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Axiology V16
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Axiology V16


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  • 1. The Hierarchy of Value An Axiological Exploration Somik Raha Doctoral Candidate Stanford University Feb 19, 2008
  • 2. What do social ventures care about?
    • Propose Ethnography
    • Without Ethnography: Public Safety
    • With Ethnography: Public Safety and Education
  • 3. How much do they care?
    • Propose Hierarchy of Value from Formal Axiology
  • 4. Goal
    • Before assigning dollar values, I want to figure out what I care about
    • Come up with a framing tool that helps me understand how much I value something before assigning dollar amounts
  • 5. The origin of value
    • Comes from a sense of “good”
    • Definition of Good
    • Something is good when it fulfills the definition of its concept.
    • Good = concept fulfillment
  • 6. Three types of concepts
    • Synthetic, Abstract and Singular
    • Fulfillment of synthetic concepts generates systemic value. e.g. regulatory fulfillment
    • Fulfillment of abstract concepts generates extrinsic value. e.g. good chair, car, etc.
    • Fulfillment of singular concepts generates intrinsic value. e.g. unique chair, car, etc.
  • 7. Usage
    • I want a round table
    • Roundness of an actual table gives me systemic value, but is not enough.
    • The fact that the table has all the properties of the concept “table” makes it a good table, and provides extrinsic value
    • Suppose I find out that this round table once belonged to Kennedy. It is now a unique round table that is worth much more than a regular round table.
  • 8. Good “Campus Bike Safety”
    • I want compliance of bike safety laws – there is systemic value in the enforcement of such laws.
    • I want people to be good bike riders. They are good bike riders when they fulfill the definition of a good bike rider in my mind- one of the properties is one who rides safely. Fulfilling this definition gives extrinsic value.
    • Finally, I want bike riders to appreciate bike safety so much that they would be willing to educate their family and friends to ride safely. This gives intrinsic value.
  • 9. Detectors
    • In a sense, systemic values are a detector for extrinsic values
    • Extrinsic values are a detector for intrinsic values
  • 10. Actions and value
    • Are my actions leading to more systemic value?
    • Are my actions leading to more extrinsic value?
    • Are my actions leading to more intrinsic value?
  • 11. How would I know?
    • Systemic value is easy to observe
    • Extrinsic value is harder – patrols, people looking out for risky bike behavior, etc.
    • Intrinsic value is hardest to observe – ask those who finish a bike safety class if anyone wants to teach/organize bike safety classes in their dorms
  • 12. Moving to dollar valuations
    • Dollar values have to be assigned keeping in mind all three levels of value
    • What am I willing to pay to receive only systemic value? (Recording Violations)
    • What am I willing to pay to receive systemic and extrinsic value? (Observing bike behavior, Vaden activity – no violations but people are injured)
    • What am I willing to pay to receive all three levels of value? (Conducting once-a-month class on bike safety)
  • 13. Other Social Ventures
  • 14. Good “AIDS Education”
    • A measurable drop in those who get AIDS. A measurable drop in misunderstanding levels of how one gets AIDS.
    • People are taking safety measures to protect themselves from AIDS.
    • Developing compassion about those who have AIDS, and helping educate friends and colleagues.