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The Phenomenon of Values in the Axiology and in the History


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International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration
Volume 7, Issue 2, January 2021, Pages 7-13

The Phenomenon of Values in the Axiology and in the History

DOI: 10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.72.1001
URL: https://doi.org/10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.72.1001

1Victor Kryukov, 2Vladimir Kicheev, 3Helen Sotnikova

1,2,3 Department of Legal and Social Sciences, Siberian State University of Geosystems and Technologies. Russia

Abstract: The article offers a version of understanding values as elements of culture. As a fundamental idea, Adam Smith accepted the classical theory of labor value, but with a significant generalization of this idea from the economic context as a special case to the general theoretical level of social philosophy, in which values are understood as products of both practical and intellectual activity. The principle of social egocentrism and interpretation of the main categories of values, versions of the philosophy of history as a process in which the values of culture arise and are modified are also proposed are also considered.

Keywords: Value, Product of labour, Person, Thing, Sing, Institution, Philosophy of history.

The Phenomenon of Values in the Axiology and in the History

1. Introduction

1.1 Prolegomena

The body of philosophical knowledge called axiology (Greek ἀξία – value, and λόγος – word, theory) deals with the issue of values. Everything created by people, that is the results of their work, is valuable because people can not remain indifferent to the products of their labor. If I spent part of myself, my time, my energy, my talent to create some thing or any idea, then in them, as in the mirror, I see myself. I am biased towards the products of my labor as to incarnation of myself, embodiment into flesh, objectifying of my ideas, to the results of my labor, I admire them, or turn away from them, I love them or hate them, I see something mine or someone else’s in them, i.e. created by other people, and not for me, and thus, alien and strange, and perhaps hostile (Kryukov 2016).

In existential (Lat. existentia) aspect, the value consciousness has an emotional nature, and therefore it is binary, dual: “yes – no”, “good – bad”, “well – evil”. However, values are not personal, but social in nature and they are components of social psychology, and therefore, in social ontology, they are social emotions, i.e. experiences that have acquired a social character.

In the essential (Lat. essentia) aspect of values, it is permissible to formulate the principle of social egocentrism: I value something else because in this other I see myself; I cannot remain indifferent to myself. Everything else in society is myself in the transformed form of the product of my activity, the result of my efforts, and, consequently, I myself am in the external – an objectified, embodied form. Of course, the pronoun “I” is used here more figuratively: I am a man. But in the everyday sense this principle is fully applicable to each of us, including me personally.

2. Development

2.1 Values as Elements of Culture

In regard to the values, it is acceptable to formulate the principle of social egocentricism: I appreciate anything else, because there I see myself, and I can not remain indifferent to myself. Everything else in society is myself in a converted form of the product of my work, the result of my efforts, and, therefore, it is me in the outer, i.e. objectified, materialized form. Of course, the pronoun “I” is used here in a more figurative way: I is a human. But in everyday sense, this principle is fully applicable to each of us, including me personally.

To nominate the value, we can formulate the following definition: the value is a measure of the cost of physical or spiritual efforts of human to the creation or development of elements of the natural or social environment (Kryukov, 2018).

Firstly, it is not about how many calories a person spends in the process of creating a product. Take a sculptor: he works physically very hard, but the result of his work is the artistic image. On the other hand, a person can spend some minutes, so it seems. For example, Byron or Shakespeare could write an impromptu ballad or sonnet. But to write a valuable line, it took them years and years of the formation of the poet’s personality, improving poetic skill and blossoming of the talent.

Secondly, it should be noted that the mastering of whatsoever – natural or cultural – is also a very time-consuming activity. Think of yourself when you become comfortable with new shoes bought in the store; or wearing a “too tight” new dress or pants that do not perfectly fit; the “disturbance” with the fingers when you just started to learn how to use the computer keyboard. To master a thing   means stop noticing it, to achieve such a state that it does not interfere, to make the thing become a part of yourself. I remember being in the first form when we were taught to hold pens for writing. The wooden sticks with crew quills seemed to be millstones to us; fingers went numb, and we stuck out our tongues and panted with the effort to write hooks and ovals. But months and years passed by and here I do not notice a pen in my fingers: the movement became automatic, the stereotypes work, the fingers do not need to be controlled – literacy became mine: it went into the shadows, and I stopped to notice it. It is akin to me and became a continuation of the hand.

Thirdly, mastering occurs equally in respect of the natural objects as well as the artificial culture products. If nature initially appears as something external and alien, the alien and external to society is something that has been created by other people, but it may become mine, if I spend time, effort and will to master it. I learn from other people to repair anything in the house; I read books written by other unfamiliar to me people; I admire the images created by strangers; finally, I suffer or become happy, depending on how a piece of art influences me, whether social environment helps me achieve something in life or creates obstacles.

The values are binary in their modality, i.e. they can have both positive and negative sides for the people, that is why all values appear in pairs: good and evil, beauty and ugliness, glory and shame, honor and dishonor, fairness and self-will, justice and voluntarism, etc. However, negative values are values too, because humans also create them, so the term “anti-values”, which can be found in different contexts, is no more than a figure of speech.

The anti-values are like antimatter in physics: it is the same substance but differs only in the electric charge of the micro particles. However, like matter and antimatter, values of positive and negative charges annihilate, destroy each other in a collision.

Karl Marx introduced a great formula: human works together with others even when apparently, he’s doing it alone. Take as an example the hero of the novel by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Once on an uninhabited island, Robinson built a house there, shepherded a herd of goats, cultivated the field and made boats. Moreover, with him the storm cast ashore a toolbox, but he had to be able to use these instruments of labor! Therefore, it can be argued behind working Robinson had been a huge crowd of people who had invented ax and saw, had thought of a way of building houses and had selected varieties of cereals, which eventually were grown, had brought up Robinson and, more importantly, had taught him to hew and saw, to build and to plow, to shepherd and to shoot, to boil and to fry: in short, to live actively! Hence the principle of Marx is that labor as a specifically human activity has a public character.

2.2 The Types of Values

Typology of the social values unfolds in the social square: four components of the structure of the social system. They are people, things, signs, and institutions (Kryukov, 2014).

People are reasonable human beings, who become like this due to mastering things as a result of practice. Man refers to things objectively, i.e. he identifies the vital, essential content in them, makes the object of activity an item of production. People are themselves products of labor of their parents, grandparents, nannies and caregivers, teachers and educators, masters and tutors, lecturers and professors. And since education of a human requires a lot of time and effort of many people, man is the most labor-intensive product, and therefore the greatest value, which type is nominated as personalized (Lat. persona).

Things are artificial objects, created by people as a result of processing of natural materials, made from these materials to meet the vital needs of people. These are values, bearing the imprint of human attachments and leadings to achieve human goals. People acquire human quality solely by virtue of the mastering of things, and things become artificial solely by virtue of the creation and mastering of them by a human. Since a man does not do anything “for no special reason”, and all his actions have a very definite meaning, i.e. the purpose as the idea of the future as the product of labor, the artificial things unlike fragments of nature are informative, because in wo is present invisibly (Implicitly! Virtually!) a human himself. Due to the fact that things are designed to meet our material needs, i.e. needs in matter and energy, they form a special type of values: utilitarian (Lat. utilita – use) values.

People and things are the primary elements of society. However, on the basis of primary cells arise secondary elements of society or turned forms of people and things. Institutions and signs act as such.

Institutions (Lat. institutum – establishment) are organizational forms of social life, the aggregate social roles as matrices of human behavior, where these roles are represented as transformed, i.e. people modified into secondary product. Assume that there is a certain social role: for example, a post of a Dean of the Faculty. So, there are service instructions defining all actions to the dean, defining his rights and responsibilities, and it is a form. Who will do it – John Smith or anyone else – is important, but under the indispensable condition of performance of these official functions. There is a human as a “natural person” like any of us; and there is a human as a “legal person”, i.e. an official in the office, a defendant in court, a deputy in Congress, etc. A human as a legal person behaves not as he would like to, but as he has to. This is a social role (Kryukov, 2016).

We all play a variety of social roles on a daily basis. Having come to the university, you are a student or professor. Out into the street you are a pedestrian. Having got the bus, you are a passenger. Having come home, you are a son or a father, a husband or a son in law, and in each case there are different rules of conduct: one can be rude to one’s mother-in-law, but not to one’s wife; one can to command a son, but not the mother, etc. Social roles and social status define the person as they are usually recorded in the documents. The fact that the person is a citizen of the state is certified with a passport; a diploma confirms the completion of higher education; special certificate proves that a person is a professor. Thus, the document is a form of objectification of social roles.

Similarly, public institutions themselves are objectified and reified more often. A university has not only legal, but also actual address, academic buildings, sports center, cultural center, campus and so on. All of it is not just a property, but the “body” of this organization. On the pediment of the entrance to the main building large letters make up the name of the organization, in all buildings, there are plates with the name of the University, on the doors of classrooms and offices, there are pointers of what is located there, or what kind of officer works in. So the space of the university is organized.

Everywhere, there are the indicator boards showing the start and finish of services, office hours of the officials or there is also a timetable of lectures and seminars at the dean’s office. So, the work of the university is organized. All institutions are functioning likewise: shops and cafés, administrative bodies and cultural institutions, and so on. We can never confuse a function of two adjacent buildings in the city center: City Hall and the theatre. Architecture structures clearly tell us: here is the theater!

Signs are the representants of things. If the word “presentation” means “submission”, showing, and the prefix “re” means “again”, “once more”. When we show someone not the thing itself, but what replaces it, we use the sign. In science of signs – semiotics (Greek, sema – sign pointer), there is the basic definition of sign: it is a thing that stands for another thing. It is in this sense we say that the sign is transformed, i.e. secondary form of things.

Signs form the spiritual culture of society. Spirituality implies a significant level of intelligence. It is a special intellectual state of man, when the mind is in harmony with senses, what we call wisdom. Spirituality and intelligence are two interrelated concepts. Spirituality is the intellectual wealth of a person. Intelligence is one of the steps to spirituality. At the same time, spirituality is a kind of the highest quality of intelligence, when it is able to use the knowledge obtained exclusively for humane purposes (Zahovaeva, 2017).

Spiritual culture exists in the synthesis of two elements:

1) In the form of the spiritual core of the personality (worldview, creativity).

2) In the form of the products themselves (spiritual values) – books, paintings, i.e. a kind of “materialization of ideas”. Spiritual culture is valuable. Spiritual value in culture is the result of synthesis of intellectual and aesthetic human activity, what has become recognized in this society, in the space-time continuum of culture (Zahovaeva, 2017, p.114).

What are the signs for? In Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, there is a wonderful episode when Lemuel Gulliver finds himself on the flying island of Laputa. Where he, among other things, meets a group of philosophers, skeptics, who are struggling with the ambiguity and even polysemanticism in language; for example, when we say the word “hand”, then what actually do we mean? What is it: a part of the body at the end of the arm, consisting of a thumb, four fingers, and a palm? The cards dealt to one or all players in one round of a card game? A pointer on a dial, indicator, or gauge, especially in a clock? Or we come in the hours of attendance and ask if is it possible to see Mr. Whatshisname? And his secretary answers: he is not here and will not be! What does it mean? Who, then, is the head of the department? The meaning of words and expressions are detected in the contexts, but Laputa skeptics started to solve the problem radically. They suggested to opt out of words and point the finger at the right thing, or show it to the interlocutor, so to speak, “live”.

It turned out that skeptical philosophers at first filled their pockets with all sorts of gizmos, then began to drag behind the knapsacks and sacks with various objects, but then took the hand carts and finally cartloads of different stuff. And what if the thing we want to speak about is very heavy and non-transportable, is far away or left in the past and now it has disappeared? What we have to be done? Of course, as a satirist, Swift caricatured the situation, but philosophers-skeptics really existed in ancient Greece, for example, Pyrrho, but the Greeks did not reach such extremes as in Laputa (Kryukov, 2016).

Meanwhile, some skeptics were right somewhere. If any sign of things figuratively “acts on behalf of”, it is quite possible to argue that the authentic in the origin of signs is the autosemiotic relation, namely: everything is a sign of itself. Indeed, if in a shop window we see a hat, we understand that this store sells hats and in it you can buy a hat and a cap, and a panama. If we see on the road at the side of the pedestal a battered car, then we are likely the slow down on a dangerous part of the road. If we see the installed sculpted statues of buffalo and bear in front of a building, it is clear that this a stock exchange, and not a hotel or a swimming pool.

Signs are invented when auto-semiotic relation is difficult or even impossible to implement; then, people create new things, the only purpose of which is to represent the first kind things that we can not have themselves, but of which we can know, that is to have an idea about them, their image. Correlating with the latter, we will be able to understand what is mean.

You can use anything you like as signs: sounds, images, smells, gestures, but symbols (Greek σήμα – semion, Lat. symbolon – sign, contrast) are the most commonly used as specifically designed and well adapted to meet the challenges of communication, exchange of signs.

Symbol is not a part of the subject, as indication signs, say, traces on the ground or fingerprints on the surface of things, even though such signs are professional interest of criminalists. Symbol is not a “portrait” of things like image signs: drawings, paintings, photos, pantomimes. A symbol is something entirely relative, whose relation to the subject, to the primary set thing is purely conventional (Lat. conventia – agreement). We just had agreed – and all agreed with this – that $ is a dollar sign, and replaces the word “and”, and % expresses the percentage or hundredth of a certain value.

The appeal to the analysis of consciousness of the simple person from the street allows, we according to Victor Frankl, to speak about three types of values: values of creativity, values of experience and values of relation. “This series reflects the three main ways in which a person can find meaning in life. The first is what he gives to the world in his creations, the second is what he takes from the world in his encounters and experiences; and the third is the position than he cannot change his destiny” (Frankl, 2000).

2.3 Versions of Philosophy of History

Philosophy of history is called the field of research on the evolution of human society, especially at the stage of civilization. If the culture has not changed much or changed very slowly over the millennia of the barbarous period, then the transition to civilization will accelerate the development of the society and got up exponentially. At the same time, society is changing.

Specific way of solving the problem involves placing the object of world history in some framework that allows us to consider history as something continuing, judgments in the field of history in this version are subject to multiple reinterpretations, i.e. there can not be any permanently finished meaning in history. Since history is something that lasts forever, even speaking about the long-past epochs, at different times absolutely different judgments will be made, depending on the goals, motives, needs of the subject expressing whous point of view, regardless of how much this subject is involved in the historical events in question (Hamitov, 2018).

History itself does not make sense, according to V. Diltey (Dilthey, 2004), since this category in history in its pure form is not introduced from the outside and exists in the form of a dynamic-relative category, in each generation the meaning of history changes its characteristics depending on life settings at each specific time, there are only natural trends in which goals are built, existing within the limits of becoming relevant norms.

The study of history in Diltey’s vision is necessarily through the prism of its “emergence”, it is a system of interaction across the Humanities, including such cultural areas as religion and philosophy if the study of human existence is difficult by the multidimensional nature of its social formation. But the general does not absorb the private, and the reverse process does not occur, important as the meaning of one discipline, and the essence of the systems within which it operates (Hamitov, 2018).

In the process of changing society, certain time periods are allocated, and in this regard, options are possible. So, within the historiographic approach, characteristic for professional historians, there are historical periods for which important historical events serve as reference points.

The history of primitive society begins in the depths of millennia and ends with the emergence of ancient civilizations: Sumer, Babylon, Egypt. The history of the Ancient World continues from the Upper Kingdom in Egypt until the fall of Rome in the IV century AD end follows the period of the Middle Ages up to the Great French bourgeois revolution, when the New Time comes. Finally, the recent history originates from the Great October Revolution. The conditional nature of this periodization and its Eurocentrism are obvious.

In the social philosophy of Marxism, within the framework of historical materialism, a theory of socio-economic formations is formulated, based on the principle of economic determinism. According to this principle, the continuous growth of the productive forces of society from time to time is accompanied by the revolutionary change in the types of production relations or by the methods of producing material goods. Each such method generates specific forms of production relations, dominant in which is the prevailing attitude of ownership of the means of production. Civilization, according to Marx, consistently goes through five stages in its development: primitive communal, slave-owning, feudal, capitalistic and, as a forecast for the future, communist.

The next version is an ideological one, it belongs to Auguste Comte, the founder of scientific sociology. From his point of view, society undergoes three stages in its development: mystical, when the religious worldview prevails in the minds of people; metaphysical, when idealistic or unscientific illusory views are widespread, and positive, when scientific, based on reliable facts of people’s knowledge of nature and the driving forces of social life.

At present, the culturological model of social development is widely used, according to which periods of historical development are epochs that differ from one another in a set of social characteristics: economic, political, ideological. In this model the epoch of Antiquity from VII century BC to the IV century AD (the fall of Rome); then, the Gothic era until the XIV century (the feudal Europe of Gothic kingdoms and empires); further the Renaissance in XV-XVI centuries with an epicenter in the south of Europe, especially in Italy, characteristic of the humanism of culture; then the era of the Enlightenment from XVII to XVIII century, the period of formation of technology and industrial overturn, bourgeois revolutions and the emergence of modern science; further XIX century – the era of classicism or the flourishing of the capitalist economy, the period of radical political reforms and the highest rise of spiritual culture in different genres of art.

Now, the modern era continues, about the definition of dominants of which any discussions are continued. In addition to linear versions of the historical process, cultural and historical relativism also took place, according to which there is no single direction of development in the history of society, and many separate independent social organisms, like biological individuals, live each of their unique historical life, experiencing periods of initiation, rapid growth, maturity, decline and aging, and finally death. Some social organisms, an outstanding thinker of the latest XIX century Nikolai Danilevsky called by cultural and historical types, which distinguished primarily on a religious basis.

German philosopher of the earlier XXth century Oswald Spengler in the scandalously famous book “The Decline of Europe” proposed the concept of autonomous cultures – eight of them: Egyptian, Babylonian, Indian, Chinese, “Apollonian” (Greco-Roman), “Faustian” (Western European), Slavic and “Mayan” (Native American). The “physiognomy” of each culture is determined by the stylistics of the mentality and the internal unity of the forms of economic, political, spiritual, practical, artistic life of each unique social organism.

Similar ideas were developed by the British philosopher Arnold Joseph Toynbee in the twelve-volume work “The Study of History” (1934–1961) – he presented a pluralistic picture of autonomous civilizations, and the Russian emigrant to the US Pitirim Sorokin, who proposed the opposition of the West and the East, the North and the South, the first, second and third worlds. Thus, he opposed to each other fundamentally different systems of values ​​and their hierarchies and formulated the idea of ​​their eternal confrontation.

However, at the industrial stage of development there is a new synthesis of cultural, social and technological factors. At this historical stage, the development of technology and techno sphere as a whole appears as an effective and socially directed means of social construction. This turn in European history was prepared by social development, during which the change in the nature of life values required an internal restructuring of the social organization. A new historical synthesis of the active and cultural determinants of development replaced the stable correlation of cultural values, social organization and technologies of the agrarian-feudal past (Cheshev, 2017).

Russian philosopher G. Drach (Drach, 2017) also believed that history, although it is structured, is still a holistic process. At the same time, the phenomena of social reality cease to be self-sufficient entities and are considered as a result of the impact of the samples, values and meanings of the respective culture. Thus, there is a paradigm transformation of the science of society and a man, in which the category of culture occupies a Central place (Apollonov,2018).

Domestic researcher V. Cheshev also thinks that subjective progress, cultural development and social history always represent a kind of unity. At the same time, as already noted, technical development in the agricultural era was not the object of targeted regulation by society. It is not surprising that the historiosophical understanding of technological progress was not relevant until the beginning of the industrial era (Cheshev, 2017).

However – and it is a paradox – the historical process in XX century is based on the mass and simplification of culture, which has become a conveyor industry, on the sliding of mankind into the world of unrestrained consumption and entertainment. The new world in this case was prepared for the scenario Zamyatin, Bradbury and Orwell: the transformation of society into a semantic ghetto, where the highest values of humanism gradually disappear under the onslaught of technocratic management system, where everything is subject only to production and economic goals, where the role of the soul and creativity is visible. A loose, directionless script of social development ensures the care of mankind from the sphere of the highest ideas – to the spiritual emptiness and the realization of the meaninglessness of existence (Indrikov, 2018).

2.4 Totals

From the foregoing, we can conclude that values are social phenomena, which are determined by the active nature of a man. A person loves or hates something in which he embodies himself, whether things, signs or social roles as his children. In the products of activity, the existence of a man himself continues as an exercise, as an objectification of himself – his forces, energy, talents, genius.

3. Conclusions

The proposed concept of values allows us to understand the source of values and the essence of the value relationship as the emotional experience of any human achievement – as the success or failure of the result of efforts and therefore as a matter of pride or regret and disappointment.


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