Friday, March 11, 2011

A Praxeology of Truth, Virtue, and Beauty

"Let truth as a human value be defined as the recognition of permanence in reality" (J.T. Fraser, "Time, Conflict, and Human Values, 46).

"Good as a human value is an assertion that a certain conduct, intent, or character trait will promote stable balance and harmony in the mind and affairs of a person and in the dynamics of society here on earth or elsewhere in a postmortem world" (84).

"If the quality of feelings is such as to make one desire its perpetuation, then whatever is believed to be reponsible for it is said to be beautiful. If the quality of the feeling s is such as to make one desire to be absent, then whatever is believed to be responsible for it is said to be ugly." (125-6)
In each of these definitions, Fraser is defining a particular value people hold. People value truth, virtue, and beauty -- among other values, of course.

"Human action is purposeful action. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego's meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life." (Mises, "Human Action," 11)

"The ultimate goal of human action is always the satisfaction of the acting man's desire. There is no standard of greater or lesser satisfaction other than individual judgments of value, different for various people and for the same people at varius times. What makes a man feel uneasy and less uneasy is established by him from the standard fo his own will and judgment, from his personal and subjective valuation. (14)

"Human action is one of the agencies bringing about change. It is an element of cosmic activity and becoming" (18).
If you want to discover truth, achieve virtue, or create beauty, praxeology -- the science of human action -- is also relevant. But its application still needs to be developed.

And we must not forget that

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty" -- John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn
"Virtue aims at the beautiful" -- Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
So the three are deeply interrelated. How does this affect a praxeology of each?
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