AskDefine | Define values

Dictionary Definition

values n : beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something); "he has very conservatives values"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. plural of value
  2. a bunch of guiding, usually positive principles; what one deems to be correct and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct.


  • (a bunch of guiding principles) ethic




values f|p

Extensive Definition

otheruses Value
A personal and cultural value is a relative ethic value, an assumption upon which implementation can be extrapolated. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based. Values are considered subjective and vary across people and cultures. Types of values include ethical/moral values, doctrinal/ideological (political, religious) values, social values, and aesthetic values. It is debated whether some values are intrinsic.

Personal values

Personal values evolve from circumstances with the external world and can change over time. Integrity in the application of values refers to its continuity; persons have integrity if they apply their values appropriately regardless of arguments or negative reinforcement from others. Values are applied appropriately when they are applied in the right area. For example, it would be appropriate to apply religious values in times of happiness as well as in times of despair.
Personal values are implicitly related to choice; they guide decisions by allowing for an individual's choices to be compared to each choice's associated values.
Personal values developed early in life may be resistant to change. They may be derived from those of particular groups or systems, such as culture, religion, and political party. However, personal values are not universal; one's family, nation, generation and historical environment help determine one's personal values. This is not to say that the value concepts themselves are not universal, merely that each individual possess a unique conception of them i.e. a personal knowledge of the appropriate values for their own genes, feelings and experience.

Cultural values

Groups, societies, or cultures have values that are largely shared by their members. The values identify those objects, conditions or characteristics that members of the society consider important; that is, valuable. In the United States, for example, values might include material comfort, wealth, competition, individualism or religiosity. The values of a society can often be identified by noting which people receive honor or respect. In the US, for example, professional athletes are honored (in the form of monetary payment) more than college professors, in part because the society respects personal values such as physical activity, fitness, and competitiveness more than mental activity and education. This may also be the case because the society takes its education for granted and repays its teachers with non-tangible honors of relatively equal value with that of the athlete. Surveys show that voters in the United States would be reluctant to elect an atheist as a president, suggesting that belief in God is a value.
Values are related to the norms of a culture, but they are more general and abstract than norms. Norms are rules for behavior in specific situations, while values identify what should be judged as good or bad. Flying the national flag on a holiday is a norm, but it reflects the value of patriotism. Wearing dark clothing and appearing solemn are normative behaviors at a funeral. They reflect the values of respect and support of friends and family.
Members take part in a culture even if each member's personal values do not entirely agree with some of the normative values sanctioned in the culture. This reflects an individual's ability to synthesize and extract aspects valuable to them from the multiple subcultures they belong to.
If a group member expresses a value that is in serious conflict with the group's norms, the group's authority may carry out various ways of encouraging conformity or stigmatizing the non-conforming behavior of its members. For example, imprisonment can result from conflict with social norms that have been established as law.


John Dewey saw goodness as the outcome of "valuation", a continuous balancing of personal or cultural value, which he called "ends in view." An end in view was said to be an objective potentially adopted, which may be refined or rejected based on its consistency with other objectives or as a means to objectives already held.


External links

values in Bulgarian: Ценност
values in Czech: Hodnoty
values in German: Wertvorstellung
values in Estonian: Väärtus
values in Persian: ارزش
values in French: Valeur (personnelle et culturelle)
values in Hebrew: ערך (סוציולוגיה)
values in Japanese: 価値観
values in Norwegian: Verdi (etikk)
values in Polish: Wartości
values in Portuguese: Valor (pessoal e cultural)
values in Russian: Ценность
values in Slovenian: Vrednota
values in Yiddish: ווערט
values in Chinese: 價值觀
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