A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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For me, quality (or its negative counterpart, defect) is not, contrary to what it might seem, charged with any consideration of value.

Let us take a few examples: beautiful, fair, weak, cowardly, astonishing are qualities (positive or negative). I maintain that when we attribute qualities to a thing, we are not making a value judgement, but a factual judgement, i.e. that the judgements "Socrates is just" or "That soldier is cowardly" are of the same kind (and partake of the same kind of objectivity) as "That vase is made of clay".
In fact, I can see empirically that such and such a soldier is a coward by seeing him run off at the start of the bombardment; I can call on experience in the same way as I can when I want to check the material of the vase. Similarly, the fact that Socrates is just, and more moral than a tyrant, is a fact. It is obvious and cannot be called into question. We can see this, just as we can see the nature of the material in the vase.

On the other hand, what is not a fact, what is not self-evident, is the value of this quality: 'justice' (or 'cowardice'). This is a problematic point: the problem of values.

So "Socrates is just" is a judgement of fact, and "justice has value" is a judgement of value. This implies that the notion of justice contains no consideration of value, otherwise "Socrates is just" would itself be a value judgement from the outset.

The meaning of the term "quality" may now be clear to us: qualities are first and foremost empirical properties like any other.
"Coward" or "good" are just as much empirical properties as the "degree of fusion" or "solidity" of a material. But qualities, while remaining empirical properties, do not appear to us as such, because we attribute to them something that we do not attribute to properties of the "classic" type (for example physical, such as heavy, hard, light, etc.): a value. Since value is not something empirical or observable, we believe that qualities have nothing empirical or observable about them. Now, since the value we attribute to certain properties is based for me on nothing other than usage, custom and mores, we have dogmatically isolated justice, beauty, etc. from the other properties.

In other words: qualities are properties to which man has attributed, perhaps wrongly, a value. If he had not considered them to have a value, they would have remained for him what they are in fact, i.e. empirical properties, as indifferent as the solidity of a material, and whose existence is as ascertainable as the latter.

So it seems that by attributing a value to certain properties, man has taken away the certainty of their existence. However, according to this investigation, it seems that the certainty of the existence of these qualities is as certain as that of the other properties (i.e. that we can determine whether a given act is good or not), but that it is their value that is uncertain.

As a result, we are proposing a reconsideration of the traditional distinction between judgements of fact and judgements of value, since we are making a considerable extension of the domain of facts, by affirming that the whole field of qualities is part of this domain. The care taken by sociology or history to banish all consideration of quality, by refusing all value judgements, in order to remain in the world of facts (considered to be more objective) is therefore useless.