I. Meaning of Axiology and Significance of Value

Before outlining the new view of value, let me first explain about the meaning of axiology, and the meaning of value.

1. Meaning of Axiology

Value theory is dealt with in economics, in ethics, and in various other disciplines. In philosophy, axiology refers to the philosophy of value. In other words, it is that field of philosophy that deals with value in general. The content of axiology, even fragmentarily, can already be found in ancient times. But, it is in modern times, especially after Kant made his well-known distinction between fact and value, that axiology became an important field of study in philosophy.

Particularly, Rudolph H. Lotze (1817-81), who made a distinction between value and existence, whereby value is regarded as being in contradistinction to existence, argued that existence is comprehended with the intellect, while value is comprehended with the emotion. He became the founder of axiology by introducing the clear concept of value into philosophy.

2. What Are Values?

Since the term “value” was originally derived from economic life, it refers mainly to economic value. Today, however, the term has become more generalized, being used in almost all areas of human activity, including society, politics, economics, law, morality, art, learning, religion, etc. In the Unification Thought view, there are both material values and spiritual values. Material values are connected with the daily necessities of human life, such as commodities; on the other hand, spiritual values refer to those values corresponding to the faculties of intellect, emotion, and will, namely, the values of truth, beauty, and goodness. Of these two kinds, Unification Axiology deals primarily with the spiritual values.

It has generally been thought difficult to define the concept of value and that there was no other way to deal with it than to analyze it through those phenomena related to it. In the theory of axiology presented here, however, value is defined as that quality of an object that satisfies the desire of the subject. That is, when an object has a certain quality that satisfies the desire or wish of the subject and which is recognized as such by the subject, then that special quality of the object can be called value. In other words, value is something that belongs to an object; yet, unless it is recognized as valuable by the subject, it does not become actual value. For example, even though there may exist a flower, unless someone (the subject) perceives the beauty of that flower, the actual value (beauty) of the flower does not manifest. In this way, in order for value to become actual, there is a need for a process in which a subject must recognize the quality of an object and must appraise that quality as valuable.

3. Desire

As explained above, value refers to the quality of an object that satisfies the desire of a subject. Therefore, in order to discuss values, we need to analyze the desire of the subject. Philosophical attempts to deal with questions of value (including material value) have generally focused on objective phenomena alone, excluding consideration of human desire. They have, therefore, been inadequate, like a tree without roots. A tree without roots withers. Accordingly, existing thought systems are revealing their insufficiency today as regards solving various social problems.

For example, economic theories, which deal with material values, have become relatively useless in solving the phenomena of the current economic confusion. Many complex problems, which even many economists did not anticipate, are also emerging, such as the impact that labor-management relations can have on business results. Why is this? The primary reason is that economists have not correctly analyzed human desire itself. Although they know that the motivation of economic activity is human desire, they have not engaged in any serious analysis of this desire. In order to understand such phenomena correctly, we should begin by analyzing human desire. Prior to this, however, let us first address the Divine Principle foundation of axiology, so that we may begin with the proper context.