Ever since Plato the good has occupied a central place in Western philosophy. Dietrich von Hildebrand rethinks the good in terms of value, thereby laying stress on the splendor and dignity of good. If Thales said, "the world is full of gods," then von Hildebrand says, "the world is full of values."

He is fascinated by the hierarchy of values and by the ways in which values form a cosmos, an ordered whole. He is especially drawn to those values that point beyond themselves and give us an intimation of God.

We live in an age of widespread value relativism and subjectivism, which divides the world between the neutral facts that really exist, and the "values" that we project into things on the basis of our feelings. Hildebrand discloses to us value not as a psychological projection but as the inner splendor of being.

“If values cannot victoriously defeat the brutal forces that war against man, nevertheless they imply the promise of a metaphysical power, of a 'last word' in the order of being.”
From Ethics

Recommended Reading

See Also

Aesthetics Volume I

Dietrich von Hildebrand understood the centrality of beauty not merely to art but to philosophy, theology, and ethics. In his ambitious and comprehensive Aesthetics, now translated into English for the first time, Hildebrand rehabilitates the concept of beauty as an objective rather and purely subjective phenomenon. His systematic account renews the Classical and Christian vision of beauty as a reliable mode of perception that leads humanity toward the true, the good, and ultimately the divine. There is no more important issue in our culture--sacred or secular--than the restoration of beauty. And there is no better place to start this urgent enterprise than Dietrich von Hildebrand's Aesthetics. - Dana Gioia | From the Foreword

Topics:Beauty  •  Truth  •  Subjectivity  •  Objectivity  •  Value  •  Art

Liturgy and Personality

The principal point of the book you are about to read is that the liturgy of the Church decisively shapes a healthy personality. Hildebrand insists throughout the text that the primary purpose of the liturgy is not to form the personality but to give proper praise to God, the supreme value. Nevertheless, precisely by ordering human beings to thoroughly to God, the liturgy does in fact, as a derivative effect, contribute to their flourishing. - Bishop Robert Barron | From the Foreword

Topics:Liturgy  •  Personality  •  Truth  •  Value  •  Virtue  •  Reverence

Mozart Beethoven Schubert

Dietrich von Hildebrand, touched by great musical works at a young age, analyzes the intellectual portrait of the musical genius. Using rich examples, Hildebrand examines the metaphysical background and meaning of these composers that contributes to their lasting greatness. 

Topics:Mozart  •  Schubert  •  Beethoven  •  music  •  Aesthetics

The Dietrich von Hildebrand LifeGuide

South Bend: Saint Augustine's Press, 2007. Ed. Jules van Schaijik