Instrumental and intrinsic value  

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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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