What is Good? What does it mean to be a "good" person? In order to be a car, the combination of metal, electronics, plastics, and rubber, assembled into what we refer to as a car, must have the properties that we associate with a car; namely, it must be able to move utilizing its own propulsion, it must be designed to carry human beings in a reasonably safe manner, it must be reliable from an engineering standpoint, and it must be identifiable and distinguishable for ownership. A car that does none of these things would be considered a "bad" car while a car that excelled at these things would be considered "better", or a "good" car. So, the concept of valueis dependent upon how well, or not, the object being measured fulfills its conceptual role or identity.
. VALUE has dimensions of segregation: the words systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic, can describe these dimensions.
You are on a walk and come across a lake in the wilderness. The lake appeals to you in these three dimensions: a) systemic value - the lake is composed of hydrogen and oxygen molecules that constitute a substance we call water, a life-sustaining compound, b) extrinsic value - the water can be used for drinking, bathing, floating upon (transportation), it erodes and flows, adding purpose to its existance, and c) intrinsic value - the scene of the lake causes you to feel peaceful, encourages you to reflect upon your life, and lifts your conscience onto a higher plane of sensibilities. The exact same substance affects our perceived value of it from those three dimensions. (See Robert S. Hartman)
. VALUE can be measured. If we understand well the things that we value the most then we can measure their impact on our lives.
Who then sets these standards, and by what authority are they established? Who's standards should we follow in a pluralistic society? An understanding of what we value should lead us to enhance our awareness of our social responsibilities, create a better equation for crime and punishment, and broaden our perspective of people who see things differently than we do. Axiology can help us find common ground in our shared human values.