommodated Fascist Franco in the face of the superior
Communist threat of the Soviet Union, which itself was transformed
later into a negotiating partner and turned away from its former ally,
China, accused of and accusing misinterpretation of Communist values.
The latter, after twenty-five years of being an outcast of American
moral standards, was visited by the President of the United States. The
list is endless, as it is the very history of mankind.
VI. Metaphysical and Material Variations of Values
While the evolution and the transformation of values comprise the
history of mankind, they are not obvious processes of everyday life;
otherwise the dichotomy between values and interests would become
hardly distinguishable. Values, in their intensity and irreductibility
are latent to change. That is why interests are turned into values for
their mainstay. However, the mobility of the modern world, enhancing
rapid changes, develops variegated value structures and attenuates some
of the transcendency, intensity, irreductibility, and therefore latency
of values. In a way, the dwindling of values in the modern society,
which provides greater material possibilities for diversified
interests, reduces the gap between values and interests. This, to some
extent, explains the interchangeable use of the two terms by modern
philosophy and social science. But the modern world is only a fraction
of the world, and much of what goes on in the transitional and
traditional societies, which are far from attaining the economic
standards to satisfy their material interests, cannot be understood
without the concept of values as discussed in the last pages. Besides,
even the modern world is facing a crisis of values. By
confounding values and interests, the modern man empties his beyond of
its substance. Yet values, besides justifying social and material
interests, are dimensions of human needs in themselves: If there were
no God, man would have created one.
The question arises as to whether there is a correlation between the
material development of a society and the nature of its values. In a
primeval subsistence economy, as Redfield says, "Gaining a livelihood
takes support from religion, and the relations of men to men are
justified in the conception held of the supernatural world or in some
other aspect of the culture."
In more complex societies, appeals to salvationist religions are made
more by the deprived groups whose unfavorable material conditions in
this world are made bearable by the promises of compensation in the
When material conditions become favorable and provide for good living,
the focus of attention turns from the beyond to within. The apogees of
Greek, Persian, Roman, Chinese and Indian cultures had material traits
similar to modern Western civilization. However, they differed from
modern Western civilization in that their material abundance often
turned the appeal to the supernatural for livelihood into superstitious
rituals. In other words, material abundance alone does not reduce the
supernatural values to materialistic ideologies. For that a dimension
of empirical scientific inquiry is needed.
The modern Western culture turned to scientific materialism with the
decline of natural law doctrine and the age of enlightenment. Together
with the fruits of the industrial revolution, progress, and the ideals
of social justice, material well-being (the good life) became the
ultimate goal. Life was worth living and became a value in itself. And
the value polarization of interests on the way to their goals was
conducted within a comparatively closed circuit, of which the sanctity
of human life and being was the approximation rather than consummation
for the beyond. It is in this context that objective relativism deals
with values. But the man who, striving for power and deference,
rationalizes and wraps his drive in his great concern for public
may himself become wrapped up in his own rationalization, a process
which lays grounds for modern values: ideas, ideals, and ideologies.
This is the process which produces public figures like Jefferson,
Robert Owen, Sun Yat-Sen, and Gandhi, who subordinated their own power
position to their dedication to their cause.
Despite the relatively closed curve of their value-interest
constellation, even the modern scientific, empirical, and material
contexts do then provide value-building processes. We may, therefore,
conclude that values are phenomena of man's reality of existence and
life experience in their own right; and that whatever the process,
whether through the supernatural idea of the holy or the ideological
rationalization for the righteousness of a cause, values provide for
the fulfillment of man's affectional and nonrational dimensions.
Through values man makes sense of himself and of his environment.
Psychology and social psychology have even provided us with means to
diagnose value deficiencies. Durkheim called the symptom anomie.
 This is an abridged version of a paper
delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science
Association in Chicago, 1971.
 Talcott Parsons, The Social System
(Glencoe, Ill., 1951). The reader will notice the constant
implication of Parsons' theories in this paper. For the sake of
brevity, I have avoided footnoting the numerous references which would
have become cumbersome.
 The term "phenomenology" has received
a broad usage - from the transcendental phenomenology of Husserl to
existential phenomenology of Sartre in philosophy, the biological
phenomenology of Uexküll, the cultural phenomenology of Cassirer
and the social phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and Schutz. Here we are
employing the term to emphasize the human reality of values and hence
their social reality. See notably our later Sartrian-inspired treatment
of value as that which is "beyond all surpassings" and "the lacked."
 Aristotle, Politics, Ch. V.
 See, for example, Clyde Kluckhohn and
others, "Value and Value Orientation in the Theory of Action," in
Talcott Parsons and Edward A. Shils, Toward a General Theory of
Action (Cambridge, Mass., 1951), pp. 388-433, where a distinction
is made between the desired and the desirable, with value being the
explicit or implicit conception of the latter, p. 395.
 Harold Fallding, "Empirical Study of
Values," American Sociological Review, 30 (April, 1965), pp.
 Vernon Van Dyke, "Values and
Interests," in APSR, 56 (Sept., 1962), pp. 567-576, also
his International Politics (New York, 1966), p. 8.
 When Easton suggests that "political
science be described as the study of the authoritative allocation of
values for a society" he refers to "certain things" that "are
denied to some people and made accessible to others." (The
Political System, New York, 1953, pp. 129-130. My italics.) The
"values" he is talking about here are "things." They are different from
the concept he adopts later in another context where he says, "Values
are expressions of our preferences and essentially dissimilar to
factual aspects of propositions." (The Political System, p. 222.)
They differ also from the "regime values" with which he identifies
ideologies, doctrines, and social philosophies underlying political
practices. (A Systems Analysis of Political Life, New York,
1965, pp. 194 ff.)
 Harold D. Lasswell and Abraham Kaplan,
Power and Society, (New Haven, 1950), notably pp. 55-56.
 The treatment of religion and mention
of its relevance to political order in a footnote is indicative of this
approach. Lasswell and Kaplan, p. 194.
 Lasswell and Kaplan, Introduction, pp.
ix-xxiv. On the question of means-end limitations of values, see also
Gunnar Myrdal, Values in Social Theory, ed. Paul Streeten
(Evanston, 1958), Ch. X.
 For a representative exposition of
this approach, see Alfred Jules Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic (New
York, 1946), notably Ch. VI, pp. 102-119, and also pp. 20-22 of his
Introduction, where he defends his approach. See also his somewhat
modified approach in "Man as a subject for Science," in Peter Laslett
and W. G. Runciman, eds., Philosophy, Politics and Society (New
York, 1967), pp. 6-24.
 Hans Kelsen, Pure Theory of Law, trans.
Max Knight (Berkeley, 1967).
 John Locke, Treatise of Civil
Government, Ch. V.
 See John Stuart Mill,
Utilitarianism, Ch. II; also Ch. V.
 George Edward Moore, Principia
Ethica (Cambridge, 1903), pp. 157-158.
 P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans.
Hazel E. Barnes (New York, 1966), p. 144.
 See Ralph Barton Perry, The Moral
Economy (New York, 1937), pp. 9-16. See also his General
Theory of Value (London, 1926); Fritz Heider, The Psychology
of Interpersonal Relations (New York, 1958), pp. 225-229; S. C.
Pepper, The Sources of Value (Berkeley, 1958). Pepper makes a
critical analysis of Perry's General Theory of Values in Ch. 9.
 See, for example, W. B. Cannon,
"Voodoo Death," in American Anthropologist, 44 (1942), p. 169;
C. P. Richter, "On the Phenomenon of Sudden Death in Animals and Man,"
in Psychosomatic Medicine, 19 (1957), pp. 191-198: and Robert
A. LeVine, "The Internalization of Political Values in Stateless
Societies," in Human Organization, 14 (1960), pp. 51-58.
 Earl Latham, "The Group Basis of
Politics: Notes for a Theory," American Political Science Review,
 For some empirical data, see Clyde
Kluckhohn, "Have There Been Discernible Shifts in American Values
During the Past Generation,?" in Elting E. Morison, ed., The
American Style: Essays in Value and Performance (New York, 1958),
 Robert Redfield, "The Folk Society," American
Journal of Sociology, January, 1947, pp. 293-308.
 B. Berelson and G. A. Steiner, Human
Behavior (New York, 1964), p. 394.
 Harold Lasswell, Power and
Personality (New York, 1948), pp. 21-38.