The Austrian Philosophy of Values

The Austrian Philosophy of Values

The Austrian Philosophy of Values

The Austrian Philosophy of Values

Excerpt

The present work is an attempt not at appraisal but at understanding. The reason is not far to seek; appraisal without understanding is bound to be either sentimentality or harsh injustice. On the other hand full understanding will bring appraisal in its train, for one cannot come to know a philosophical movement as vigorous in thought and as fecund in influence as was the school which grouped itself around Franz Brentano in Vienna without ultimately forming a judgment as to its true value. But the judgment of fact must precede the judgment of value, and preferably should be completely divorced from it.

Appraisal will come, but not before we have a wider comprehension of the many contemporary movements in value theory in Europe and America than is possible as yet. There are still too many questions which we must ask. Are all of these schools of thought going in the same direction? or in utterly diverse directions? Are there to be found at least certain definite trends in this world-wide movement? In short, one thing we need badly at present is synoptic work in value theory. This does not mean that we must seek either a syncretic or an eclectic solution to the multifarious problems of value theory. It does mean that we must seek a broad view of the whole problem, but a broad view which is based on intimate and detailed studies of the different separate movements which compose the whole development.

The present work is offered as one step in the achievement of such an ultimately complete conspectus of the whole field of value speculation. There is not a little evidence that the Austrian philosophical theory of value has been misjudged by some, largely no doubt because it has been misunderstood or not adequately presented. If the present work contributes in any measure to lessening this misunderstanding and leads to a wider acquaintance (either through the medium of the present . . .

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