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VALUES AS PROPERTIES OF OBJECTS

The article presents and reassesses arguments supporting the objectivist, and refuting the subjectivist theories of value. According to the subjectivists, the properties ascribed to objects by the ordinary language can be divided into objective ones, i.e. those which are really possessed by the objects irrespective of whether they are perceived or not, and the subjective, i.e. those which are not possessed by the objects but are attributed to them by virtue of some specific attitudes that men take toward these objects. Values are said to belong to the second class. But an analysis of the most distinguished classifications of qualities possessed by objects (Democritus, Locke, Carnap, and Reichenbach) indicates that none of them can supply a solid argument for differentiation between subjectively conceived values and objectively existing objects and their properties. This fact alone does not yet show that such conception of classification is untenable but seriously undermines the commonly accepted view – widespread among philosophers of value and social scientists – that this division is self-evident. Likewise, an analysis of the nature of perception indicates that there is no ground for assigning a subjective character to values if such properties as shape, colour, sound or taste are considered objective. Finally, it has shown that predicates and evaluative propositions convey information about the things they refer to, and therefore have a cognitive function by virtue of which they can either be true or false.

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