alue claims assert a writer's sense of values, a writer's sense of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, the beautiful and the ugly. Value claims make judgments, and like all claims readers need to evaluate the evidence and assumptions supporting such claims. Value claims try to prove that some idea, action, or condition is good or bad, right or wrong, worthwhile or worthless.
- Democracy offers the greatest chance for people to realize their full potential.
Others express our beliefs about beauty.
- The State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago sometimes referred to as "Spaceship Illinois" is an aesthetic failure.
Value claims, as you can see, reveal much about a writer's personal beliefs. And so it is that many value claims are defended or attacked because different people have different sets of values: witness the abortion debate.
alue claims also rest upon some sense of a standard of justice, beauty, or goodness. They are also defended or attacked on the basis of differing standards between people. Some people, for example, feel that great literature must have a nobility of purpose, enduring significance, and creative use of language. Those are their standards by which they make value judgments about an author's work. By those standards, therefore, those people argue that writers like Danielle Steele or Stephen King will never be considered great writers. For others, the standard is different: if we consider how popular and how widely imitated a writer is, then Steele and King are important writers indeed.
ince we can not be certain of the values of our readers, it is necessary for us as writers to be sensitive to, and anticipate the reactions of, different people with different sets of values. In that way, we are better able to see the issue from our readers' points of view and offer our readers evidence to support a different set of values or to adopt a new set of values to see the world from another perspective, so to speak.
or example, the essay by Margot Hornblower, below, questions the assumptions many Americans have about the generation of people who are now in their twenties, a generation sometimes called generation X. Aimed at readers a generation older, Hornblower's value claim attempts to convince her readers that the "slacker" image often presented in the media as an accurate portrayal of generation X is actually very wrong-headed. Indeed, Hornblower uses a classic technique to support her value claim: she attempts to show her readers that the values of generation X are not so different from the values of their predecessors after all:
Claims about value generally lead to essays that evaluate. Anytime a writer places value on someone or something as "the best" or "superior", that writer is making a claim about value. While writers should always anticipate how to respond to the opposing viewpoint, it is particularly crucial to do so when dealing with a claim about value. For example, people who are blind have a unique culture of blindness, and many believe that living a visionless life is better than living a seeing-life. But to properly address this topic and claim, one must anticipate and respond to the opposing viewpoint, that seeing-life has significant benefits. Another example is that of Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). One could argue that UFC is a dehumanizing sport. The anticipated opposing viewpoint could be that UFC fighters undergo extensive training and skill-based martial arts, thus making it a viable athletic competition.
Click here to read a sample that illustrates the claim about value.