Saturday, November 21, 2020

Different Ways of Valuing

Recently I watched the following video, which gave me some thoughts about how to value things:

Rayla Noel's album Isa, featuring her paintings.

One way to value things is hedonically. How much pleasure does it give us? I can say that this album does work on that level for me sometimes.

Another way is to value things preferentially. How much does this satisfy my preferences? Perhaps I was in the mood for the album, therefore it is good.

Another way to value things is fiducially. How much does this increase my receptivity to enhancement? I would say that this album does so more than a lot of things that are better at being hedonistic.

Yet another is to ask if it increases my agency? I'm not sure... maybe not too obviously. Maybe it encourages me somewhat, and that helps.

What about receptivity to reality? There are at least two ways to go with this. One is "reality is really just persons". In that case, does a song or album get you in the mode of consuming experience, or of connecting with people? I find that less-professional music helps me connect more with people. And also, a piece of music can help me connect with another person directly. I found this piece of music online by myself, but if someone had recommended it to me directly, I might have connected more with that person. To some small degree, I connect with the artist through this. This connection is valuable apart from any pleasure, pain, or preference satisfaction. The connection is not about my experience of the person, but about the person herself.

Another way to go with receptivity to reality is to say that each being has its own distinct nature and identity. Because something is different, it is valuable. If it is really bad, it is different, and therefore valuable. Perhaps we can't bear all bad things, but to bear bad things when we can is a good thing. Maybe things that are very much themselves are valuable, whether they are uncommon or not. They bring their reality to the world faithfully, allowing others to be receptive to their reality.

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