A book on ethics and philosophy of values

(Note: this is a non-professional translation of the original text in French. Help improve this translation: please report any mistake!)

3/ Conclusion: a third alternative?

We have asked ourselves where the value of something can be found. In the thing itself, as objectivism holds, or in the subject giving it, as subjectivism claims?

These two hypotheses have been eliminated: axiological objectivism and subjectivism appear to be both impossible, because either we cannot give a value to the object, either we cannot find one in it: they are nothing but dead-ends. We are puzzled, as we do not know what to do now.

However, we must note that we have only imagined two alternatives, as if there were only two possible solutions (either subject, or object) to the issue. But could we not imagine a third one? Are we not caught in the subject-object dualism, which has influenced the western philosophy, since Descartes, and is called into question by a number of modern and contemporary thinkers?

I would like to propose an idea: it might be neither in the object, nor in the subject, that value can be found, but in their relation, viz. in this particular relation that binds the object and the subject in the domain of values: love.

So the questions that I will treat in the next chapter are: “is love the key concept of axiology?”, or again, “is love the concept in which the key of the determination of the value of something is hidden?”.
Now the affirmative and constructive part of my study begins; up to now, I have accomplished a negative task, viz. identifying the confusions which prevent us from raising the problem of values correctly.

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