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intrinsic valueEigenwert (ger.)

  • 1) The worth of a human thing, such as human life, which it has for its own sake, and not with respect to external use.
    bioethics end in itself
    1655

    [what you please to attribut therin [in your letter] to my Letters, may be more properly applied to yours in point of intrinsic value

    Howell, J. (1655). A Fourth Volume of Familiar Letters: 105.]

    1791

    [soll man Eigenwerth Nicht höher, als geborgten, achten?

    Alxinger, J.B. von (1791). Bliomberis. Ein Rittergedicht in zwölf Gesängen: 112.]

    1797

    [Prahlsucht [setzt] ziemlich allgemein einen Mangel an Eigenwerth voraus

    Heß, J.L. von (1797). Versuche zu sehen, vol. 1: 395.]

    1809

    [Nie erfindet fremde Zeichen/ Für der Dinge Eigenwerth: Alle holden Götter weichen/ Wenn ihr falsche Götzen ehrt!

    Paulsen, L. (1809). Der Europäer an der Küste einer unentdeckten Südseeinsel. In: Becker, W.G. (ed). Erholungen, vol. 4, 1-42: 23.]

    1816

    [Frühe mit seines Gleichen, und unter seines Gleichen leben ist die Wiege der Größe für den Mann. Jeder Einling verirrt so leicht zur Selbsucht, wozu den Gespielen die Gespielschaft nicht kommen lasset. Auch hat der Einling keinen Spiegel, sich in wahrer Gestalt zu erblicken, kein lebendiges Maaß, seine Kraftmehrung zu messen, keine Richterwage für seinen Eigenwerth, keine Schule für den Willen, und keine Gelegenheit zu schnellem Entschluß und Thatkraft.

    Jahn, F.L. & Eiselen, E. (1816). Die deutsche Turnkunst: 170.]

    1899

    [Es] ringen seit dem Bestande der Hochkultur zwei elementare Urgegensätze um die Weltherrschaft: der Optimismus, welcher das Leben an sich, d.h. als Eigenwert, als Selbstzweck bejaht, und der Pessimismus, welcher das Leben als solches im allgemeinen, insbesondere aber das menschliche Leben als Wert verneint

    Stein, L. (1899). An der Wende des Jahrhunderts: 333.

    1900

    [Es] muss [bei Krause] ebenso wie bei Hegel das Ziel eigentlich schon immer erreicht sein, und alles Leben selbstzwecklichen Eigenwert haben. Aber während in Hegels Panlogismus dieser Eigenwert lediglich in der Verwirklichung der Vernunft an jeder Stelle liegt, hat Krause durchaus nur einen eudämonistischen Selbstzweck im Sinne, dem auch die Sittlichkeit nur als Mittel dient.

    Hartmann, E. von (1900). Geschichte der Metaphysik, vol. 2. Seit Kant: 315.

    1902

    Aber nach dem Glück anders zu fragen, als nach einem Reflex oder einer Vorbedingung, es zu einem Ziel und Eigenwert des Lebens zu machen – das erscheint ihm [Nietzsche] als die niedrigste Weichlichkeit der Seele.

    Simmel, G. (1902). Zum Verständnis Nietzsches. Das freie Wort 2, 6-11; id. (1907). Schopenhauer und Nietzsche: 7.
    1911

    gewiß bleibt das Leben als bloße Lebendigkeit nur Bedingung, und nicht in einem Eigenwert, sondern nur in einem Bedingungswert haben wir den eigentlich so zu nennenden ‚Lebenswert‘.

    Rickert, H. (1911). Lebenswerte und Kulturwerte. In: Bast, R.A. (ed.) (1999). Heinrich Rickert. Philosophische Aufsätze, 37-72: 60.

    1922

    To hold an environmental ethic is to hold that non-human beings and states of affairs in the natural world have intrinsic value.

    O’Neill, J. (1992). The varieties of intrinsic value. Monist 75, 119-137: 119.

    1949

    Darf man […] so weit gehen zu sagen, der Lebenswert würde hinfällig, wenn er nicht auf den Wert geistigen Seins bezogen wäre, in dem das auf ihn selbst gerichtete Wertbewußtsein eingeschlossen ist? Damit wäre der Eigenwert des Lebens in Wahrheit schon negiert; und die Schwere des sittlichen Vergehens etwa, die in der Verletzung des nackten Lebens liegt – auch wo kaum nennenswerte geistige Werte am Leben hängen – wäre schlechterdings unverständlich.

    Hartmann, N. (1926/49). Ethik: 254-5.

    1953

    Die Wahrheit ist: wir haben kein anderes Argument für den Eigenwert des Lebens, haben auch kein anderes Anzeichen dafür als nur unser Wertgefühl, welches eindeutig das Leben bejaht, Tod und Untergang aber verneint.

    Hartmann, N. (1953). Ästhetik (Berlin 1966): 341.

    1985

    It becomes easy to justify respect for other life forms and concern for the natural environment, and indeed many of the standard arguments only become stronger, once the demand to establish intrinsic values is removed.

    Weston, A. (1985). Beyond intrinsic value – pragmatism in environmental ethics. Environmental Ethics 7, 321-339: 321.

    2003

    Whether we are concerned about personhood and intrinsic value or properties to which we ascribe moral considerability, we assume that we are situated within a community context and are trying to identify what makes it a moral context. It is this community context that remains under-analysed when formulating the conceptual ‘geography’ of the relationship between persons, value and community. We therefore need a radicalisation strategy that better takes this geography into account. […] This transmutation involves inverting the way in which we conceive of persons, not as repositories of intrinsic value, but as derivatives of the system of interdepending loci of valuational activities. As derivatives, persons are best conceived as individuating processes of the whole. These individuating processes occur at many levels of organisation (systems, relationships, individuals).

    Morito, B. (2003). Intrinsic value: a modern albatross for the ecological approach. Environmental Values 12, 317-336: 327; 332.

  • 2) The worth of a non-human thing, such as an animal, animal species or ecosystem, which it has for its own sake, and not with respect to external (human) use.
    bioethics
    1968

    [We must see nature and man as an evolutionary process which responds to laws, which exhibits direction, and which is subject to the final test of survival. We must learn that nature includes an intrinsic value-system in which the currency is energy and the inventory is matter and its cycles—the oceans and the hydrologic cycle, life forms and their roles, the cooperative mechanisms which life has developed, and, not least, their genetic potential. The measure of success in this process, in terms of the biosphere, is the accumulation of negentropy in physical systems and ecosystems, the evolution of apperception or consciousness, and the extension of symbioses—all of which might well be described as creation.

    McHarg, I.L. (1968). Values, process, and form. In: Steiner, F.R. (ed.) (2006). The Essential Ian McHarg, 47-61: 47 (also in: in Disch, R. (ed.) (1970). The Ecological Conscience. Values for Survival: 21).]

    1970

    Many Americans, not students alone, are seeking a more vital relationship to nature, and they are openly critical of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. They feel that their own tradition has devalued nature to a level below man such that nature is defined as the matter to be used or “exploited” for sake of man and God. In the eyes of these critics this notion of nature is unsatisfactory because it does not recognize the intrinsic value of nature, such that instead of exploiting we should respect, preserve, appreciate, love, and even venerate nature.

    Earhart, H.B. (1970). The ideal of nature in Japanese religion and its possible significance for environmental concerns. Contemporary Religions in Japan 11, 1-26: 2.

    1974

    To be reverential means to treat nature for its intrinsicality rather than for its extrinsic utility or “cash value.” Accordingly, what is aesthetic coincides with what is reverential. […] The American conservationist Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” that assures the lasting place of land (or nature) in man’s ethical configurations is close to the way of Zen. For it affirms the intrinsic value of land, a state of harmony between man and land, land as a biotic community, and the biotic right for every living creature on earth. In short, Leopold accepts nature’s intrinsic value—its finality.

    Jung, H.Y. (1974). The paradox of man and nature: reflections on man’s ecological predicament. The Centennial Review 18, 1-28: 15; 17.

    1975

    Ecological ethics queries whether we ought again to universalize, recognizing the intrinsic value of every ecobiotic component. […] somewhat paradoxically, it is only as man grants an intrinsic integrity to nature that he discovers his truest interests. “An enlightened anthropocentrism acknowledges that, in the long run, the world’s good always coincides with man’s own most meaningful good. Man can manipulate nature to his best interests only if he first loves her for her own sake” [Dubos, R. (1972). A God Within: 45]

    Rolston, H. III (1975). Is there an ecological ethics? Ethics 85, 93-109: 101; 104.

    1986

    Something is intrinsically valuable if it is valuable in and for itself—if its value is not derived from its utility, but is independent of any use or function it may have in relation to something or someone else. In classical philosophical terminology, an intrinsically valuable entity is said to be an “end-in-itself,” not just a “means” to another’s end. […] I attempt to find a compromise, recommending a theory of “intrinsic value” which at once respects the institutionalized cleavage between object and subject, fact and value of the scientific world view, and yet does justice to the intuition that some natural “entities,” nonhuman species among them, are more than merely instrumentally valuable. In the process, the conceopt of intrinsic value is transformed, or more precisely, truncated. I concede that, from the point of view of Sientific Naturalism, the source of all value is human consciousness, but it by no means follows that the locus of all value is consciousness itself or a mode of consciousness like reason, pleasure, or knowledge. In other words, something may be valuable only because someone values it, but imay also be valued for itself, not for the sake of any subjective experience (pleasure, knowledge, aesthetic satisfaction, etc.) it may afford the valuer. [...] An intrinsically valuable thing on this reading is valuable for its own sake, for itself, but is not valuable in itself, i.e., completely independently of any consciousness, since no value can in principle, from the point of view of classical normal science, be altogether independent of a valuing consciousness.

    Callicott, J.B. (1986). On the intrinsic value of nonhuman species. In: Norton, B.G. (ed.). The Preservation of Species, 138-172: 140; 142; 143.

    2005

    attributing intrinsic value to nature in general tells us very little about how to manage a system, which is composed of many complex parts that exist in competition and in symbioses with each other. […] attributing intrinsic value to nature helps us to resolve very little. Advocates of this theory cannot agree on what kinds of elements of nature are the carriers of intrinsic value, nor can they agree on what it means, morally, to make such attributions. As I said above, placing the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental value at the center of the discussion raises more questions than it answers. Some of these questions only arise because of a rigid “either/or” conceptualization of values. As we encounter values in nature in our lives, we do not place our values in these artificial, dualistic categories. Consider the many ways I value a natural, resilient, productive wetland – for its beauty, for its contribution to biological diversity, for its usefulness in filtering impurities from surface waters, etc. Must they all be parsed into either instrumental value or intrinsic value?

    Norton, B.G. (2005). Values in nature: a pluralistic approach. In: Cohen, A.I. & Wellman, C.H. (eds.). Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics, 298-309: 305; 306.

    2007

    I would argue that it is this connection between the kind of value people think something has and attitudes they think it makes sense to take toward it that largely explains the interest in the concept of intrinsic value from environmental ethicists. The idea, I think, is this: we can, do, and should take some of the same intrinsically valuing attitudes toward things in the nonhuman natural world that we do toward things in the human world. We can, do, and should at least sometimes think of some parts of the natural world as appropriate objects of awe, reverence, respect, and love. We should not reserve this role in our emotional lives for humans alone.

    McShane, K. (2007). Why environmental ethics shouldn’t give up on intrinsic value. Environmental Ethics 29, 43-61: 5
    2012

    Intrinsic value arguments did not get us as far as we may have hoped toward a satisfactory environmental ethic, at least if the latter is to include an ethic for biodiversity conservation.

    Sarkar, S. (2012). Environmental Philosophy. From Theory to Practice: 55.

Weston, A. (1985). Beyond intrinsic value – pragmatism in environmental ethics. Environm. Eth. 7, 321-339.

Callicott, J.B. (1985). Intrinsic value, quantum theory, and environmental ethics. Environm. Eth. 7, 257-275.

Callicott, J.B. (1986). On the intrinsic value of nonhuman species. In: Norton, B.G. (ed.). The Preservation of Species, 138-172.

O’Neill, J. (1992). The varieties of intrinsic value. Monist 75, 119-137.

Meyer, K. (2003). Der Wert der Natur. Begründungsvielfalt im Naturschutz.