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The Fundamental Changes in Traditional Western Value Philosophy Brought by Information Axiology of Wu Kun
1  Xi'an Jiaotong University


1.The root cause of stagnation of western value philosophy

After had developed hundred years, western value philosophy have been in a standstill and met some theoretical difficulties. I believe the reason resulting in this predicament comes down to it that the ontology has been built on the dualism which splits the world into substance and spirituality. Mr. Wang Yuliang generally concluded the developing process of western value philosophy into three steps:The first step, which had been lasting from the end of 19th century to the early 20th century, was the formation period of western value philosophy. During this period, the subjectivism axiology, such as theories of Affective pleasant, object of desire, meet the demand, evaluation result had maintained the predominance. The second step, which had been lasting from the early 20th century to the 1920s, was a period that the subjectivism axiology and objectivism axiology had co-existed. Except the subjectivism axiology mentioned above, in this period the theory of object of interest had emerged.

Meanwhile, two objectivism axiology, intuitionism axiology and phenomenology axiology, had emerged as well. The third step, which has been lasting from the 1930s till now, the subjectivism axiology, especially the emotionalism, has played a predominant role. To summarize the main formations of the three steps’ axiology, we can acquire two dominating branches of axiology, subjectivism axiology and objectivism axiology. Professor Northrop had ever said that the concept mainly has two kinds: one is acquired on instinct, the other one is acquired by hypothesis. He said :“The concept that acquired on instinct is such kind a concept that express some direct insight things, the full significance of it is given by some direct insight things. ”Making a general survey of subjectivism axiology, its various concepts can be boiled down to the concepts acquired on instinct, such as theories of Affective pleasant, object of desire, meet the demand, evaluation result and so on, which  are all perceived by human intuitive feeling directly. Therefore, the subjectivism insists that we must use the intuitive feeling, whether it has been satisfied and pleased, whether its desires have been implemented, whether it obtains favorable outcome, to define if the value exists. And the positive value that is advantageous to human is the real value, the negative value and neutral value don’t exist, so the boundedness, one-sideness and the unsustainability of subjective value have been reflected.

The other value form, objectivism axiology that is contrary to subjective value form, had emerged in the first 20 years of 20th century. This situation can be explained by Hegelian words-everything contains its negation and Chinese ancient philosophy book, the Book of Changes which annotated by Taoism and Confucianism, also pointed out it that everything in this world, when it develops to its extremity, will develop conversely to the other extremity. Therefore, when the subjective value develops to its extremity, its negation-objective value, will be sure to emerge. Going around and around, nowadays the subjective value becomes the leading role once again. As you can see, the western value philosophy has been hovering between the subjective and objective axiology al the time, using different languages and concepts to interpret it and repeating this work, so it is impossible to have any theoretical breakthrough.

The reason leading to this plight is that the division of subjectivism and objectivism, which is the greatest obstacle. Moreover, this division is built on the traditional dualism, which indicates us that the western value philosophy is fundamentally restricted by its conservative ontology, which leaves no chance for it to break through and develop.

2.The root cause of stagnation of western value philosophy

If it wants to transcend its old frame, the western value philosophy has to find out the breakthrough point on ontology. And Wu kun’s philosophy of information brings us a brand new  perspective, which makes the fundamental change in ontology possible. He surmounts the traditional threshold of dualism, treating the information as a being and introducing a new ontological viewpoint. He produces a in-self information as a media located between substance and spirit, thus he gives us a whole new world view-a double beings world, which is that an information world reflecting multiple prescriptive property of material world is beard by the material world. Therefore, this world, our world, and its all existence are both physical and informational.

While we conclude that our world is a double beings world that contains matter and information, we revolutionize the traditional dualism world view. The relationship between matter and spirit are no longer the fundamental relation of ontology, and we should define at least three relations from a complex and multiple information world perspective: the relation between matter and information, the relation between matter and spirit and the relation between information and spirit. Therefore we can conclude three philosophical categories of information form: in-self information, for-self information and reproductive information.

3. The new meaning and value of information axiology of Wu Kun

3.1 The definition of value in the information value philosophy.

Currently more popular definition of value is usually considered by placing in the relationship between subject and object, namely one kind of effectiveness relationship that object meet the requirements of the subject with their own properties and subject is met by object. Such definitions emphasize that the subject is satisfied by object with their own properties, and the definition is based on the premise of that the subject can perceive the object. Otherwise there is no theory of meet the demand, then how the subject to perceive the objects, the existing theories of Western value philosophy is failed or not been elucidated.

Wu Kun described the cognitive activities of human in his information theory of epistemology, namely the object can not access directly to the human perceptual system, human sense organs can not contact with the object directly, but should re-combined information about the object that useful for subject through a lot of intermediary and multilayer filter. Thus, if there is no informational intermediaries, there is no human perception, feelings, let alone the meet problems. Therefore, the current popular definition of the value is a narrow definition that even didn’t defined the nature of real value, then the philosophical theories of values in Western under the definition must be one-sided, superficial, and not stand up to scrutiny.

The information philosophy of value that introduce the information redefined the concept of the value:“ From a philosophical level, the value is the effects that (material, information, including the subjective form of information - spirit) achieved by internal interaction or external interaction of things.” This definition is firstly breakthrough the definition take the subject as the reference, regard the value as a common phenomenon in internal interaction or external interaction of all things; Secondly, further proposed that only interaction is not value, interaction itself does not the value directly, the changes in each sides caused by interaction is the effect(value) ;Thirdly, the effect that realized in the interaction not only can occur in the relationship between the material and spirit, but also may occur in the relationship between the material and information, information and spirit, and which should be the fundamental relationship between the material and information; and finally, this effect should be the interaction of two or more parties shared nature of the effect can be positive, negative or neutral , not judge by man, but by the role of the development of things, which can be judge as positive value, negative value or neutral value. It seems that the definition of the value proposed by Wu Kun is more extensive applicability and explanatory power. It covers the existing Western value theory that major centering on subject, also can explain the natural value phenomenon which did not clarified in Western value theories. And from the vertical and horizontal relationships in the evolution of the universe, the natural value or Heaven value is called ontological value, primary value, information philosophy of value that established on the basis of this can be continually renewed, progressive, while humanitarian value advocated by the Western value philosophy is only secondary value or derived value, regard it as a value ontology, its foundation itself is  not reliable, which will inevitably fall into the theory crisis.

3.2 Three classifications of value form based on the form of information

Since there are three basic forms of information in the philosophy of information: In-itself information,for-itself information and regenerated information. So we have reason to believe that there are also three basic value forms (in-itself value, for-itself value and regenerated value) in the information philosophy of value that developed on the basis of philosophy of information, First of all, the in-itself value is effect that generated by the interaction of universe itself and cosmic inventory in accordance with their own laws, which is the most common and most basic form of value, and can also be called primary value.

As long as the universe exists, everything in this open system commonly correlates with each other and its interrelations with things outside this system also  universally exist. Consequently, everything itself and the mutual interaction and multiple interactions among everything inside and outside this system produce effects, which makes sure that the initself information exist, dispensing with judging by satisfying the need of subject. In the second, for-itself value ,in fact, is the value that advocated by the Western value philosophy which recognize the value cognition of people as a starting point, recognize the evaluation results of value of human as value itself, then appearing of the related theory of value such as“positive effect of the object to the subject” or “the object meet the requirements of the subject”that specified the value itself. Because of that the for-itself value is value form that demand the subject’t intuitive grasp to initself value through perceiving the information transmitted by object.

Finally, the regenerated value is a value form and value idea that human striving for and trying to achieved, which imagined and transformed by human on the basis of for-itself value As seen above, the new information value philosophy that based on the philosophy of information, can break through obstacles of development of existing Western value philosophy which introduced to concept of information made itself more inclusive and universal. In addition, the natural value or Heaven value is raised to the ontological value, and more in line with the development and evolution of the universe, and will certainly continue to innovate and develop with the evolution of the universe. Furthermore, the new information value philosophy is more refined the form of value, including initself value, for-itself value and regenerated value .Thus, I believe that this is a fundamental change for Western value philosophy.