Hierarchies of Values: Vertical Structure
In this part of our study we shall limit our inquiry to the static or vertical structure of values, to the hierarchies of values. The horizontal approach corresponds to a dynamic approach, to the dynamic function of goals, to the relationship between goals and individual and group actions.
The vertical structure corresponds to the hierarchy of norms. This hierarchy in turn suggests the morphology, the static relationship of norms.
There is always a risk of reification of values and norms in our theories, our discussions, even our observations and experimentations (should the latter be feasible at all). Values are not separate entities, independent of man and society. They are symbolic articulations of man's goals or norms of conduct, as well as theoretical constructs. They do appear, however, in our actions and behavior since they may, in certain areas of human activities, set the direction and regulate our actions. It is here, in our action and behavior, as well as in institutions, that their relevance is witnessed.
The ideal norms can be also "registered" rather than "observed" when they appear in the form of an essay, statement, declaration, sermon, or admonition or in the concise style of imperatives and commandments. We may call such data "declaratory data." It is in this declaratory form that we may register at times the real as well as the ideal norms.
The learned books of Newton of Galileo are not the declaratory data of physics. They are findings, theories, oriented toward the relationship of nondeclaratory data, but facts, extraneous to man and to his observations. But how can we observe values? What we can observe in action (not a form of declaration) is relations between individuals and groups. Values appear as well in an empirical sense of observation and experimentation in a context of actions or behavior.