Philosophy 21 (80):234 - 244 (1946)

Abstract
The idea of Importance has received scanty treatment in philosophical literature, yet it is always turning up. Whitehead has, indeed, spoken of “the sense of importance” as “nerving all civilized effort”; and elsewhere he names “importance” and “matter of fact” as “two ultimate notions.” But the passage where he considers these is all too short and elusive, and I know of no other direct discussion of the meaning of importance. Plenty of attention has, of course, been paid to the notion of interest . But “interest” does not cover the whole notion of importance; it covers at most that aspect which I shall call “relational importance.” “Importance” I shall suggest is a bridge notion, used to refer both to what matters in relation to some interest, and to what, as we say, “really matters.” It might therefore be worth considering its merits as a candidate for the position of generic term for value, since it can be subdivided so as to express both its relational and its absolutist aspects
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100005520
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