Is it the particular condition of concrete events, objects, or actions that are valuable for their own sake?

Or is it particular mental states of observers that are the bearers, and creators, of value?

If we hold that moral or axiological claims can be true or false (i.e. are cognitive), then surely we are asserting there is something that makes them so. What is that thing?

  • Metaethical relativism - the position that "moral claims can only be evaluated as true or false relative to a particular individual or culture’s moral standards" - is almost right. The missing piece is that an individual may be persuaded to change those standards on further evidence - just like they may be persuaded to change other beliefs on evidence - and the moral truth for that person is the theoretical endpoint of this legitimate persuasion. So not just what they believe morally in the present, but what they would believe morally if they considered more of the evidence.
    – causative
    Sep 18, 2021 at 22:10
  • Also, of particular interest to you, Bonj, is evaluating moral claims relative to the particular individual that is Bonj. Moral claims that this individual (Bonj) relatively evaluates as true, you evaluate as true. So it doesn't morally matter to you how other individuals evaluate moral claims, except as a matter of polite interest, or with respect to how they can persuade Bonj himself; Bonj's moral judgments are based on how Bonj alone evaluates moral claims.
    – causative
    Sep 18, 2021 at 22:19
  • "Man is the measure of all [the] things."
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2022 at 0:51

1 Answer 1


Here is a Nietzschean perspective, from Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track (pages 170-171 & 184)

The essence of value is based on its being a viewpoint. Value means that which one has in mind [ins Auge gefasst]. Value is the point of sight for a seeing that has its eye on something, or, as we say, that counts on [auf etwas rechnet] something and thereby has to deal with [mit anderem rechnen] something else. ...

In characterizing value as a viewpoint, the one essential thing for Nietzsche’s concept of value follows: as a viewpoint, value is always posited by a seeing and for a seeing. ...

Value is value provided it is valid. It is valid provided it is posited as what matters. ... All beings are representing beings to the extent that nisus is part of the being of beings: nisus, the urge to make an appearance, the urge that enjoins a thing to arise [Aufkommen] (appear) and so determines its occurrence [Vorkommen], The nisus-like essence of all beings takes and posits for itself in this way a point of sight. The point of sight provides the perspective which it is essential to follow. The point of sight is value.

On 'moral or axiological claims' such as justice:

Nietzsche does not at all understand morality as something determined in the first place within the ethical and juridical realms. Rather, he thinks morality on the basis of the being of beings in their entirety, i.e., on the basis of the will to power. What is just [das Gerechte] is in accordance with what is right [dem Rechten]. However, what is right is determined on the basis of that which is in being as a being. That is why Nietzsche says (Werke, vol. XIII, "Nachgelassene Werke," §462, from 1883): "Right = the will to make a momentary power relation obtain eternally. To be satisfied with that power relation is the pre-condition. Everything venerable is called in to let what is right appear to be eternal."

So the axiological claims are made from what the observer feels strongly about; being certain of certain values, and staking a claim on them.

Last word from Buddha:

That brahmana who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

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