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Discuss the Ways in Which Way Value Judgments Should and Should Not Be Used in Different Areas of Knowledge.

Essay by review  •  December 13, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,408 Words (6 Pages)  •  876 Views

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Values, as defined by Webster's Dictionary, are principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable by a human being. One's values may not, however, be worthwhile or desirable by others in general or by all in some cases. For example the values of one Adolf Hitler were of a most distressing quality. Despite this his beliefs in the moral, physical, and mental superiority of his so-called "Arian" race were upheld by millions of Germans yet completely despised by the rest of the world. Judgments based on values must only be used in the Emotion based Areas of Knowledge, such as The Arts and Ethics, but must not be used in Areas of Knowledge based on Reason, this includes the Sciences, History and Mathematics.

The Emotion based Areas of Knowledge are comprised of The Arts and Ethics and in these fields good work is defined by its base, Emotion. Emotion is probably one of hardest Ways of Knowing to comprehend and perhaps to define in this context. To know by Emotion is to feel through the heart and use that a basis of your beliefs. An example of this is seen in former president Hoover and his efforts to help impoverished Polish people after the First World War This charity that he showed reflected his political belief that only private organizations and individuals should show charity, not the government. Although laissez-faire political beliefs seem and unlikely candidate for Knowledge based on Emotion it is justified in that it portrayed a world in which many individuals would do what Hoover did, assist folks in need. This does not, however, contrast with a belief on the complete opposite of the political spectrum, that of socialism, and the complete opposite of Hoover, Franklin Delanor Roosevelt (FDR) and his New Deal philosophy. Roosevelt wanted to ensure the security and well-being of his fellow people and did so from the bottom of his heart. Although his measures were somewhat extreme, they were working, and this is seen through federal funding of photographers, artists, playwrights, and actors whom FDR hired to portray the evils of the Depression and to express what the contemporary reality of the 1930s was.

A focus on Emotion in Art is essential under any circumstances in order for the message of the artist to be reflected. The first artistic pieces, finger paintings done by cavemen in France, had little lack for emotion. They reflected the day to day life of the Neolithic cavemen of the period to a great extent. The buffalo was drawn not to exact scale and perfection but rather to what the artist believed it was, his source of food, his sustenance. Many contemporary art historians believe that this art, although simple, was the source of all art today, based on emotion. Because of its emotional base value judgments must and can be used in art to express your opinions. Many artists who create pieces do them based on their political and personal beliefs. For example Micheal Moore creates artistic films which show his perceptions of contemporary events through the use of the reality of film and statistics. His most popular movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, depicts not only his personal emotions and feelings towards the events occurring in the period from the terrorist attack of Septemer 11th on the Twin Towers in New York to the beginning of the Iraqi war, but also the opinions, feelings, and emotions of those most dearly involved in the war, those who have sons and daughters in the Army, Navy, Marines, and any other part of America's "defensive" army. The movie is founded in emotions and, obviously, involves many Value Judgments, and is a piece of art (if that term is to be taken literally). Art must be founded on emotions and Value Judgments must be made if it is to get the artists message across.

The Area of Knowledge labeled Ethics must too be based on Emotion and Value Judgments if one obtain an accurate moral description of a situation. One famous Ethics "thought experiment" (an experiment done solely in one's head in which one attempts to find a reasonable solution) represents this perfectly. Hypothetically if a terrorist group, such as Al Qaeda, were to take control over the Southeastern part of the United States and threatened to nuke all the inhabitants there unless we were to take one perfectly innocent child from his house and shoot him right there on the street. What would the president do? Would he think, "Well one child's life is easily worth that of millions of my citizens, I will kill it", that sounds perfectly reasonable. But what if the demand were 10, 15, 20, even 100 innocent children? What is the cut off? How many children do we need to kill, in cold blood, to preserve the lives of millions of such children? This experiment proves how emotionally based the Ethics of not only this situation, but of most are. Consequentially Ethics must also involve Value Judgments (such as that of the president in the scenario) where a decision must be made based one's, or perhaps many people's, personal values.

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