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One should value that which perceives value above all else: consciousness.

I've come across with the sentence above and I didn't understand the meaning. I searched online resources and found the link below: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/66453/that-which-used-together

It was partly helpful but I still don't understand the exact meaning of the sentence.

So, could you please explain it to me?

  • There is no need to Philosophical Explanations, just to explain simple meaning of the sentence.

The fuller text:

There’s a subtle contradiction here. Kant sought to develop a value system that existed outside the subjective judgments of the Feeling Brain. Yet the desire to build a value system on reason alone is itself a subjective judgment made by the Feeling Brain. Put another way, couldn’t you say that Kant’s desire to create a value system that transcended the confines of religion was itself a religion? [...] So, technically, yes, Kant’s ethical system is another form of faithbased religion. But I also think that in the same way that science, and its belief in putting one’s faith in what has the most evidence, produces the best belief systems, Kant stumbled upon the best basis for creating value systems—that is, one should value that which perceives value above all else: consciousness.

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This is a difficult sentence. It contains at least three different ideas.

  • The word value is being used as a verb (the first time) and as a noun (the second time).

  • The phrase above all else modifies the first "value" (the verb), not the second "value" (the noun).

  • The word that is extremely important in this sentence -- it is doing "the heavy lifting." (Definition)

This sentence can be rephrased (simplified) to understand the structure. I'll use parentheses in some of these examples to show words that are linked together.

One should value (that which perceives value) above all else: consciousness.

This means:

  1. One should value something above all else: consciousness.
  2. That something (perceives value).

This means:

  1. One should value something above all else: consciousness.
  2. That something has the ability to (perceive value).

"Perceive value" here means the ability to judge quality.

This means:

  1. One should value consciousness more than anything else.
  2. Consciousness has the ability to (perceive value).

This means:

  1. You should value consciousness more than anything else.
  2. Consciousness has the ability to (perceive value).

This means:

  1. You should value just one thing more than anything else.
  2. That thing is consciousness.
  3. That thing has the ability to (perceive value).

This means:

  1. One thing is more valuable than anything else.
  2. That thing is consciousness.
  3. That thing has the ability to (perceive value).

Or:

  1. One thing is more valuable than anything else.
  2. That thing is called "consciousness".
  3. Consciousness (thinking) is able to perceive value in other things.

The way the original sentence was phrased, there is one more meaning we need:

  1. Being able to perceive value makes consciousness more valuable than anything else.

If you prefer, the entire sentence can be boiled down to:

Consciousness is the most valuable thing.

  • I admire your expenditure of energy but I am sorry, would that analysis really be profitable to the OP? And if you read carefully the whole text, Kant is not saying "Consciousness is the most important thing." No. the author says Kants tries to use the consciousness as the basement of the ethics ( not based on Christianity FYI ), – Kentaro Tomono Jul 22 at 11:20
  • The most valuable thing is a better summary, you’re quite right. – whiskeychief Jul 23 at 10:35

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