Instrumental and intrinsic value  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Instrumental and intrinsic value are technical labels for two poles of an ancient dichotomy. People seem to reason differently about what they ought to do, seeking legitimate ends, and what they are able to do, seeking efficient means. When reasoning about ends, they apply the criterion intrinsic value. It identifies legitimate rules of behavior, such as the Ten Commandments. When reasoning about means they apply the criterion instrumental value. It identifies efficient tools, such as scientific and technological theories. Few question the existence of these two criteria, but their relative authority is in constant dispute.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Instrumental and intrinsic value" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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