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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What gives a human being value?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30548points) October 14th, 2010

Are we valuable because we sit atop the food chain? Do we get value from our extraordinary capacity to learn?

Is it our ability to give and receive love? Or is it our curiosity about our universe that led us to put the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit so that it could explore the vast reaches of the universe?

What do you think?

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22 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

It’s really simple. Other humans give a human value.

Cruiser's avatar

I think of “human value” purely as an ability to perform a needed task. No ability=little to no value….greater ability=greater value.

ragingloli's avatar

Humans are given “value” by other humans, just like your primitive, barbaric species full of unwarranted self importance has the nerve to assign value to all other things in existence.
And honestly, I would pay more for a kitten than a human.

BoBo1946's avatar

98.6 ! All humans have value by just being humans. Some that is a stretch. The ones that abuse children come to my mind first.

CMaz's avatar

Self awareness. That causing value in our own minds eye.
War, starvation and human rights violations to follow.

With the occasional visit to Dairy Queen.

YoBob's avatar

The effect (S)he has on other human beings.

josie's avatar

In order have value, there has to be a valuer. The only creature that we know of that can assign value to things in reality is the human being. Therefore, human beings give value to human beings. The extent of that value is the extent to which is one human being is valuable to another. The highest value would be the value of self. Let’s face it, if you are not here, there is nothing for you to value at all, so you have to start someplace. In most cases, the next highest value is family, often children as valued by parents. Then would be spouse or other close relationships. In the extraordinary circumstance of combat, it is the guys on your right and left. And so on.

ucme's avatar


Foolaholic's avatar

@josie Exactly

It’s all about who is considering my value. My friends and contemporaries value my for my opinions, my humor, and my compassion. Tentative employers might value me for certain skills I posses. And my professors certainly don’t value my sarcastic quips ;-)

Katexyz's avatar

The intrinsic value of human beings comes from the fact that they are alive. Any other value prescribed is given by humans to humans to make themselves feel important.

Blackberry's avatar

Ourselves and other humans.

JustmeAman's avatar

We have value because of the family which we exist in. It is that for all life and when you die you see that value 10 fold and understand your place in this Universe. It is inherent to all life and all life is accounted for and has value. Life is precious and should not be taken lightly. It is an experience we all wanted and excepted.

Scooby's avatar

Our compassion for everything around us :-/

KhiaKarma's avatar

I think it’s f-ed up that a person pays more for a white baby than for a baby of another race. Value assigned at birth based on supply and demand. Crazy!

judochop's avatar

The ability to negotiate gives us value.

crisw's avatar

We have an intrinsic value because we are beings who are the subject of a life that can go better or worse for us, that is important to us, and thus we strive to find pleasure and avoid pain. It is true that only other moral agents can respect that value.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I realize that in some circles it is fashionable to be very cynical. I feel no such compunction. Humans are valuable, but are not the only living things which are valuable. Far from it. Humans, as the only conscious beings of which we are aware on planet earth, have responsibilities toward all other living things, though they often do not follow them. As husbandmen and protectors of all that lives, the worth of humans who actually accept and act on those responsibilities is high indeed. Yes humans cannot even exist without the rest of the biosphere, thus making the biosphere just as important.

starsofeight's avatar

It can’t be action alone; anyone can do anything – all that is just so much motion. It can’t be will only. Good intentions, of themselves, are no guarantee of merit. But – it might be doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time, and for the right reason.

If value is not wholly subjective, it may be a thing that achieves substance in a long life dedicated to finding one’s place.

Ron_C's avatar

I would say that the humans that make this place a little better by adding love, compassion, and labor. People that do nothing but cause dissent, hardship, and drain the resources of others have no value.

For example, Douglas Adams had value, George Bush, has none.


The capacity for a human being to love and show compassion to another human being——that alone gives human beings value.

tearsxsolitude's avatar

Whether or not they’re making a positive difference. The more of a positive difference that you make I believe the more value your life has. This seems like an existential question that I’ve pondered quite a lot. It’s a hard question to answer though. Like if you factor in children, how do you gage their life value? To me, a child has a greater life value than any adult in the world, but if you were to ask someone else, who knows what they’d say. But in general, I think that the greater positive impact that you make, the greater you life value is.

stupidcomedycenter's avatar

It is our ability to be able to adapt and have a competitive attitude to always come out on top.

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