An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the
means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. An
organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the
good, that which threatens it is the evil.
Without an ultimate goal or end, there can be no lesser goals or means: a
series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end
is a metaphysical and epistemological impossibility. It is only an ultimate
goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible.
Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value
gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept
of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent
concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a
contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the
concept of ‘Value’ possible.”