What are Human Values?

Values imply individual preferences. They are the long lasting and fundamental beliefs that can guide, motivate the attitudes or actions of a Person.  Human values are the virtues that guide us to take into account the human element when we interact with other human beings. Honesty, Integrity, Truthfulness, Respect, Love, Empathy, Sympathy etc. are some of the basic values.


A] Terminal values and Instrumental values

  • Terminal values are the core permanent values that often become the traits of one’s character. They can be good or bad. They are very hard to change. Terminal Values include things like happiness, self-respect, family security, recognition, freedom, inner harmony, comfortable life, professional excellence, etc. terminal values are desirable states of existence.
  • Instrumental values a part of a values definition creates by social psychologist Milton Rokeach. He define instrumental values as those which specific modes of behaviour. They not an end goal, but provide a means by which an end goal is accomplish.

B] Intrinsic values and Extrinsic values

  • An intrinsic value is one which has worth in its own right. It is an end- in-itself. Intrinsic values are good irrespective of the consequences they bring. Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics. Honesty, temperance, courage, happiness, peace etc. are examples of intrinsic values.
  • An Extrinsic value is one which is a means to attain some other intrinsic value. It is of instrumental worth only as they serve as means to achieve an end. Values such as health, money, fame, status, intelligence, and so on are the ‘means-values’ or ‘path-values’ which help achieve the end values.

Values make an individual upright and more stable during the times of difficulty situations in the life. Without values, human life would be drained of significance, degenerating into a bland and texture less existence without differentiation. The values acts as an anchor to the moral ship of a man and help us in separating the right from the wrong.