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Author Topic: Can we Quantify Value?  (Read 2661 times)

Offline coberst

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Can we Quantify Value?
« on: 29/12/2008 19:37:53 »
Can we Quantify Value?

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of science.”– Lord Kelvin

Lord Kelvin is making a value judgment.  Has his value judgment advanced to the state of being a science?  We do not have a physical standard for such a measurement so his judgment of this matter is unsatisfactory, at least in his valuation of judgment.

We have developed standards for quantifying certain physical parameters.  We have standards for distance, weight, and time.  The physical sciences utilize these standards for measuring things that have length, gravity, and duration.  We have not developed similar quantifying standards for many other things that are of value to us.  This may mean that the measurement of these values is unsatisfactory but again this is a value judgment, which is, as Lord Kelvin says, unsatisfactory.  However unsatisfactory it does not mean that we cannot develop a disciplined, empirical, and systematic study of our values, that is to say we can develop a science of any domain of knowledge.

The quantification of qualities is useful especially in qualities that seldom change but, however unsatisfactory, it does not mean that we cannot develop a disciplined, empirical, and systematic study of our values.

Many of my teachers in grade school gave us report cards with number rather than letter grades.  Since this is a quantification of value is it better than a letter grade?  The quantification of an assessment of value seems to be an arbitrary assignment of the degree of value in which a judgment is held.

Can you quantify beauty, right, wrong, evil, good, sanity, aptness, inaptness, IQ (evidently we have developed a standard here), sophistication, democracy, freedom, etc?



 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #1 on: 30/12/2008 05:33:20 »
Can you quantify beauty, right, wrong, evil, good, sanity, aptness, inaptness, IQ (evidently we have developed a standard here), sophistication, democracy, freedom, etc?
There is no standard from which we can base everything else around. There is no absolute beauty or right/evil etc... and no (whats the opposite of absolute???) beauty right/evil etc...
But you pose a good question. I'm sure other people will have a say on what they think about this.
 

Offline coberst

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #2 on: 30/12/2008 12:03:55 »
Can you quantify beauty, right, wrong, evil, good, sanity, aptness, inaptness, IQ (evidently we have developed a standard here), sophistication, democracy, freedom, etc?
There is no standard from which we can base everything else around. There is no absolute beauty or right/evil etc... and no (whats the opposite of absolute???) beauty right/evil etc...
But you pose a good question. I'm sure other people will have a say on what they think about this.


Good point.  What is a standard?  Why do we place such "faith" in these standards that we have created for such measurments as length, time, and weight?
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #3 on: 31/12/2008 02:34:55 »
Well, I'm not actually sure, just how do they exactly define one second/centimeter/gram? I know temperature is based on water and its boiling and melting points but thats about the only 'standard' I can think of at the moment...
I realised that I'm just answering your questions with more questions, basically I Don't Know ::) ???
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #4 on: 31/12/2008 12:06:26 »
Why do we place such "faith" in these standards that we have created for such measurments as length, time, and weight?
As long as we stick with them I suppose its not a problem, but it would be a lot harder to get a gauge on values because not everyone will stick with them...
If you understand my line of thinking here...(probably not eh?)
 

Offline coberst

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #5 on: 31/12/2008 13:30:30 »
Why do we place such "faith" in these standards that we have created for such measurments as length, time, and weight?
As long as we stick with them I suppose its not a problem, but it would be a lot harder to get a gauge on values because not everyone will stick with them...
If you understand my line of thinking here...(probably not eh?)

I think that it is easier to stick with a standard about things that have little or no meaning for us.  Values are values because they are generally very meaningful.  That is to say that we quantify matters that are less meaningful than those that are more meaningful.  Sounds crazy, right?  Lord Kelvin would say that we know a great deal more about the less meaningful.
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Can we Quantify Value?
« Reply #6 on: 01/01/2009 02:27:17 »
True, definitely. Is that your view on this topic?
« Last Edit: 01/01/2009 03:00:07 by Chemistry4me »
 

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Can we Quantify Value?
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