Stating that the concept of values is elusive is a commonplace. Definitions abound, showing little consensus and offering understandings of values as moral ends, objects of concern or interest, qualities of worth, preferences, rationalizations for action, and more. The American theorist Ralph Barton Perry, author of an early systematic work on the subject (1926), famously defined a value as “any object of any interest.” Most others use narrower definitions than this, severing the relation with interests and counting as values only relatively abstract desiderata like peace, knowledge, or safety (concrete objects like clean water provision being referred to as public goods rather than public values). Many also tend to define values more subjectively than Perry did, incorporating into their definitions the perceptions, valuations, or assessments ...

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