We explain what values ​​are, why they are important and how they are classified. Also, what are its general characteristics and examples.

Values ​​are qualities recognized by a social group.

What are values?

Values ​​are understood to be certain qualities of objects and/or subjects, which are considered positive. These qualities are recognized or attributed by a social group based on their behavior, their attitudes or their properties in a given area.

In another sense, value is also the acceptance or rejection (that is, the valuation) given to the subject or object. For example, when saying that one object is more valuable than another.

Values ​​have common properties that can be detailed, such as:

  • They are transcendent. They give meaning to human existence and therefore are considered as its tasks.
  • They are abstract and mental. It is not about concrete and verifiable objects, but mental or cultural interpretations of things and actions.
  • They are individual and collective. Depending on the case, the values ​​will manifest themselves more or less collectively: some will depend on each person’s way of thinking, while others will be quite universal.
  • They are historical. That is to say, they do not originate suddenly, nor by arbitrary decision, but as a result of a process or a historical evolution of societies. In addition, each historical moment can have different values.
  • They are hierarchical. Not all of them have the same predominance: some will be more central or main, while others are secondary.

See also: Good citizen

Importance of values

We can judge the values ​​based on what is acceptable or not.

Based on the values ​​we share with our society, we can assess everything around us.

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Objects, individuals and actions are considered on the basis of an abstract and ideal system present in our culture.

A) Yes, we can judge them based on what is convenient or nothow acceptable or not, prestigious or not, etc., that result.

Value types

There is no single and finite classification of the values ​​of a society. They apply to practically all areas of life and thought.

They exist like this ethical, moral, social, religious, cultural values and a diverse etcetera. In each case, as we will see below, judgments and understanding are applied to different areas of human life.

Ethical values

Ethical values
Ethical values ​​define what is correct behavior.

Ethics is the philosophical discipline dedicated to the study of the complex relationships between what is acceptable and what is unacceptablethat is, what is right and wrong. In addition, it studies how these concepts are applied to the behavior of the human being in society.

In this sense, ethical values ​​are those that have to do with human behavior “correct” and with decision making. As a behavior guide, these allow us to know when and how to act responsibly in various situations.

They should not be confused with morals, which have to do with what is considered good or bad per se. On the contrary, ethical values ​​have to do with human behavior and with the complexity of decision-making, in a world where right and wrong are relative positions.

Moral values

Moral values have to do with good and evil. These are absolute and often inapplicable concepts, which respond to a specific cultural framework of a given society. However, they allow judging actions and people between good and bad.

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The moral values ​​of a society they are changing and have to do with their cultural and religious history. They are associated with what is considered acceptable, in good taste, correct or acceptable by the social group, regardless of the reasons and extenuating circumstances.

See also: Moral standards

Social values

Social values ​​change as society does.

Social values ​​are those that emanate from society or from the human group that surrounds us. They are imposed on the individual by the community. and they may even be arbitrary, contrary to morality or ethics.

Are due to the appreciation that others exert on us and our behavior. Therefore, social values ​​change as society does, and evolve with it as new rules of the game are imposed over time.

religious values

Religious values ​​are those derived from religion or the church and that have to do with it. They generally respond to a code of spirituality contemplated by the religion and accepted by its practitioners, which may coincide more or less with other social, ethical or moral values.

However, religious values often operate within a certain religious metaphysics. In other words, they only apply if one decides to believe and practice said religion. However, in countries with a religious fundamentalist government, these values ​​become not subjective matters, but rather laws exercised by the State.

It can help you: Religious norms

Human values

Imposing the values ​​of ours on other cultures does not really make it universal.

By human values ​​or universal values ​​is meant an attempt to build categories of appreciation of behavior that are common to the entire species. They contemplate those appreciations that are most repeated throughout cultures, religions and societies.

Is about a controversial category, since imposing on other cultures the values ​​of ours does not make it truly universal, any more than it does it to accept willingly the values ​​of other cultures. In principle, the same thing happens with it as with human rights: we all accept them in principle, but they do not mean the same for everyone.

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It is often spoken of anti-values ​​to refer to totally contrary considerations of traditional values of a company in a certain area. In that sense, they are inverse values, as culturally determined as the “official” values.

Thus, if a society is particularly moralistic regarding sexuality, for example, it will seem to it that its free practice is immoral and that promoting it is equivalent to spreading anti-values. Its nature is relativesince it always depends on what type of value they oppose.

Education in values

values ​​- education
The education of values ​​falls on institutions such as schools.

The values They are not learned at birth, nor do they come in the genetic code.. They must be taught and transmitted from generation to generation, and this work generally falls on families and official institutions, such as schools. However, the media and social groups are also involved, even if not deliberately.

Education in values ​​is considered the method of forming a citizenship responsible with herself and with her environment, who fully understands what her culture appreciates in an individual and what it does not. Generally, “educating in values” is equivalent to receiving moral or ethical training.

Examples of values

  • Ethical values. Justice, freedom, honesty.
  • Moral values. Right, wrong, right, wrong.
  • Social values. Pespeto, courtesy, seduction.
  • religious values. Salvation, purity.
  • Human values. Life, liberty, free choice.


  • “Value (axiology)” on Wikipedia.
  • “Values ​​that make us human” in Ayuda en Acción.
  • “Definition of values ​​and their characteristics” in Psychological Ethics (blog).
  • “The characteristics of values” in ABC Color.
  • “Characteristics of securities” in Grupo Jumper 5.

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