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Axiology (from Greek ἀξία, axia, "value, worth"; and -λογία, -logia) is the philosophical study of value. It is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics, philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of worth, or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics. The term was first used by Paul Lapie, in 1902, and Eduard von Hartmann, in 1908.
Axiology studies mainly two kinds of values: ethics and aesthetics. Ethics investigates the concepts of "right" and "good" in individual and social conduct. Aesthetics studies the concepts of "beauty" and "harmony." Formal axiology, the attempt to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor, is exemplified by Robert S. Hartman's science of value.
Between the 5th and 6th century BC, it was important in Greece to be knowledgeable if you were to be successful. Philosophers began to recognize that differences existed between the laws and morality of society. Socrates believed that knowledge had a vital connection to virtue, making morality and democracy closely intertwined. Socrates' student, Plato furthered the belief by establishing virtues which should be followed by all. With the fall of the government, values became individual, causing skeptic schools of thought to flourish, ultimately shaping a pagan philosophy that is thought to have influenced and shaped Christianity. During the medieval period, Thomas Aquinas made the distinction between natural and supernatural (theological) virtues. This concept led philosophers to distinguish between judgments based on fact and judgments based on values, creating division between science and philosophy.
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