What is the salient difference between valuing a particular book (say, as you read it or as it is in your possession) and valuing the idea of a book? One obvious answer is to say that in the former case, an actual object is valued, whereas in the latter case no actual object is valued. What is valued is merely the idea of an object; the value doesn’t attach to any particular object.
Can we say the same thing in the case of valuing a particular person (your spouse, say) and valuing yourself as a person? The former case is straightforward. But in the latter case, is it really you that you’re valuing, or is it the mere idea that you have of yourself? How else could you value yourself other than by first forming an idea or conception of yourself as an object to value? The self-conception stage seems to necessarily stand in between yourself and your valuing your self.
But can the value ever traverse that stage, penetrating through the idea of yourself back to your self? Can the value reach ‘behind’ the idea of the self to the self itself? If not, is valuing oneself impossible?