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Does Intrinsic Value Exist?

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posted on May, 5 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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Does anything in life maintain intrinsic value regardless of context?

My answer would be NO. Nothing in life maintains intrinsic value; every type of worth we associate with any object, person, entity or concept relies on its relation to the living beings that surround, or the context in which they exist. This is not to say that "nothing matters", just that what matters is always relative.

Possible candidates:

Divine Creator: The creator of all life and matter. While seemingly an obvious candidate for having intrinsic value, in reality, the Creator is only afforded intrinsic value by its creations. Before the Creator made its first creation, there was no intrinsic value to its existence.

All life: Any living organism. Some argue that all biotic creations hold intrinsic value - either by virtue of being alive or having a grand/divine purpose. Consider the number of bugs/insects you have killed, and the number of animals you have eaten throughout your life. Doesn't seem like they had a divine purpose after all.

Human being: the (currently confirmed) most intelligent being on this planet. Most people would say that a human life has intrinsic value, but they would be wrong. Does one feel the same pain and loss when they lose a lover/relative/close friend compared to hearing about the death of a stranger that lives halfway across the world? No, they do not. It is our emotions that attach value to human life.

* * * * * *

Feel free to disagree, but please provide reasoning.


edit on 5/5/2013 by Dark Ghost because: changed title




posted on May, 5 2013 @ 09:57 AM
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Well, that is interesting. I suppose you are arguing that something must be observed to have value, and therefore has no intrinsic value? I would just say that self-aware beings can observe other objects around them and give those value, even if they are alone.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Well, now you're going to waste my whole Sunday morning because I am going to burn a few billion brains cells trying to come with something with of intrinsic value. Good job! S&F

edit on 5/5/2013 by jiggerj because: (no reason given)


Okay, I just had a smoke and thought of something. Let me fly this by you. I'm thinking: ENERGY.

Energy is never destroyed. It can transform, but can never be erased. Everything in the universe is made of it, but even if the universe popped like a bubble, that energy would still be out there with all of its potential utterly undiminished.

The sad part is, I had to go that far out to find anything with intrinsic value.
edit on 5/5/2013 by jiggerj because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 10:14 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


What you say is obvious for me. We give meaning to things, and if something makes sense for us, or is important to us, it is because we give that importance and that sense to that thing, and we can also try to take back or remove the importance or the sense that we give to things. Mostly because what we think we see, what we think we understand, is practically always far from the truth of the observed thing. Are we a bunch of atoms, or are we something else ? Our ego sure wants us to be something great and eternal and unique, but basically, in the absolute, everything is equal to everything else. Our planet could be destroyed tomorrow, and us with it and everything else with it, by a giant meteor and the universe won't care at all. We give importance and sense to our planet, to our existence, to the things we know.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


What if I were poor and you let me live you with rent free. Since I cannot offer you money, I add value to your home by taking care of the tedious, day-to-day activities (dishes, laundry, general cooking, cleaning, etc) which frees up your time to pursue other interests.

Would that be an example of adding intrinsic value to your home?



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by LewsTherinThelamon
reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


What if I were poor and you let me live you with rent free. Since I cannot offer you money, I add value to your home by taking care of the tedious, day-to-day activities (dishes, laundry, general cooking, cleaning, etc) which frees up your time to pursue other interests.

Would that be an example of adding intrinsic value to your home?


Well then the value that you would add would not be intrinsic, because that value would depend on a bunch of other things, first of which would be that only humans value laundry and doing dishes. Intrinsic means that a given thing has value independent from any context of any sort. In the context of "me, human, living in 2013, inside a house, with laundry and dishes to do", yes, what you offer may have value. But in the context of, let's say, an intelligent entity made of gas, wandering in the dark deep space between galaxies, laundry and dishes is.. not important.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by gosseyn
 



But in the context of, let's say, an intelligent entity made of gas, wandering in the dark deep space between galaxies, laundry and dishes is.. not important.


But, isn't that why the value is intrinsic? Because it is subjective to the respective entity in question?



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Since everything is natural (intrinsic) to the universe, and there exists no such thing that is unnatural (extrinsic), we must assume that our idea of value too is intrinsic to nature. Nature, or the universe, and everything as a part of the universe, has intrinsic value simply by existing.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 12:08 PM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 

intrinsic
a : belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing
value
a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged

everything is priceless



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 12:08 PM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Water would be a good fit.

Whatever the price it has true intrinsic value.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


Since everything is natural (intrinsic) to the universe, and there exists no such thing that is unnatural (extrinsic), we must assume that our idea of value too is intrinsic to nature. Nature, or the universe, and everything as a part of the universe, has intrinsic value simply by existing.



Don't you think that saying "everything has intrinsic value" is the same as saying "nothing has intrinsic value" ? What is the point of defining a property like "intrinsic" if everything has this property ? Also, intrinsic doesn't necessarily mean "natural" and extrinsic "unnatural" (you have to define natural and unnatural here), but it is like the weight of an object which is defined by the gravity around that object, the object by itself has no weight, so the weight is extrinsic, it is defined by another object (the planet). The density of an object is its intrinsic value.



posted on May, 5 2013 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 


The Divine Creator is intrinsic value in itself. The creation reflects this intrinsic value and aware beings assign their own value to these reflections.

Our own sense of value is intrinsic value filtered through the lense of the individual self or ego.

I do not offer a logical argument to support these statements, it is simply how I see it.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 05:20 AM
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reply to post by jiggerj
 


Energy is a very good candidate, well done.


However, I will attempt to defend my assertion in the OP by saying that even energy has no intrinsic value. You see, even though everything is made up of energy, it still requires an object to draw out its potential. I guess what I am saying is there is always a [subject,object] relationship when it comes to value; the subject has no meaning without the object, and vice versa.


edit on 6/5/2013 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 05:33 AM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Since everything is natural (intrinsic) to the universe, and there exists no such thing that is unnatural (extrinsic), we must assume that our idea of value too is intrinsic to nature. Nature, or the universe, and everything as a part of the universe, has intrinsic value simply by existing.


It depends how you define "natural". Are concrete buildings natural? Sure, they are made from essentially "natural" produce (all from Earth) but they would not exist without an intelligent organism designing them. For example, "nature" itself cannot produce basketball stadiums. Stuff that is man-made does not automatically get classified as natural just because it was made on this planet; nature has to demonstrate it would create such things by itself for that to be the case.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 05:38 AM
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reply to post by Timely
 


A good suggestion, but I would have to disagree that it has intrinsic value. For example, what purpose does water serve for abiotic creations?



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 06:03 AM
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For me, it is obvious and I usually just assume everyone understands this.

Value is relative. There is no intrinsic value to anything.

A thing can have value relative to an intent or goal...... but now that you bring it up, I guess people who believe in a God probably have a belief in Gods desires and intents, therefore giving meaning qccording to that.

Now I want to go around and ask and see how many people around me have a belief in intrinsic value!
edit on 6-5-2013 by coquine because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by Dark Ghost
 



It depends how you define "natural". Are concrete buildings natural? Sure, they are made from essentially "natural" produce (all from Earth) but they would not exist without an intelligent organism designing them. For example, "nature" itself cannot produce basketball stadiums. Stuff that is man-made does not automatically get classified as natural just because it was made on this planet; nature has to demonstrate it would create such things by itself for that to be the case.


Intrinsic means to "belong naturally", "essential". When I say natural, I mean it belongs naturally to the universe. I am not discussing any chasm between man and the rest of the universe.

Nature can itself produce the organisms that make basketball stadiums, much like it produces the organisms that create ant-hills or birds nests. Are ant hills and birds nests natural? To say man and his creations is unnatural to the universe is a bit drastic.

Man, birds, and ants are a part of nature and the universe, and therefore, it is nature producing basketball stadiums, ant hills and bird nests.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 04:02 PM
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"Intrinsic Value" is an oxymoron.

Value is a human institution. We created value. We assign value in an attempt to organize the world.

Earth exists in balance - all life is equally useful because all life is equally necessary.

There is no such thing as intrinsic value outside of the human mind.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost
Does anything in life maintain intrinsic value regardless of context?
My answer would be NO.

If you're establishing a basic parameter for your argument of "in life," and that the people doing the valuing are alive and want to stay alive, then I would have to say YES. As long as people are alive, as long as at least one person is alive, then things have value. Once everybody is (or you individually are) dead, then all bets are off.

Air, water, food, shelter. All of the things in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs have value imposed on them by living people. Even a gun has value to somebody who wants to commit suicide, although once they blow their own brains out, then that value is gone, along with the rest of the universe from that person's perspective. But as long as there is still somebody alive, it will have some value.



posted on May, 6 2013 @ 04:26 PM
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reply to post by ottobot
 


Several species of animals display having a value based system to their existence. I don't think humans are alone with that quality.



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