A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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5/ Hypothesis on the origin of the postmodern anguish


I have specified the state of mind which should result from the absence of foundation of values. But this reflection provides as well a response to another question, raised above: why is the postmodern era characterized by such an anguish, as to values?

I think that this fear comes precisely from the unconscious feeling that the values in which we believe, and that we defend, sometimes by force of arms, are not at all founded.

It would be wrong to believe that this absence of foundation only affects the axiological objectivism, which supports the idea of a foundation of values. The lack of foundation concerns in fact, I think, all axiological doctrines: relativism, subjectivism, nihilism, are no more founded than the objectivism or intuitionism of values.

The inability of objectivism to find a foundation of values is not a confirmation of relativism, despite what some people think. The postmodern impotence is so deep that the judgment “there is no value but relative” is for now as unfounded as the opposite one “there are absolute values”.

In like manner, nihilism is not capable of founding the idea that “nothing has value”; the absence of proof of the value of life is not in itself a proof of its absence of value.

Nihilism, relativism, etc. are not for the moment founded because they commit the same mistakes as objectivism. First of all, these axiological positions use one of the five ineffective methods that I have identified (the qualitative method, the hedonist one, etc.). Secondly, they do not fall within the field of a discipline dealing with values, namely axiology, but use moral concepts, or, particularly for relativism, sociological ones.

For myself, the postmodern anxiety is thus caused by the fact that no axiological doctrine is satisfactory, whereas we cannot help but make axiological judgments on the value of our world.

More fundamentally, it is the very sense of the notion of value which is obscure to the postmodern man. Finally, we no longer know what a value is, even though we sometimes fight for values. Perhaps it is this ignorance which is the cause of our anguish: what is a value?
Is the postmodern world the one which ignores the foundation, and beyond this, the very meaning of the value?

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