Socrates was the first to speak of the essence and value of the good. Athenian democracy was undergoing a crisis, and there was a change in the cultural patterns of organization of existence and community. This process was also overshadowed by losing reference points in people’s spiritual life. Philosophy gradually evolved and taught about the nature of values and images, their emergence, and their role. Values are one of the most critical sociological tools of society, revealed in the development process.
The founder of the sociological concept of values, Max Weber, interpreted value as a norm, the way of being which is significant for the subject. Weber applied this concept to explain social action and social knowledge. Weber’s assertions were further developed in the works of Zaretsky, who continued the idea of structural-functional analysis. Value for its participants received a new generalized and methodological meaning and was considered to determine social relations and the functioning of social institutions. Scientists assumed that value is any object that lends itself to certain content and has a specific meaning for the members of any social group. Attitudes in this context are subjective and are expressed by the group members regarding the value.
Value arises from the comparison, expressed using inferences in a particular judgment, of ideal images of the world of reality, which determine the development of man and community, with those without the possibility or ability to participate in this process. It is observed at the sensual level and the level of knowledge of the laws of development, for example, the human body. Values can be presented in various formats based on morality, ethics, or aesthetics. The value of goodness, for example, is determined by moral behavior and consciousness; socially shared notions of beauty shape aesthetic values.
Any phenomenon of the existence of the person and society can be given the status of value. This criterion shows the boundary beyond which a change in quantity, in other words, in the content of phenomena, processes, knowledge, and formations, entails a change in their qualitative characteristics and, in other situations, a transition to their value. It is worth emphasizing the fact that this criterion makes it possible for people to determine the moment of transition of the phenomenon of people’s being into value, at the same time including “internally” into a value with this criterion, thereby transforming the components of people’s lives into their ego qualitative property. It is necessary to look at this criterion from different sides; on the one hand, it is concrete, and on the other, it is very relative because every person or community needs to concretize it to fill it with quantitative content. The world is constantly changing, and this is its most important value.
Thus, a value is a form or image that takes on meaning for a particular person or society. A person gives meaning to an object, which becomes valuable and dear to him. Although it is pretty challenging to determine how universal moral values are formed, it can be established that they derive from the feelings of people and what laws exist in their society. Each community is individual, so one cannot try one’s values on another person without getting to know their everyday life and culture. These differences push the world to change and differentiate, giving meaning to many elements of life.