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Axiology

AXIOLOGY

Term in modern philosophy generally used to designate theory of value. It is taken from the Greek ξιος, value or worth, and λόγος, study of or science of. As a general synonym for value theory, axiology was first used extensively by Paul Lapie (Logique de la volonté, 1902) and Eduard von hartmann (Grundriss der Axiologie, 1908). Among English speaking philosophers the term received popularization through the numerous books and articles written by Wilbur Marshall Urban, the most notable of which is Valuation (1909).

There is no universal agreement among philosophers that the term axiology is completely satisfactory. Those who defend its usage, such as Urban and Nicolai hartmann, point out that the term properly emphasizes the necessity of a metaphysical investigation into the nature and status of values as a prelude to further ethical, epistemological, and psychological studies. The term value theory is of sufficient significance in sociology, anthropology, and economics that confusions might easily be avoided if philosophy had its own term to designate its approach to problems of value. Others, such as Louis lavelle (Traité des Valeurs, 1951), judge that value theory is a more suitable term since it is not so pedantic and thus conveys immediately to all the fact that there are many ramifications of value study and value problems. The current tendency is generally to favor the usage of value theory over axiology.

In those areas where value is especially relevant, especially metaphysics and ethics, scholastic philosophers have preferred to speak in terms of good in its various senses. Complete understanding between scholastics and other axiologists is hampered by the lack of adequate translation of their vocabularies.

See Also: value, philosophy of; value judgment

Bibliography: Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice-Rome 1957) 1:536. w. m. urban, "Value, Theory of," Encyclopedia Brittanica 22 (New York 1965) 961963.

[r. r. kline]

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