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

What are values?

Values are understood as 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, it is also the acceptance or rejection (that is, the valuation) that is given to the subject or object. For example, by 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 taken as its tasks.
  • They are abstract and mental. It is not about concrete and verifiable objects, but rather mental or cultural interpretations of things and actions.
  • They are individual and collective. Depending on the case, the values will be manifested more or less collectively: some will depend on the way of thinking of each one, while others will be quite universal.
  • They are historical. That is, they do not originate suddenly, or by arbitrary decision, but as the result of a process or a historical evolution of societies . Furthermore, each historical moment can have different values.
  • They are hierarchical. Not all have the same predominance: some will be more central or main, while others are secondary.

Importance of values

Importance of values

Based on the values that we share with our society, we can evaluate everything around us .

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

Thus, we can judge them on the basis of what is convenient or not , what is acceptable or not, prestigious or not, etc., that they result.

Types of securities

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

Thus, there are 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

The ethics is the philosophical discipline dedicated to the study of the complex relationships between the acceptable and the unacceptable , that is, right and wrong. In addition, it studies how these concepts are applied to the behavior of human beings in society.

In that sense, ethical values are those that have to do with "correct" human behavior and decision-making . As a guide to behavior, they 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 in which good and bad are relative positions.

Moral values

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

The moral values of a society are changing and have to do with its 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 mitigating factors of the case.

Social values

Social values

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

They are due to the appreciation that others have for us and our behavior . Thus, 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 religion and accepted by its practitioners, which may more or less coincide 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 .

Human values

Human values

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

It is a controversial category , since imposing the values of our own on other cultures does not make it truly universal, nor does it make it willingly accept the values of other cultures. In principle, this is the same as with human rights : we all accept them in principle, but they do not mean the same to everyone.


Anti-values are often spoken of to refer to totally contrary considerations of the traditional values of a society in a given field. In that sense, they are inverse values, determined as culturally as the "official" values.

Thus, if a society is particularly moralistic about sexuality, for example, it will appear to it that its free practice is immoral and that promoting it amounts to spreading anti-values. Their nature is relative , since it always depends on what kind of value they oppose.

Education in values

Education in values

Values 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 task generally falls to families and official institutions, such as schools . However, mass communication and social groups are also involved, though not deliberately.

The education in values is considered the method of forming a citizens responsible with itself and its surroundings, which fully understand what their culture appreciates an individual and what not. Generally "educating in values" is equivalent to receiving a 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 , freedom , free choice.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


She has pursued her studies in The United States, where she has graduated in Business and Economics and is currently finishing her Master studies in International Economics and Finance. Miss. Amputee is fluent in three languages: English, Spanish and Russian and has elementary knowledge of French and Italian. She love exploring how Collaborative Research Group can become the best tool to achieve the (necessary) educational change. .

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