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Bernard Malamud The Assistant, Saul Bellow Seize the Day and Flannery O’Connor The Violent Bear it away


2.2.1 Nicolai Hartmann: A scheme of values

Hartmann’s system of values is divided into two main parts: moral values and extra-moral values. The moral values can once again be divided into basic values and special values. Martin Morgenstern developped the following scheme to classify the different kinds of values:      


Sittliche Werte

  • Grundwerte
Das Gute – das Edle- die Fülle – die Reinheit
  • spezielle Werte
  • a) antike          b) mittelalterliche        c) neuzeitliche

    Gerechtigkeit       Nächstenliebe           Fernstenliebe

    Weisheit           Wahrhaftigkeit   „schenkende Tugend“

    Tapferkeit                Treue                 Persönlichkeit

    Beherrschung            Demut                       Liebe


    Außermoralische Werte 

         personale Werte        Güterwerte         ästhetische Werte



    One of the most important values, for Hartmann, is The Good, but also other values as for example, The Noble, The Fullness and The Pure. These values can be seen as a base of all other values further values. Landmann calls these values the horizontal ones, the basic ones. Talking about Hartmann’s idea of values, you can say that his whole system consists of the named group of universal ethic foundamental values as well as of three special groups of ethic values, which Hartmann names Antique, Christian and Modern Basic Virtues; Landmann calls this whole group Higher Values or veritcal ones. The foundamental Value of the Antique Value is Justice; it incorporates security and is because of this the base of all higher values. Wisdom, Braveness and  Self-Control are further Antique values. The so-called Christian values are Charity, Veracity, Fidelity and Humility. As Charity is cares for other people’s well-being, it is an important value for the German philosopher. The third group of ethical values contains modern values, as for example the so-called Love towards Foreigners, the Giving Virtue, Personality and Love. Charity and the Love towards Foreigners can be seen as two opposing poles. Morgenstern writes about them:
    „Der Nächstenliebe steht nach Hartmann die Fernstenliebe als Verantwortung für die Zukunft gegenüber.“
    They build up our heirs’ world. Love is a way for Hartmann to see in someone else the ideal of a person and then to convey this person to become like one’s ideal.
    In a certain way, Hartmann decides between higher and lower values. Higher values are the weaker ones; lower values are the stronger and more foundamental ones and so its violation is worse. As an example you can take the following one: Murder is worse than disloyalty. You can deduce from that that a higher value such as loyalty can be found in a morally higher position, but in real life in a less important one. From this, you can conclude that the higher values are, the less strong they are; and as the lower values, such as life, are the foundament for the higher one’s, people should not only care about higher values. For Hartmann, life must be orientated from both height and strength of values.
    Michael Landmann writes about values, their worth and their violation; finally he gives an example similar to Morgenstern’s:
    „Die Erfüllung der höheren Tugend ist moralisch wertvoller, dagegen wiegt die Versündigung gegen die niedrige schwerer. Mord ist schwerstes Vergehen, aber der zu diesem Unwert gehörige Wert, die Respektierung fremden Lebens, nicht der höchste moralische Habitus. Diebstahl gilt als verwerflicher als Übelwollen, obgleich persönliches Wohlwollen verglichen mit der bloßen Achtung vor dem Eigentum des andern den höheren Wert darstellt.“
    Lower values have to be respected by everyone. Higher values give us more freedom.

    Michael Landmann writes furtheron about Hartmann’s philosophy that there are two horizons of values: a vertical and a horizontal one, both form a kind of contrast or balance.
    Non-moral values are Personal Values, Material Values and Aesthetical Values. In this scheme one can see that Hartmann focuses especially on the moral values, non-material values, as for example wealth are not regarded as one of the main values.   

    There is no right or wrong value, no more or less important value. Conflicts can be seen as difficult situations between values in complicated circumstances. The dialectic between two different values makes us firm. Finally you can say that the incompleteness values leaves space for personal freedom.  


    Furtheron Morgenstern quotes Hartmann:
    „Verkehrt ist ein moralisches Leben, das den höchsten Werten allein zugewandt ist und die niederen vernachlässigt, als wäre es möglich, jene in der Luft schwebend, ohne Fundament, zu realisieren. Aber armselig ist ein moralisches Leben, das mit seinen Intentionen in den niederen Werten gefangen bleibt und aufgeht."
    When concluding, you can say that people have to find their own way between different levels of moral and non-moral values. Although we must keep an eye on what Hartmann describes in his Ethik, we should not over-valorize it. Neither higher nor lower values can be realised by everyone in the same way because of many individual reasons.
    „It is impossible that something which is valuable under given conditions here and now should not always be valuable under identical conditions at some other time; but it is perfectly possible that, under changed conditions, it is no longer felt to be valuable at all.“
    Speaking with Cadwallader, we can conclude for the future that all values which exist today may be revised or changed in future times. Values can be seen as one of the most important points of every society.





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