“What do you want? How can you get it? How do you know?” Ideas about value—about what we want and how to get it—are future-oriented. They rest upon prediction. Science, sole demonstrated means for making predictions better than we can make by chance, is how we more accurately discern and more fully realize value.” ~ David Schrom, Valuescience
We live in an era of unprecedentedly rapid, large, and novel changes. Many of these we’ve set in motion. We’re altering society, other parts of nature, artifact fashioned from nature, and information accumulated by humans. Today more than ever before we live and die well by cultivating proficiency in bringing to awareness, questioning, and evolving to be more reliable information about value, especially ideas about how we can know and realize value.
This course is an opportunity to bring accurate, pertinent findings from many disciplines to bear upon three central questions of our lives: (1) “What do I want?” (2) “How can I get it?” and most importantly, (3) “How do I know?” We ask questions (1) and (2) about everything from big choices like career and marriage to little ones like what we’ll eat for lunch today. We ask question (3) far less often, yet only to a degree that we rely upon sound means of knowing can we make what we think we know as faithful a representation of self and surrounds as we’re able, and by faithfully representing self and surrounds can we get what we want and want what we get.
All of us have experienced getting what we thought we wanted and feeling disappointed, and all of us have sometimes done what we thought sufficient and come up short. Again and again we think we know how to secure satisfaction only to discover that we’re mistaken. With current approaches to value we repeatedly generate overconfidence and error. Though we work to learn from missteps, we rarely delve deeply enough to re-examine our approaches. Even when we do ask, “How do I know?” we’re often quick to answer with long-held, well-practiced justifications yet to be critically examined to their roots, and poorly able to withstand such scrutiny.
In this course we explore history, philosophy, ecology, economics, sociology, linguistics, psychology, and more to learn how we may apply science—defined here as behaviors by which we predict with success greater than we can achieve by chance—to discern value—what we want and how to get it—more accurately and to realize it more fully.
If you are engaged or want to engage in such inquiry and practice, we welcome your partnership in valuescience inquiry.