Value

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The word value has several meanings:

  • emotionally, it means the things that we act to protect, e.g. we value our own children, our own home.
  • moral value is the closest to this that we can express in symbols like words, and it has some legal expressions, e.g. moral rights to creative works, but is generally considered intangible.
When people talk about "the spirit of" an agreement or institution they are trying to invoke its moral value. Whether this invocation is itself moral or not depends on the situation and the values of the invoker - a faction consists of people who will generally accept one view of this, and unite to defend that view against others. This type of valuation is usually quite irrational because it isn't meant to be challenged, it's more of a challenge in and of itself to say "that is amoral" or "that is immoral" for instance.