ValueVista: What is Axiology?

The Philosophy of Values

Axiology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the study of values and judgments about what is considered valuable or worthwhile. It explores the nature of values, examines ethical theories, and evaluates the principles by which people make judgments about right and wrong, good and bad, beauty and ugliness.

Axiology is derived from the Greek words "axios," meaning "value" or "worth," and "logos," meaning "study" or "science." It encompasses two main subfields: ethics and aesthetics.

  1. Ethics: Ethics is concerned with moral values and principles that govern human behavior. It addresses questions about what is morally right or wrong, good or bad, and how individuals should act in different situations. Ethical theories, such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, provide frameworks for understanding and evaluating ethical dilemmas.
  2. Aesthetics: Aesthetics deals with the nature of beauty, art, and taste. It explores questions about what is considered aesthetically pleasing or valuable, and how we experience and interpret art, beauty, and other aesthetic phenomena. Aesthetic theories examine concepts like beauty, sublimity, harmony, and the nature of artistic expression.

Axiology plays a crucial role in shaping our values, beliefs, and judgments. It provides a framework for individuals, societies, and cultures to analyze and evaluate ethical and aesthetic issues, and to make informed decisions about what is valuable and worthwhile in life.

Hartman's Axiology

Robert S. Hartman developed a formal axiological system known as the Hartman Value Profile (HVP), which aimed to establish an objective hierarchy of values. According to Hartman's theory, values can be objectively measured and arranged in a specific order, ranging from lowest to highest value. This order of values is often referred to as the "correct" order.

Hartman's work and his claim of an objective hierarchy of values have been the subject of some controversy and debate within the field of axiology and philosophy. Critics argue that the idea of a universally correct order of values is subjective and influenced by cultural, personal, and contextual factors.

Some concerns raised include:

  1. Cultural Relativity: Values and their prioritization can vary across cultures and societies. What one culture considers as the highest value might differ from another. Therefore, imposing a singular "correct" order of values across diverse cultures can be seen as culturally insensitive or ethnocentric.
  2. Individual Subjectivity: Values are deeply personal and can vary from person to person. Different individuals may prioritize values differently based on their unique experiences, beliefs, and goals. It is argued that imposing an objective hierarchy may neglect individual autonomy and freedom of choice.
  3. Contextual Variation: Values and their prioritization can also vary depending on the specific context or situation. For example, an individual's values in a professional setting may differ from their values in personal relationships. Thus, the idea of a fixed and objective order of values may overlook the dynamic nature of human decision-making.

It's important to note that while Hartman's theory and the concept of a "correct" order of values have faced criticism, they have also received support and influenced further research in axiology. The discussion and exploration of different perspectives on this topic continue to shape the field.

What we are measuring with the ValueVista Survey

You will be presented with several lists of statements and asked to order each list from 'best' to 'worst' or 'most good' to 'worst'.

The basic premise of this system, and Hartman's original work, is that there is a single correct order for each of these groups of statements. Your ranking of the statements will be compared to this correct order and, based on where your ranking differs from the correct order, ValueVista will be able to determine your personal hierarchy of values and give you some insights into what that means in different domains of your life.


Clarity of valuation : Ability to correctly value / value sensitivity.

Dimension balance : Dimension Balance measures your ability to appropriately balance between Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Systemic values across various domains, including work, career, organizational culture, the world, and personal life. It assesses your capacity to perceive and establish a harmonious relationship among these value dimensions, as well as your skill in prioritizing important aspects within each domain.

Grip on reality : Your ability to accurately discern between positive and negative values in different aspects of life. Those with a strong grip on reality exhibit a no-nonsense mentality, remain grounded, and possess a clear understanding of the functioning of various domains. However, individuals with varying degrees of grip on reality may show tendencies towards rebellion, nihilism, and intentional switching of positive and negative valuations. This trait can indicate creativity, a propensity for innovation, an original approach, and a willingness to challenge and transform values to gain a fresh perspective.

Distortion : This trait measures your tendency to blur the distinction between positive and negative values, which can lead to confusion or a unique perspective on evaluating various aspects of life. Those with a higher degree of distortion may exhibit a less sober mentality, show a propensity towards rebellion or nihilism, and demonstrate a creative and innovative approach. They may have a unique ability to see "good" in "bad" and vice versa, challenging traditional value systems and turning them on their heads.

Emotional control : Refers to your ability to effectively manage and regulate your emotions in various aspects of life. Those with good emotional control demonstrate self-knowledge, objective distance, and the capacity to solve problems in their work, career, organizational culture, and personal life. However, individuals with varying degrees of emotional control may exhibit self-criticism, feelings of insecurity or fear, and varying levels of objective distance, which can impact their problem-solving abilities and overall well-being.

Vitality Index : How at-risk are you for stagnation versus functioning in a healthy way.

Self-actualization : Your ability to access and utilize your full potential in various aspects of life, including work, career, personal development, and contribution to the world. It encompasses qualities such as performance, satisfaction, passion, insight into your abilities, and the ability to fulfill roles and responsibilities effectively.

Inner balance : Inner calm versus degree of inner tension.

Coping : Your capacity to effectively manage and adapt to stress, adversity, and challenging situations. It assesses how well you can deal with the demands and pressures they encounter in their daily life. Coping skills can play a crucial role in maintaining mental well-being and navigating through difficult circumstances.

There is actually more information available to a trained counselor than what is presented in this report, this list of scales is just a summary of the most important, and easily explained, ones.