Franco Rositi

On the distinction between aims and values

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: values, aims, normative system, sociological tradition, public/private.

The recent, self-assured uses of the term "value" in the sociological research should not live down the ambivalence of a theoretical tradition which either overloaded idealistically the concept of value or got rid of it as a muddled idea. Instead, it's convenient to go back to Max Weber's analytical dualism, re-establishing the theoretical importance of the distinction between aims and values. This dualism has been bro¬ken off by theories that either assemble the ends-world into the idea of value, or that flatten out any end on the notion of "preference". Beginning with the statement that the distinction between aims and values cannot be grasped at the behavioral level and that it can only be recognized trough the different ways in which the ends are declared, the essay closes with a definition of the two terms that refers to the fundamental distinction between private and public.

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