A Question of VALUES

Six ways we make the personal choices that shape our lives

by Hunter Lewis presented by Joe Kolberg

We Choose Our Values in Six Ways

There are many ways we choose our values but they all really fall under six categories:

  1. Authority
  2. Logic
  3. Sense Experience
  4. Emotion
  5. Intuition
  6. "Science"
We'll be going over each value in their own section.


One way we choose our values is by authority. What I mean by that is we usually have faith in a higher authority when we choose our values; taking someone's word. Some prime examples of this is having faith in the Bible, or government, etc.


The second way we choose our values is through logic. To elaborate, we choose our values through what makes sense when we think about it. One example of this is when Dick Christensen, a teacher at Gonzaga High, a Catholic school in Washington D.C. decided to do a six week unit in his class starting with asking his class to think of this hypothetical situation:

"Russian missiles are headed toward ten American cities and there is not enough time to stop them. About ten million people will die including the president. The president must first decide whether to launch a retaliatory attack that would kill at least 150 million Soviet citizens. If you were president, would you order the strike?"

Initially there were 10 students for yes, and 4 students who reluctantly raised their hands for no, and 2 students undecided. Over the course of the six weeks discussing the situation, the students each made their decision of what they would do; with ten "nukers" and four "non-nukers." They used their logic and values to finalize their decisions.

Sense Experience

Third third way we choose our values is through sense experience. As said in the words, using our senses and experiences, we know if something if something is true. Basic examples of this are, "I know it's true because I saw it" or "I heard it," "I smelled it" or even, "I know because I touched it." An ideal real-life example of this is the episode of The Twilight Zone where there is a gremlin aboard on an airplane.


The fourth way we choose our values is through emotion. It is when we personally feel that something is right or wrong. Many of us would want deny that we do this but we think, judge, and believe things through our emotions but we do this all the time without even knowing it. We tend to do this the most out of all the ways we choose our values.


Intuition is an interesting way we choose our values. We think very consciously, not using our emotions, and being rather rational. It is not as self explanatory as the others but we've all experienced it. It's usually when you're thinking over something, maybe trying to remember something, but it suddenly hits you once you stop thinking very consciously or when you wake up.


Last to mention but not least is science. Science, is when we experiment if something is right. Choosing our values via science requires us to use some of the previously mentioned ways. First we use sense experience to gather facts. Then we immerse ourselves in the facts until a solution comes to mind, which is intuition. Third, we think through all the logical implications of the hypothesis, such as thinking if A is true, then B and C is also true. Lastly, we validate if B and C is true or not using the same facts.