In G. John M. Abbarno (ed.), Inherent and Instrumental Values: Excursions in Value Inquiry. University Press of America. pp. 17-29 (2015)

Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo
Values exist not in isolation, but in complex wholes. Values are what they are because of the complex wholes in which they are situated. To do justice to this thesis will require a holistic ontology, a theory according to which many types of entities exist only as inseparable parts or moments of wider contexts or environments. An ontological theory of environments -- with roots in Gestalt psychology and the ecological psychology of J. J. Gibson and Roger Barker, and which is related also to the theory of motivation sketched by Edmund Husserl as part of his theory of the lifeworld or Lebenswelt -- will help us to understand the ontology of values. It will help us to understand what values are. It will not, however, tell us what is good or bad. From facts of ontology, no value propositions follow.
Keywords Roger Barker  J. J. Gibson  Uexk
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