In: The Oxford Handbook of Human Essence
This chapter examines psychological and philosophical traditions in the study of values. It explores two perspectives on values that are useful for thinking about their role in understanding what it means to be human. The internal perspective focuses on the roles values play in the psychological functioning of people and how they relate to human essence. The external perspective describes how values are produced and acquired both in phylogenesis and in ontogenesis and how that contributes to human essence. It is suggested that the phylogenetic perspective explains the pan-cultural agreement in value hierarchies and the ontogenetic perspective explains both the assimilation of the cultural system of values and inter-individual diversity. The chapter also considers relations between personality and values and the metaphysical interpretation of values. Finally, it reflects on the relevance of values to human essence.