- in print -:
Peter Baltes 15.06.2017
V i s i s m
Critical Theory of Good Living
The purpose of visism, which is presented here, is to understand the human
world and to orient it towards good living for all.
We are the result of a natural evolution characterized by self-interest. Philosophies
developed before this knowledge only have validity where they
do not contradict this realization.
From birth, our life is a chain of problems. We have to recognize and
solve them. It is about ensuring our existence but also, since we are human
beings, about expanding our existence. The tools to ensure our existence are largely given
to us by nature, but the expansion of existence requires the invention of knowledge.
Learning from Newton that the world is a system of forces, and from Hegel that all
forces are subject to reciprocal effects, it was Parsons who was able to order the world
according to the significance of every force in our life. Darwin discovered self-interest as the intrinsic
motivating force behind behavior, dialectically complementing
Kant, who propounded equal rights as the absolute moral law.
What, in particular, are the inventions of visism? The integration of all
the different sources and areas of knowledge by their definition and interpretation
as forces is fundamental. Only thus could a new philosophy of interactions between all forces arise,
analyzing and constructing life with the aim of a common, good life.
Further important inventions are the separation of ensuring and
expanding existence, the action model in six steps and a realistic
morality beyond Kant.
This leads to the reasoned insight that common good life above all needs the forces of health,
love, freedom and prosperity, acquired through knowledge and measured by morality.
C O N T E N T S
Chapter I: Good life by Behavior or by Action
The World of Human Beings
Life Within the Systems of Forces
Action Systems and Behavioral Systems
Chapter II: Justified Action
The Principle of Equal Rights
The Principle of Assurance of Existence
Justified Action in the Practice of Living
Chapter III: Life Structure
The World of Life and its Order
The Importance of Life Structure
Life Structure and Development
Chapter IV: Life Concept
The Development of Life Concepts
Chapter V: The Six Steps of Action
The Basic Structure: GACORE
Detailed Structure: Partial Steps
Theoretical and Practical Progress
Chapter VI: Self-Advice
Self-Advice as Internal Argumentation
The Self-Advice Model
Chapter VII: Argumentative Communication
Typecasting the Receiver
Types of Communication
Methods of Argumentative Communication
Chapter VIII: Production and Consumption
Production as a Step of Action
Basic Economic Concepts
The Social Market Economy
Chapter IX: Model of Life and Life Technique
The Invariable Conditions Imposed by Nature
The Variable Agreements Imposed by Human Societies
The General Structure of Life and Life Technique
Chapter X: Some Applications of Life Technique
Chapter I: Good Life by Behavior or by Action
When it comes to what constitutes a good life, humans have been philosophizing since time immemorial. However, the great philosophers give different answers.
NIETZSCHE (1844-1900) described at the age of 22 his life plan. The true philosopher lives "unwise, imprudent, and above all feels the burden and duty of a hundred attempts and temptations of life...He risks constantly, he plays the bad game" (1886, p. 137). At 45, after visiting brothels and engaging in drug use, he was picked up on the street and brought to an asylum, as he was terminally ill.
We should prefer those philosophers who tend to link their theoretical designs with good and long life. "Anyone who shows courage in daredevilry will die. Anyone who shows courage, without being reckless, will remain alive,” as LAOTSE recognized two and a half millennia ago.
ARISTOTLE (384-322 BC.) proposes “a clear plan to strive”. AVERROES (1126-1198 AC.) asserts that good life needs science. “The true practice is to comply with the actions that have led to the happiness and in the avoidance of those which result in misery. The knowledge of these acts is the practical science.”
KANT (1724-1804) describes as "ignorant“ he who lives “by groping in the experiments and experiences, without collecting certain principles (what is called theory) and without thought a whole (which, if this process is methodical, is a system) about his business” (1793, p. 358).
And finally, CLAUSEWITZ (1780-1831): “There is absolutely nothing so important in life, than to ascertain exactly the position from which things must be understood and assessed, because only from one point of view can we conceive the mass of phenomena as a unit, and only this unity can save us from contradictions” (1832/34, p. 992). What he writes is insightful and convincing. We begin therefore with the definition of our position: every human being has the right to achieve a good life.
What are the conditions and characteristics of nature, society and of the individual themself that lead to the promotion or hindrance of good life? To understand the fundamentals of their world and to determine a point of view, human beings should begin with the highly probable fact that they are the result of natural evolutionary processes (DARWIN 1859). Any organism serves, from the perspective of its genetic material, to safeguard itself and enable its genetic continuation in new organisms (WICKLER & SEIBT 1977).
Thus, the assurance of existence is a basic goal of each organism. This also applies to the human organism. The consequence, since it is human nature to secure its own genetic material, is that selfishness is the rule. ADAM SMITH (1776) recognized self-interest as a driver of economic behavior and action, but it is only because we know the theory (and the fact) of evolution that we know why this should be. The selfishness of man is so vital that it is therefore neither good nor bad. Only if man wants to prove himself at the expense of others, does he enter into moral competition (with which we will deal in the second chapter).
Simple organisms are limited to sustaining themselves and reproduction. But for the human being there are many more opportunities. How did they arise in the course of evolution? Due to the mutability of genetic material, new possibilities for new forms of behavior have arisen. There are similarities between ape-like creatures and human beings. The unique intelligence of the human and his various features give him the ability to live under nearly all conditions and even to create conditions that do not occur in nature, in particular with reference to culture.
But it is also necessary to recognize the limits of the human being. An individual's ability to distinguish color permits him to differentiate ripe fruits from under-ripe ones. His sense of smell helps him to recognize and avoid spoiled foods. A person's capacity to generalize enables him to deduce from a dangerous experience with a wild beast what would happen with similar animals and to protect himself accordingly.
But a person can only know, recognize and explain himself and his world in relation to his evolutionary development on Earth. As it has become clearer and clearer, his possibilities for perception and recognition have developed during the evolutionary process to such an extent that they respond to the need of genetic material to survive.
Consequently, an individual cannot assume that he will be capable of knowing the world without reference to means of perception. Just as the smallest particles of the world appear only as symbols, as signs on a screen of a scientist`s apparatus, so the world appears in its totality only as symbols in human consciousness. Through his senses, man is only able to know the world as perceived by the body, by the corporeality of human beings (Nils BOHR 1938). Man can only claim that he knows the world in a manner that allows him to live.
The typical result of existential perception and thinking is knowledge composed of information, which an individual receives, produces and transmits. When he communicates with others to influence their behavior, he argues. Authors argue with their readers, teachers with their pupils.
The arguer assumes and believes that the receiver has access to his arguments, which he will accept or reject with his own arguments. The receiver is influenced by arguments and he therefore demonstrates his ability to act, since all behavior guided by arguments can be called an action (SCHWEMMER 1979). From the perspective of a good life, it is desirable that human behavior be an action.
But it must always be considered that a big part of human behavior does not have the quality of an action, because it is not guided by arguments but rather by the body, for example, by feelings.
Animals do not have access to arguments and are therefore incapable of action. They can only behave in accordance with a program developed during their evolution. Action is a behavioral characteristic of humans that includes the external action observable by other people. In other words, this is the process occurring between individuals (especially communication) and the influence of an individual over nature (especially production).
Action also includes internal action processes such as thinking, which compare, accompany and evaluate external action. This internal behavior is accessible to the arguments of others and also of the self. He who thinks, argues with himself.
Each behavior and each action (behavior based on arguments) is implemented for existential reasons and is influenced by self-interest (BALTES 1978, 1984). Consequently, not all actions are justified. Reason can be mistaken or subjected only to the egoistical goals of a person's own corporeality. But when is an action justified? Nature knows only one principle: the strong dominate the weak. Human morality has, then, the task of opposing this principle and creating a solution that not only assures life but also enables every person to expand their existence to a good life.
A morality that takes into account the selfish nature of human beings and at the same time opposes nature - giving every person the right to aspire to a good life - is not easily explained. For this reason, in this first chapter, we will limit ourselves to describing behavior and action. We will describe the behavior and the actions of individuals without establishing moral values.
But in the second chapter, with the help of the moral system of KANT (1785), we develop a prescriptive model, a model of legitimate action. This model makes it possible to evaluate all behavior and action in a justified manner.
The world of human beings
In a world of scarce resources, it is necessary to have convincing arguments if good living is to be sought. Different sciences provide arguments. However, because they are specialized and differ from each other, they present only autonomous fragments and do not provide sufficient help in resolving the problem in its entirety.
Biology deals with genetic material and organisms; physics with the modification of matter in space; chemistry with the composition of matter; philosophy with the ordering of information; and communication with the dissemination of information.
Nevertheless, an agent is forced to combine the results of the different sciences because each problem, each success or failure, is directly or indirectly related to the knowledge resulting from all the sciences of existential value. Whether or not to share a piece of bread presents an ethical problem besides a biological, physical, hygienic, mathematical or communication one.
Therefore, whoever can bring together the results of the different sciences, whoever combines the results to intelligently resolve a problem, has the best arguments and more opportunities to achieve good living both for himself and wider society. To this end, HEGEL (1812/1813) established fundamental scientific principles. His philosophy describes the world of human beings as a totality, that is, as an aggregate of substances having a reciprocal relationship with each other, because they are active and passive at the same time (see also KANT, 1784/1785).
PARSONS (1966) used these ideas as the basis of his theory. According to him, two or more units (substances) with reciprocal effects constitute a system that belongs, as a sub-system, to a larger one. Consequently, the world of human beings is a system composed of interconnected sub-systems. Biology, physics, mathematics and philosophy are sub-systems in the human system of knowledge, connected in supporting existence. Each sub-system produces a specific output through its characteristic properties and activities. Here are two examples:
From a human perspective, plants and animals form a sub-system in the totality (meta-system) of the world that provides the organism with the required food.
Parents and their children form a sub-system in society and have a reciprocal relationship with it. As a family, people contribute to maintaining society, but they also expect it to provide them with educational, health, cultural and other means.
According to PARSONS (1980), the existential output of a system with respect to other systems is defined as its function. For human beings, the function of the world as a system consists of its output for human life. This is obvious if we analyze the human evolutionary process. We recognize three superimposed worlds (three sub-systems) that make up the world of human beings.
First World System: The World without Life
Billions of years ago, the Earth was formed and hundreds of millions of years had to pass before life first arose. In the current world of human beings, this first world corresponds to the inorganic sub-system, and to its inorganic environment (PARSONS 1966).
The reciprocal effects in this sub-system are apparently determined by causal relationships. For this reason, the effects can be generalized and become laws in laws of nature. For humans, inorganic substances and their reciprocal effects constitute conditions that, with the aid of chemical and physical laws, can be used or rejected, for example, in medicine or engineering.
Man must change his inorganic environment to survive, to live better. But he must not forget that inorganic conditions played a part in his evolutionary development. Every change, by some chemical processes, had unprecedented effects on him, be they positive or negative.
Second World System: The World of Plants and Animals
From the perspective of a theory of systems, this second world is composed of two sub-systems. The first contains the chemical and physical effects of the first world while the second has new reciprocal effects originating from the desire of organisms to ensure their continuing existence.
With life, the world acquired its first meaning. Due to the need of the genetic material of plants and animals to conserve and extend life, the reciprocal effects acquired a positive or negative significance.
Because specific effects characterize the inorganic world, the relationships of human beings with the world of plants and animals are also quite specific. The behavior of animals and plants can be explained, predicted and modified through quasi-laws.
A person who grows plants according to their laws will see them thrive, which does not mean that this is how plants show their gratitude, as some rose growers may claim, but that plants have to prosper simply because their laws dictate as much.
Animal behavioral psychology has shown that this principle can also be applied to the animal world, although in a weakened form, depending on the animal's intelligence: in dogs, its probability is higher than in monkeys (SKINNER 1969).
In the human world, this world with life but without human beings belongs to the organic medium sub-system, to the organic environment (PARSONS 1966).
Third World System: The World of Human Beings
In the second world system, instincts, intelligence and behavioral patterns had developed, but it was not until human beings evolved that reason appeared.
Humans not only want to ensure their existence by adapting themselves to the natural world; they also have the goal of modifying the world to improve their environment. They seek to expand the scope of their lives. Reason then appears as the substance of thinking, communicating and producing, or as a cultural power.
Defined in functional terms, reason includes potentially conscious knowledge that enables both the assurance and expansion of life. From a biological and physical perspective, during the evolutionary process, the human brain increased in size, especially those parts responsible for thought, speech, personality and creativity (SCHRIEFFER & NOVA 1972).
These parts and their functions have developed to the extent that, under favorable individual and social conditions, the capacity is necessary to ensure life is not exhausted, but rather remains as surplus or "free" energy that makes the cultural expansion of existence possible. (Favorable conditions: in war the pursuit of survival dominates.)
These areas of the brain and their output also inform us about the attributes we should assign under the concept of expansion of existence. They are manifested, on the one hand, in all pleasurable activity without a specific purpose that does not have the exclusive function of ensuring life. These include artistic creation, and recreation and leisure. On the other hand, they are seen in the development of morally justified action.
In summary: Individuals perceive reciprocal effects in the inorganic world in a predictable, determined way (natural law). With animals and plants, there are new reciprocal effects that cannot be predicted with absolute certainty – such as the behavior of organisms. The development of intelligence and the ability to expand existence gives way to a third system, which is the world of human beings where a certain amount of free will is characteristic: individuals accept or reject arguments. Therefore, this third system is a world in which human beings can act, not just behave.
The causes and results of human action are much less predictable than the typical intelligent behavior observed in animals. HEGEL (1812/1813) recognizes consequently that the human spirit is different from animal intelligence because it does not permit an external effect to influence it without resistance, but instead attempts to reject or transform it. The best education does not necessarity produce the best effects on the child. Children are not plants.
From the perspective of the natural sciences, oriented towards a strict mathematical order, chaos arises from the effects of human intelligence. Due to the growing liberty that the agent possesses, it becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend and predict their behavior or their action with the formulae of traditional mathematics.
As a result, for the "exact" sciences, individuals and their communities become increasingly chaotic (DEVANEY 1989). Nevertheless, this lack of order has two existential sides: although risk grows with liberty, the possibilities for attaining a good standard of living by organizing life in individual ways also increase. We will see that human order in a chaotic world is the result of goals. Life orders the world.
The human organism is influenced by a unique intelligence. It must be considered too that, through the interaction between human intelligence and the human body, human feelings are also unique. No animal can be happy about justice among others, and no animal can be sad about his inevitable mortality.
The human organism is different from the animal organism, therefore, in terms of what we will call corporeality. We thus view the human individual as composed of two main forces: his corporeality and his intelligence or reason.
Every individual has his own corporeality and intelligence. All give a special meaning to their lives, create their own world system, place themselves in the center of this realm and interpret substances and their effects from this vantage point.
For this reason, the visism also serves as the basis for a position that could be called "existential relativism". We renounce the intent to know and achieve absolute truth because, as explained earlier, human beings are the product of an evolutionary process and can only describe and change the world with their own means. A distant star, upon being discovered, becomes an object described by human categories, even in its scientific explanation.
This distancing from absolute truth, this recognition of the relativity of what determines us (a recognition that corresponds largely to the twentieth century and takes exception to the ideas of KANT, HEGEL and MARX, oriented towards the absolute) deprives us of certainty in life. Probabilities and approximations to the goals of life rather than certainties characterize our lives.
The "truth" now has validity as something provisional and relative, which is manifested in dynamic good living. If a change in perception is experienced due to evolution, for example in the perception of colors, the existential truth would also change. In other words, truth is what constitutes positive or negative meaning in life (see JAMES 1909). So we understand FEUERBACH (1830/31, p. 288) thus: the purpose of life is none other than life itself.
However, it would be a contradiction to claim that this existential relativism is an absolute truth. Presumably, it is only the most justified position for good living. Its other limitations will be explained in Chapter II, which addresses the issue of a morality mandatory for everyone.
Life Within the Systems of Forces
Anything that produces effects is called a force. Consequently, all substances, whether mental (judgments, ideas, notions), organic (physical bodies, behavior, feelings) or inorganic (materials in space and in time) are forces, a term that permits us to relate all substances in our world of life and integrate them into a complete system.
Force as a notion is both sufficiently abstract to be used in theory and concrete enough to be used in practical life. It unites theory and practice, a key advantage as compared with other, more abstract metaphors, that could be applied to all substances, such as energy and information (see NEWTON 1687, LEWIN 1951, JOKISCH 1981, ULMER, HÄFELE & STEGMAIER 1987).
Because we have chosen good living among people as a basic perspective, if we imagine life as a system of forces, we must ask ourselves how we should structure and use these forces to make the possibility of good living more likely.
Nature and intelligence or reason (we will be able to determine the difference between intelligence and reason in the second chapter) are the basic forces in the area of reciprocal effects because distinguishing between them helps us to understand how humans, through reason, can introduce new elements into nature – including morality – without which good living would not exist.
As we will also see in the second chapter, the function of morality is to respect and consider others as joint forces. In a world in which organic and inorganic resources are limited, individuals must take into account not only their own desires and ideas, but also the needs of others.
Therefore, if we look at the functions necessary in the world of human beings, reason and nature are sub-divided into six forces: our own reason; others' reason; our own corporeality; others' corporeality; the organic medium (organic environment); and the inorganic medium (inorganic environment).
It is thus possible for each action (and each human behavior), whether it is communication or production, to take place in the area of the reciprocal effects of these six forces. The action uses them and, at the same time, constitutes their output.
These six forces also produce reciprocal effects among themselves, however. Consequently, they cause more subtle forces that, gathered and ordered in the "life structure" (Figure 3), represent the ramifications of living.
It is essential to consider that all six forces and all partial forces belong to a common field of interactions (these can be illustrated by a hexagon). They influence each other. Any force that changes is influenced and affects all other forces. A newborn child has a more or less strong effect on all the forces in the life structure of the parents.
For the moment, we will stay with the basic structure composed of the six forces. For the agent, these forces determine the conditions and possibilities for assurance and expansion of existence: they increase or limit his possibilities.
In these existential processes, each force carries out its specific tasks (functions). To make this possible, forces are differentiated by their properties and activities: each force produces specific effects through specific properties and activities.
Examples include a force whose function consists of ensuring the existence of human corporeality - for example as food - that must possess adequate properties and activities. The organic medium, for example, is composed of plants and animals that are born, grow and die.
Intelligence/reason, a force that is both captain and helmsman within the system of forces of an individual, must have elements corresponding to those functions. In other words, this force of a person must have the properties that enable judgments and perform activities to define and accomplish goals.
Therefore, it is necessary to define all the basic forces in terms of specific properties and activities, and to distinguish them in this manner. This differentiation will be one of the basic ideas in our theoretical construction, although we must make clear that the definitions of forces are only approximations.
The task of our intelligence is to distinguish between and define forces, but intelligence itself is the result of evolutionary processes in which both nature and the spirit have participated. Intelligence and even reason were created through reciprocal effects, linked to nature through corporeality. Thus, intelligence and reason can only imperfectly be distinguished from themselves and from other forces, which are defined only approximately:
REASON: own or others’ power (intelligence), which recognizes and creates the existential through characteristic properties (notions, ideas, judgments, concepts), and through activities (generalizing, concluding, inventing, examining, communicating).
CORPOREALITY: own or others’ body as a force that perceives and realizes the existential through characteristic properties (physique, sensations, representations, needs, feelings) and activities (perceiving, memorizing, communicating, moving, growing, reproducing).
ORGANIC MEDIUM: animals and plants, which are forces of existential importance for humans because of their properties and activities.
Animals: forces with characteristic properties (physique, sensations, representations, needs, feelings) and activities (perceiving, memorizing, communicating, moving, growing, reproducing).
Plants: forces with characteristic properties (organic structure, programmed for the continuation and extension of existence) and activities (feeding, growing, reproducing).
INORGANIC MEDIUM: inanimate forces with properties (mass, form, color, temperature, valence) that produce physical or chemical effects in time and space.
The importance of the system of forces lies in the fact that the goals of the individual, which are the continuation and expansion of existence, create a series of problems throughout life.
To achieve their goals, individuals need resources they often cannot easily access. Additionally, these resources are needed by others to achieve their own goals. As a result, individuals must understand the world, order it according to their goals, and modify it based on justified arguments.
For this, the system of forces orders the world and prepares the skills necessary to change the conditions of life:
(1.) informs on the properties and activities of forces, elaborated in the models for the structure of life (Chapter III) and concept of life (Chapter IV);
(2.) helps each person find the arguments to plan, defend and create their world through justified goals. The system of forces prepares the skills for planning and achieving goals, elaborated in the models self-advice (Chapter IV), argumentative communication (Chapter VII), production and consumption (Chapter VIII).
These processes contribute to the knowledge of or changing conditions of life, and are the tools of life (Chapter IX). We have, therefore, to look closely at their features, contents and forms.
Contents and Forms of Forces
To understand the processes of knowledge and modification of forces, we turn to KANT (1784/1785) and Hegel (1812/13), who said that no force is purely passive before others because it also actively performs. Therefore, unilateral effects do not determine the relationships in systems of forces. Reciprocal effects characterize the human world. To analyze this, we must describe them as processes with content and form.
Forces and their properties form the contents of the process and respond to the question: Which substance acts? (A plant's organic material grows as a result of the force of humidity, mineral substances and light.) Additionally, the activities of forces determine the formal aspects that can be observed in a process: Which programs or rules does this process use? (The plant grows in the direction of the light.)
When explaining the formal aspects of reciprocal effects, we should consider that forms do not exist by themselves. They can only be separated mentally from their contents (there is no mathematical circular form without a more or less circular object in reality). However, once separated mentally, the same form can be used with respect to different contents.
Mathematical formulae are equally important for all calculable problems. Two "contents" of human action, the well in the desert and the bridge in a water-rich region, may be quite different, but the engineer who attempts to build a well in the desert uses the same maths as the one who builds a bridge in the tropics. Consequently, formal structures constitute an essential part of this book. Every individual has different contents (has different goals), but can use the same formal structures as the others to achieve them.
Goal, Given Situation, Approximation
The basic goal of each organism is the continuation of existence, to which human beings add the expansion of existence. Therefore, behavior and action are continuously oriented to reaching these goals. In other words, from a given situation, they attempt to approximate a desired objective. Thus, if an agent structures the steps of an action, that is, as a process, he must do so with the aid of procedural moments: goal, given situation and approximation.
Figure!: MOMENTS IN THE PROCESS OF AN ACTION
We begin with goals. From everything we have discussed up to now, it can be deduced that the goals of individuals can be very different, but that they all share the desire to achieve a good life. A principle of evolution, as we have seen, is exhibited in the function of each organism to conserve and expand the spread of its genetic material.
The newborn ensures its existence through behavior guided by reflexes (PIAGET 1964). For an adult, however, good living involves much more than that which nature provides, since it adds a developed intelligence that seeks to expand existence through behavior or actions.
The notion of a "given situation" means that at the beginning of an action (or a behavior), a system of forces is already in existence, which is qualitatively or quantitatively distinguished from the desired system of forces or from the goal.
We call the movement towards a goal an "approximation", thereby highlighting both the process and the imperfection of the action. The goal, the conditions for its achievement, and the given situation can only be known and influenced in an imperfect way (compare BACHELARD 1927). The agent can try to avoid unfavorable conditions to achieve his goal, but he will not be able to escape them completely (there will always be traffic accidents despite all efforts to prevent them).
Challenging the affirmation that pure mathematics achieves perfect results, we suggest that mathematics works in a formal way; in other words, it eliminates contents, as already mentioned above. Three plus three equals six, six divided by two equals three, exactly half. But in reality, this is only an approximation. We observe that three apples plus another three apples appear to be six, but when we want to divide them into equal parts to give to three children, we recognize an approximation: each apple has a different shape and content and it is therefore impossible to make three identical parts.
Real action, through communication or production, only approximates the ideal. Therefore, we can affirm and accept that the human world, an individual's external world and the individual himself, are composed of approximations. This implies some consequences:
Just as there cannot be complete happiness, neither can there be total misfortune.
A person who categorically denies his guilt creates a residue of belief in other people's innocence.
There is no law without exceptions.
As a consequence: Since every interpretation and existential concept has its arguments, we should prefer and choose those that contribute to good living for all. (This apparently logical consequence is an approximation, too.)
Additive and Dialectic Effects
The significance of a force depends on the position it occupies with respect to our goals, whether favorable or unfavorable.
If the forces go against our goals, if they are obstacles or opposing arguments, we refer to these forces and their effects as "dialectic". Generally, dialectic forces make life more difficult, although they can often give way to a better, more expanded life. For example, the guarantee of existence is the goal of the individual but he faces cold and humidity as dialectical forces. This, in turn, leads to the construction of houses and the development of architecture, which today is a part of the cultural expansion of human existence.
Dialectic effects bring with them risks but at the same time possibilities for expanding existence. This is why HEGEL (1812/1813) calls them "the root of all movement and all development".
Forces do not always produce dialectic effects that threaten existence or reduce possibilities. In the evolutionary process, the human body has adapted so well that it is supported by many of the forces surrounding it, like a fish in water.
An individual considers these forces favorable for his existence, but also perceives them as natural and "normal": several years pass before a child realizes that he breathes and understands the manner in which he does so. This knowledge is easy to assimilate and does not create any conflict (PIAGET 1976), because the child perceives, feels and judges breathing as a means for living.
From here on, we will refer to the effect of a force that supports the goal of another as "additive". This term will also be applied if the outcome of two effects is more or less than the sum of the two: a poison increases the effects of another poison in an "additive" way, but the joint effect cannot be determined simply by adding the two.
Determination and Liberty
In systems, not only are there reciprocal effects between forces, but also within each force. Reason, for example, has the characteristic properties of notions, ideas and judgments and the activities of generalizing, concluding and examining. In other words, reason interacts with others using reciprocal effects from the information it receives or that it already possesses. But reason can be found more or less close to reality.
FIGURE 2: POSITION OF EACH FORCE ON THE CONTINUUM BETWEEN DETERMINATION AND FREE WILL
Therefore, KANT (1784/1785) recognizes two distinct functions and sub-systems of reason, which are "pure reason" and "practical reason" and are in additive and dialectic relations. He attributes absolute liberty to pure reason, whose function is to provide theoretical (speculative) knowledge of the world and the theoretical construction of an ideal world, because it can be separated from all experience.
From the perspective of our theory, we interpret pure reason as a part (a sub-system) of the system of forces that constitute reason and nature. Therefore, it exists only as the goal and the desire of an individual to disregard, in his thoughts, the conditions of his own nature (corporeality) and of his environment.
Pure reason exists only as an approximation. But in effect, the fewer real conditions that the reason has to consider, the greater the number of theoretical possibilities the individual will have and the "freer'' his thoughts will be. Thus, pure reason is capable of inventing ideals and imagining circumstances that go beyond what exists in nature. Freedom or liberty is encountered in this way.
For functional purposes, practical reason (intelligence) also exists. This sub-system attempts to realize the ideals of pure reason without abandoning the relationship with real life, since it has the goal of the assurance and expansion of existence. To be able to survive, practical reason is forced to adapt itself to the conditions imposed by nature. Consequently, practical reason is less free than pure reason and is closer to the needs of corporeality and the outside world.
The reason lies in corporeality. The reciprocal effects within human corporeality are explained only partially by the laws of behavior (which serve similarly for highly developed animals) since they depend not only on the determinism of chemical and physical processes (the spatial modification has physical techniques as methods, the material modification has chemical ones), but also are influenced by the unit that corporeality and reason form. Closer to determinism are behavior and the manifestations of life in the organic medium (animals and plants). Therefore, we can speak of a continuum between determinism and liberty.
The qualities of the reciprocal effects within forces also influence the reciprocal effects between forces. Where reason participates, there is always some liberty; where nature intervenes, determinism exists to a greater or lesser degree. In an action, both forces always appear. Consequently, they do not develop with the regularity and need of natural law. However, they can be conceptualized according to certain rules.
We will cite an example. Conflicts between individuals originate due to the egoistical goals of their corporeality, or of their nature. In this case, their communication encounters obstacles and they do not reach justified solutions. Nevertheless, it is possible to invent rules that lead to a solution by proposing that all communicative acts take place in the form of arguments respecting the corporeality of the other. One of these rules states: When arguing, avoid making the other feel defeated, since this stimulates the self-interest of his corporeality as a dialectical force, with a probably destructive effect (compare FISHER & URY 1991).
Another consequence of the greater or lesser participation of reason is creative liberty. Cultural and social attributes vary significantly in different human societies because they are largely based on the liberty of reason (or intelligence) while the conditions associated with nature are more fixed. The meaning of a foreign word has to be explained while the significance of a construction that serves as a roof is recognized without difficulty.
Mediate and Immediate Effects
When speaking of intelligence and corporeality as different forces, we use a metaphor appropriate for life. A similar thing occurs with the notions of "mediate" (indirect) and "immediate” (indirect). We use these terms because they facilitate the realization of good living.
Mediate and immediate effects are important to cope with reality, with the truth in human life. The distinction makes it clear that immediate effects are not characteristic in their frequency, but that they are limited to the relationship between one`s own intelligence and corporeality.
For example, the effect of fatigue on corporeality most likely produces the same effect on reason. And we know that reason can dominate corporeality without the aid of other means. And chemical forces (medicines, for example) and physical forces appear to us to have an immediate effect on the organism.
But reason cannot act immediately on its exterior world; neither can the outside world immediately affect reason. Corporeality exists between these forces.
Corporeality has the task of serving as a medium for reason, but by being an active force, also intervenes with its properties and activities. It is determined by evolution, oriented genetically, and determines what can, for example, falsify, promote or impede the transmission of arguments.
Other examples are that the individual with an attractive appearance persuades more easily. It is easy to change reality in pictures, television and films. To recognize true love certainly is impossible, whether expressed in letters or in direct contact.
As a result, a communication model whose function consists of exchanging arguments and truth has to take into account that both reason and corporeality participate (see Chapter VII: Argumentative Communication).
Actions Systems and Behavioral Systems
Everything that lives has a certain amount of intelligence. What distinguishes human beings from other organisms is an intelligence so highly developed that it can be differentiated as pure and practical intelligence, and - under certain conditions - as pure and practical reason. In action systems, adults for example, reason acts as a passive or an active force. In behavioral systems, children for example, only a mere intelligence behaves as a passive or an active force.
As an active force, reason argues via its properties (notions, ideas, judgments) and activities (generalizing, concluding, inventing, examining). This can be an internal action or can be directed outwards. In an internal action, reason recognizes and conceptualizes, in other words, it argues with itself. In an external action, reason directs itself to others' reason or intelligence and arguing means verbally transmitting arguments, that is, communicating via argument.
As a passive force, reason has access to arguments. It is capable of recognizing the existential meaning of additive and dialectic arguments communicated to it via others' reason or intelligence. It is also an active force, however, since it produces its own arguments to evaluate those of others.
Therefore, a system of forces can be called an action system when reason appears as a force that has access to additive arguments, and especially to dialectic ones (compare SCHWEMMER 1979). But if other forces dominate (corporeality or organic and inorganic nature) we would typify the system simply as a behavioral system or one of natural law.
This is the case of plants and animals, as well as newborns and infants (under the simple aspect of the life technique rather than morality), because their corporeality dominates them to the extent that they react like behavioral systems. It is for this reason that education is so difficult, because moral education typically works through dialectical arguments. (And we must hope that, in the event of an encounter with so-called aliens, improbable but possible, we will be in contact with action systems.)
Action and Behavior in Interaction Systems
Evolution has had the effect that we live in communities. Individuals live in communities and their action or behavior is often directed towards other people. We call this action "inter-action". An interaction has the primary function of influencing the knowledge of individuals that try to comprehend, devise and transmit the existential meaning of a problem and its solution in spoken or written form. In this case, it takes place as a "communication".
The second function is to influence the corporeality of another person. Contact with newborns, sexual love or surgical techniques take place in this way. In these cases, the interaction is called "production". To resolve an organic problem, production modifies the corporeality of an individual through physical or chemical activities.
However, in general, production is characterized by the modification of non-human forces: in other words, organic and inorganic forces. These forces cannot act; organic nature participates only through behavior, and inorganic matter through its physical or chemical properties and activities.
At least two people participate as forces in interactions. An interaction is, therefore, a system. It is divided into relatively large sub-systems, among which societies (states) are noteworthy since, with respect to their members, they include everyone and at the same time are independent, because every society brings together more conditions for independent existence and survival than each of its sub-systems (PARSONS 1966). Society is consequently above institutions and organizations because it creates, modifies or dissolves them.
Society also represents its members to the outside world when it interacts with other societies through contracts or wars. But individuals and their interactions constitute the elements of each society and institution. Precisely for this reason, society only forms a relative system. Its parts are what make it an relative entity and it only exists through them (HEGEL 1812/1813).
All interactions that take place are related to goals. The goals of a society, of institutions and individuals, are presented as parts of an entity, but are not always supportive, additive forces. Under circumstances that are not unexpected in a world of limited resources - the different goals are in competition: in other words, they are dialectic. The self-interest of the individual and the collective interest of the society can be in conflict.
What an individual believes is fair can be in disagreement with the norms of his society if it favors the interests of the privileged classes, for example. Much social upheaval in the world is the result of dialectic effects such as these.
Given that every action system is guided by reason (an important difference to behavioral systems dominated merely by intelligence), each individual, institution or society can create arguments that control the other systems. This competence relativizes the hierarchy of control that, according to PARSONS (1966), places a society above institutions and organizations and these bodies above the interactions of individuals.
An example is the development of collective knowledge, which requires corporeality as a medium, oriented above all to the assurance of existence. Therefore, this knowledge is frequently static, not very creative and far from ideal (compare HABERMAS 1965). Often, technically or morally, justified inventions are the product of internal action and the reflections of an individual and must impose themselves over opposing social forces. KANT's ideas (1793) and the difficulties of their acceptance in the societies constitute an outstanding example.
Finally, some remarks on how the self-interest of people has caused the main problems of the human world. If society wants to ensure and expand existence, it must offer sub-systems to individuals so that they can reach their goals (see BERELSON & STEINER 1972).
Among these sub-systems are institutions and organizations related to the family, the school and the workplace, which have a special significance because their conditions also determine to what degree the individual will be capable of realizing the guarantee and especially the expansion of their cultural existence.
These environments, therefore, constitute the main causes of the existence of social strata, and of the differences between countries. The lower class is limited to the guarantee of existence, while the middle and upper classes, mainly due to their superior education and training, have greater opportunities for realizing good living (See MARX 1844).
What characterizes the internal situation of a society also produces existential differences between societies, such as the level of instruction and education, which give rise to different qualities of life among nations. To put the concept in general terms: the closer a society is to the conditions of nature, the further it is from a modern education and associated training, the more improbable it is that its members enjoy a good life.
A solution is to make actions and interactions in all societies more probable, diminishing the pure selfishness of behavior. Individuals, institutions, organizations, societies and humanity are entities, or systems with reciprocal effects. If they develop as action systems through adequate instruction and education, the force of reason, and not of uncontrolled selfish behavior, will guide more and more.
In this case, as HOBBES (1642) noted, humanity would be guided by the same principles. It would be guided in its arguments and decisions by the same values and norms when realizing its projects or evaluating the results, devising a good standard of living for all. Some of the most important of these principles, which are created by pure reason, but which are usable by practical reason, are the subject of the next chapter.
Chapter II: Justified Action
Ideal conditions cannot be expected in a world in which every organism is born with self-interest, which remains an active force throughout life. Therefore, a force that opposes self-interest must be developed. KANT (1785, 1788) demonstrates that human beings, with the aid of pure reason, are capable of developing this force.
In the evolutionary process, due to the scarcity of resources, only the organisms that used existential means for their self-interest have survived. If they shared these means with others, it was only for the purpose of increasing the chances of life for their own genetic material. This is why every existence is accompanied by self-interest.
The descriptive model of behavior and action (Chapter I) presented the form in which individuals attempt to achieve the guarantee and expansion of their existence. However, it did not determine whether they achieve it in a justified manner or through pure self-interest, without consideration for others, and without morality. But living in societies, all action encompasses both life technique and morality, or to be clearer: morality in life technique. In this chapter, we will therefore discuss the moral component of each action.
The individual who reflects on his life mainly thinks about his happiness, since this is the universal goal, and all other things serve as means to this end (AUGUSTINE, 414 AD). The measure of the desired quality for the guarantee and expansion of existence is therefore a happy life, or good living.
But the existential means of good living, especially material resources, are limited. How many of these resources can an individual claim for his own living for the purpose of guaranteeing his own existence and the expansion of his life? This is the main moral question that a model of justified behavior, or of internal and external action, should address.
The Principle of Equal Rights
Nature does not give satisfactory answers to moral questions: the strong destroy the weak, the weak eliminate the weakest. But human beings are capable of overcoming this natural state through a force that goes beyond the force of nature, which is reason. As pure internal action, reason can distance and free itself from nature and its conditions.
Philosophizing was therefore necessary and led to different proposals: (1.) In the realms of religion, that morality is the result of a supernatural force and its revelation; or (2.) morality is based only on human forces: reason alone has to find a solution.
Common to both proposals is that her explanation cannot be observed in nature - but their effects in the world - because they go beyond nature (compare LOCKE 1790). One decisive consequence is that this discrepancy between nature (self-interest of corporeality) and morality impedes a person from limiting his self-interest, since morality is directed towards the human spirit (intelligence or reason) and only indirectly to corporeality.
The freedom to propose and accept becomes an option. Anyone who does not eat will die, which is natural law. Those who do not follow a proposal to overcome self-interest can believe (and often experience) they are able to live better than those who adhere to a moral code.
Therefore, it is necessary to select from the different proposals that can at least enjoy wide acceptance (often only verbal) and, consequently, have the force to be a law in modern democracies. These are the proposals that all individuals have equal rights in their efforts to achieve good living.
Here is not the place to discuss the history of the development of this concept, but it is necessary to distinguish it from morality that uses "justice" as the measure for the purpose of justifying a society's regulations and laws.
An important example is that, at around the same time as KANT was writing, HUME (1751) published "An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morality", in which he proposed justice as the basis of morality. He illustrates his ideas with an example of fidelity in marriage, demonstrating his ideological dependence on the norms of his time: "An infidelity is considerably more harmful to women than it is to men; therefore, the laws of punishment are more severe for females than they are for males."
KANT (1785, 1793) avoids this deceptive notion of justice and bases his ethics on equal rights, which are independent of individuals, time and place: act only so that your action could become a universal law. That is what his Categorical Imperative demands.
KANT presents the concept of equal rights as the axiom of pure reason. If during internal argumentation, individuals do not take into account the characteristics of reality, especially of their own practical reason (strong or not) and own corporeality (strong), only pure reason remains as a force. Therefore, from this perspective, all individuals are equal.
To free the individual in thought from the conditions of their nature is the decisive step, but we must accept that in reality each person is an individual entity composed of intelligence (reason) and corporeality, inclined to act in accordance with self-interest due to experience acquired during the evolutionary process.
But if we consider that society expects its members to facilitate the task of developing this knowledge and transmitting it to others, we are again faced with the perspective and actions of individuals. We therefore find in our world of life a system that causes the two perspectives to act reciprocally – the wishes and tasks of the individual and the demands and tasks of society - and that integrates them into a single system: culture.
Consequently, equal rights and individual corporeality have a dialectic relationship. It is therefore necessary to provide the third force of man, the practical reason, with a second tool to mesh the goal of pure reason with the goals of corporeality. In other words, this is a moral criterion that takes into account the needs of an individual's corporeality.
The Principle of Guarantee of Existence
In concrete situations, it can be decisive to consider the special conditions of the corporeality of individuals. No general law can determine when we should feel happy or that we should fear death. Neither would it be justified to demand that traffic regulations, based on equal rights, always have the same weight in every situation. In the case of a truck without brakes, the principle of guarantee of existence takes precedence over equal rights.
Another example: KOHLBERG (1981) asks whether or not it is acceptable to steal a medicine to save a person's life in an emergency. As we see: it is only possible to answer this question in a justified manner if we introduce as a second criterion the principle of assurance of existence, or the requirement for life.
The principle of equal rights requires that all individuals tell the truth since everyone wants to be treated equally. In certain situations, however, this can jeopardize existence. A seriously ill individual who has been told of his condition may become desperate and lose his will to live.
Consequently, KANT's idea presents difficulties when the real problems of individuals are addressed. His moral rigor, based only on pure reason, cannot accept any concessions to or weakening of the pure principle of equal rights. He demands that the truth be told, even to the assassin who wants to know the whereabouts of his intended victim (KANT 1797).
We can conclude that a morality based solely on pure reason, although it recognizes and accepts equal rights, cannot satisfy the individual as a totality composed of reason and corporeality. For this reason, modern mankind has decided - or should decide - that only what considers both factors is legitimate: equal rights and the assurance of existence. Thus, each person has to develop and evaluate an action based on the following two principles:
1. Does it respect equal rights?
2. Does it take into account assurance of existence?
When an action is confirmed through both principles, it can be accepted as legitimate. However, this is not as easy as it seems, since both assurance of existence and equal rights are values and norms created by humans. In other words, as to expect, they are approximations that must allow for exceptions. If three people are lost in the desert and only have a limited supply of water, the principles of assurance of existence and equal rights cannot conclusively help them to decide which individual should receive the water to at least ensure his survival. Nevertheless, in the same way that we cannot use an exception to formulate a general rule, we cannot refute a general rule due to an exception. From the perspective of good living for all, it is preferable to strive to keep such cases as exceptions. In this way, we can justify defining and using the principles of assurance of existence and equal rights as basic moral rules in human life.
How to Make Justified Actions More Likely
Every society is to characterize a mixture of manifestations of justified and unjustified behaviors, that is, of actions and mere behaviors. From this perspective, the main function of our theory is to make justified actions more likely.
Since both behavior and action are based on self-interest, justified action must make self-interest compatible with equal rights. Consequently, when individuals want to resolve a problem in any of the interaction systems, that is between people, institutions or societies, they have to apply the following moral and technical principles:
I act on self-interest, you and others act on self-interest.
We must find solutions X and Y to make good living for all more likely.
If X is life technique, we include all experiences and inventions that enable life: this is the intelligent interaction with individuals (effective communication and production) or with nature (for example the intelligent management of natural resources).
If Y is morality, we recognize the principles of equal rights and assurance of existence.
Every individual is asked to solve problems in this way, but these principles have to characterize the society in its entirety. Under this perspective of good living by X and Y, insufficient conditions predominate in a society that is close to the natural state and its laws: the strong dominate the weak. The short lifespan of primitive peoples is no coincidence.
The first task of instruction and education is therefore to make every member stronger technically (instruction, to have the best productive knowledge) and stronger morally (education, to control self-interest). When we compare societies saying it in the simplest way: the self-interest of the individual is equal in all parts of the world, but knowledge of life techniques and moral control is qualitatively different.
Individuals desire a long, good life, for which reason an instruction that teaches life technique faces no fundamental opposition from individuals (compare ERIKSON 1959). Education becomes more complicated because it has as its goal good living for all: it has an equal-rights focus and is in a dialectic position with the demands of the individual's corporeality to achieve their own standard of good living. Education is therefore characterized by conflicts and by rejection.
Nevertheless, if we think in terms of a system of forces, some possibilities arise. The first consists of combining, with the aid of their reciprocal effects, the two basic human forces, reason and corporeality, into one that strives for justified action. Equal rights should not only be established and explained verbally, but also be exemplified (see chapter VII: model learning), praised, and actively transmitted (for example via poignant stories).
Based on HEGEL (1797/98) and SCHOPENHAUER (1840), we can affirm that a force that participates in originating justified action is charitable love. This is not erotic love produced by corporeality, but rather love created and determined by intelligence/reason and corporeality, based too on the learned and practiced principle of equal rights for all individuals.
RAWLS (1975) also gives equal rights greater weight, joining them with the corporeality (self-interest) and reason (pure reason) of individuals. The person who ignores their current situation and characteristics, or who thinks in "pure" forms with respect to his existential condition, wants to live in a society in which equal rights are taken seriously. Old age awaits the strong, illness the healthy.
Religion can also be a positive and additive force. When developing this theory, no argument was found that contradicts the existence of God, but questions without responses have remained. Which forces made the world, the genetic material and its demands, the spirit and its possibilities? "God" as a response to the inexplicable is an argument that cannot be refuted by reason.
Therefore, our theory of life technique of living does not oppose individuals' belief in God. To the contrary, even the apparently decisive argument of an atheist ("If everything has a creator, then who created God?") loses its absolute force since existential relativism shows us that human beings can only recognize the human world.
As we have mentioned briefly, the moral difference between justified action systems and behavioral systems applies not only to individuals, but to all interaction systems, that is, to society as well as to its institutions and organizations. The constitution and configuration of a community and a society can only be morally justified when its norms attempt to approximate as much as possible the principles of assurance of existence and equal rights.
Society must create the conditions, especially through its institutions, that enable all members to develop as action systems and live as such, assuring and expanding their existence. Likewise, society should punish behavior that is not justified (compare MERTON 1968). To be tolerant in the face of selfish behavior that threatens good living for all is a mistake since self-interest would easily gain the upper hand.
Our world is fraught with offensive and defensive wars, for which reason it is necessary to promote and defend good living for all through strong, supranational institutions, or global institutions. If the basic goal is the good of humanity, different nations have to join forces to make good living for all more likely.
What if there are few individuals, institutions and states guided by moral principles? This should not lead us to fatalistic resignation. The constitutions of modern nations permit justified action. All individuals can carry out justified actions in the systems of forces in their world of life. The more citizens there are who do so, the more their accumulated actions will approximate good living for all.
Chapter III: Life Structure
Following HUSSERL (1929), we refer to the system of forces that individuals form with their environment as the "world of life". If we order this life-world with the help of existential functions, we speak of the "life structure".
Why is it necessary to order the human world? The reciprocal effects of the six forces generate a seemingly infinite number of major and minor forces that act on our life with different properties and activities and that also have reciprocal effects on each other.
They create a "chaos" in which, to build a good life, we must find our way. Natural evolution already gives us an order. From the point of view of existence, it assigns positive (additive) or negative (dialectical) forces. But we humans have to break down and arrange them further, because we are concerned with the extension of existence too.
We have already proposed a first structure of our world of life with the general system of six forces. This corresponds to the position and perspective of an individual who, in order to act, distinguishes different outputs (functions), identified with different forces in his world:
An action must be planned and directed. Forces that we refer to as our own and others' reason (intelligence) have this function;
An action also needs an organic base, as the outputs (functions) of corporeality.
An action needs material energy, as the outputs (functions) of organic and inorganic nature.
But the individual perspective is insufficient for understanding the world of life in all its complexity. Because of the variable conditions of human life, each individual is born with a need for interactive systems, that is, communities, for instruction and education.
"Why is it worse to kill a woman than a man, despite the fact that a man has more value due to his nature? Surely because she does not have as much strength and can therefore do less harm. Besides, it is not a heroic act to prove strength before a weaker person."
According to PARSONS (1966), who analyses societies from this perspective, each one (if it wants to guarantee its own and members' existence) must carry out the following special tasks (functions):
create and sustain common knowledge;
integrate members into the society;
create favorable conditions for the individual goals of its members
facilitate the adaptation of organic and inorganic nature.
Therefore every modern society has concrete or ideological systems that have specialized in one of these functions:
CULTURE: whose characteristic function is to create and transmit knowledge.
COMMUNITY: its specific output consists of the integration of members via regulations and laws.
PERSONALITY: society has the function of creating favorable conditions for its members to achieve their goals.
CORPOREALITY: society promotes and supports those individual properties and activities that foster members' necessary adaptation to the organic and inorganic environment.
ENVIRONMENT: society regulates the use of organic and inorganic resources.
These biggest systems in our world of life contain parts and systems of differing sizes that give rise to its structure. We refer to these as "sub-systems," "spheres," and "elements" (See figure 3: Life structure). How do we see these distinctions? They are the result of the reciprocal effects from the perspective of society and from the perspective of the individual.
Take culture as an example: The function (output, task) of society of integrating its members and that of the individual of respecting the rights of others generate morality as a sub-system with global application, and its elements assurance of existence and equal rights.
FIGURE 3: LIFE STRUCTURE
Scientific study in some communities confirmed the differentiation in functional systems of life structure because all elements found in these populations were ordered into one of the sub-systems, spheres or elements.
However, this could only be achieved as an approximation since all elements are the result of reciprocal effects among the six forces, and their ordering into a single force is therefore always questionable.
In life structure (Figure 3), sexuality is presented as an element of corporeality, but it could be interpreted only from the perspective of society and therefore ordered within the community. The life structure is the result of the attempt to acquire the most general perspective possible.
Consequently, it should be interpreted from this angle. We must take into account that every person has specific characteristics, goals, conditions and possibilities. Each individual structure is qualitatively different from others.
These differences in life technique and morality are not extinguished through this general life structure. Rather, they are even more apparent as individual. The sub-systems, the spheres and elements of life serve both for the despot and the slave, but the individual assessment of the elements, which are ordered and therefore comparable, facilitate the recognition of the qualitative differences among the worlds of life.
The Importance of the Life Structure
Nature and reason (or intelligence) are the basic forces that create and determine life structure. Reason has liberty as its essential attribute, while determination and need are qualities of nature. Since each element of an action is the result of all forces, every element of life structure is a system composed of liberty and determination.
However, in the life structure (liberty grows from top to bottom as determination and need decrease (culture is characterized more by liberty, corporeality less). We can therefore conclude that the more people who consciously try to resolve conflicts using cultural and social means rather than behavioral techniques or even physical-chemical means (so those of war), the greater the probability that liberty and self-determination will be respected.
General knowledge and the specific case act reciprocally, but they belong to different planes of reality -- either to the mental plane (theoretical) or the concrete plane (practical). Life structure can be understood as a meta-theoretical system, according to LOSEE (1977), because it contains all the elements corresponding to practical life and does not exclude any theory.
Life structure can be used to link theory and practice to favor a better life for all. In this case, theory has the function of mentally recognizing and modifying practices, while practice has the function of developing the theory (DILTHEY 1890) from a better theory into life and therefore from a better life into a still-better theory (an so on).
From the system of forces we can deduce that each element of life structure is directly or indirectly associated with another element. Therefore, if one element of life structure is a problem, all the other elements become mediate or immediate forces, in other words, they become conditions that impede (as dialectic forces) or favor (as additive forces) the solution to the problem.
An example: He who changes his place of residence (environment) for reasons of illness (corporeality) should consider (personality) the effects on the school situation (culture) and the friendships of his children (community).
Life structure sets the content of life, but it requires smart and fair procedures to bring these forces to positive effect, and to a good common life. Thus, the individual who recognizes the multiple possibilities for resolving a problem can more easily reach a solution, but he must also realize that, in most cases, solutions affect the interests of others, either fostering or limiting them.
The content of these relationships among individuals has to be considered with the aid of the principles of morality (Chapter II) and, methodologically, with the six steps of an action named GACORE (Chapter V), along with self-advice (Chapter VI) and argumentative communication or production and consumption (Chapters VII and VIII).
Life Structure and Development
Everyone is born into an existing life structure as a genetically influenced being, and in a given environment, which includes parents, family, institutions of society. But the newborn begins to influence his surroundings, which in turn try to influence him through forces such as education. In other words, reciprocal effects characterize life from its beginnings.
Individuals do not begin from zero, since evolution has configured the properties and activities of their corporeality. It is likely that individuals will never again behave as selfishly as they did at the beginning of life - directed by behavioral programs that had the goal of assuring existence - because they develop during childhood as action systems that also consider more or less the interests and ideas of others.
Figure N° 4: From a Behavior System to the Action System
PIAGET (1969) describes the characteristic steps of this process. Figure 2 is based on his theory, but associates the key phases of human development (newborn, child and young adult) with the three planes of action. In this way, it recognizes how the existential skills of the newborn are honed and developed through an increasingly broad, abstract knowledge. The child develops a personality that knows more and more how to think and feel in a justified manner, and that shapes its life in an autonomous way.
The grasping reflex, for example, characterizes a sphere of behavior through which the newborn, assuring his own existence, attempts to dominate his environment. Parallel to the development of conscious reason, the grasping behavior is later associated with representations that eventually become abstract notions and that characterize argumentation regarding the problem of private property, for example.
Actions have three moments: given situation, approximation, and goal. But actions must consider two functions: thinking about the systems of forces in life structure (internal actions) and - eventually - modifying them (external actions). Both functions complement a real action.
Chapter IV: Life Concept
Life structure orders the multiple elements of living, thereby enabling us to recognize the numerous and complex forces that favorably or unfavorably influence our lives. Which forces can and should we use? Against which forces can and should we fight? This depends on the goals to which we aspire.
The criteria of justified action permit us to recognize which goals are justified. However, as tests, they can only judge an existing goal and cannot create individual goals. It is the agent who has to develop goals in keeping with his needs and ideas. He then uses the criteria to judge them.
The different goals of an animal form a system that corresponds, in its entirety, to the needs of its genetic material, which is, to the assurance of its existence. In the case of humans, goals should also constitute a system, but for both the assurance and expansion of existence.
The all-encompassing system is life structure. If we interpret its elements with the aid of procedural moments - goals, given situation and approximation - we see that each can be a goal, a given condition or a means of approximation. If we concentrate only on goals, life structure is at the same time a structure of goals, which we refer to as "life concept".
The fact that a person's goals constitute a system is more than just a theoretical conclusion. In reality, we observe typically that individuals want to act based on a concept: they aspire to several goals, but these are not isolated. Rather, they form an ordered system without contradictions (FESTINGER 1976).
The life concept of a person is an entity, but this does not mean we should conclude that all goals are equally important. Based on his desires and problems, the individual determines which spheres and elements are the most important, and consequently selects the essential goals of his life that orient all the others.
Each person is at the center of his world even though he is part of an interactive system due to existential reasons, and thereby shares life concepts with others. The family is one of these systems in which members integrate their own life concepts through interactions to form a family life concept whose sub-systems are the life concepts of the different members (see BRONFENBRENNER 1979).
In modern societies, for example, many women face the problem of coordinating their profession (work system) with their family (private system). These essential goals influence other elements of life structure, such as the duration of studies and the selection of a profession, partner and place of residence. To determine the essential goals and form or coordinate the forces of life structure accordingly are decisive skills for good living for all.
In the world of life, new forces appear in each new situation. They occur as relatively independent events that we accept or reject and that influence our goals as a result. We must understand and build a life concept as a dynamic system, open to all forces that have a justified life as a goal or an effect. With the aid of this flexible concept, all actions are developed and interpreted as elements of a conscious, progressive development.
Humans do not have to try to achieve a balance without tensions, which is apparently a goal of nature. Rather, human equilibrium is understood as a judgment and the feeling of having reached a state of good living thanks to ambitious goals and risky solutions that the individual has achieved. If this is true, the general goal of life concept could be defined as life as an adventure.
In this case, setting goals that are too modest is not recommended because rarely does good result from anything less than an extraordinary goal (compare CLAUSEWITZ, 1832/34) An individual may aspire to a life that accepts the assurance of existence only as the basic foundation. Curiosity about the unknown, the will to strive for the best, and not to fear risks are justifiable characteristics.
The life concepts of different individuals compete because resources are scarce. For this reason too, it is advisable to choose a grander goal, since if we choose a modest goal while others pursue more ambitious ones, our arguments can demand only modest resources.
The basic skills that help to create both individual and shared concepts are, first, self-advice (Chapter VI); and second, argumentative communication to reach a consensus (Chapter VII). Even the goals referring to organic and inorganic nature need to be examined using these skills. This is how a shared ecological concept is formed that takes into account the reciprocal effects of humans with regard to geographical space, inorganic objects, animals and plants (BOESCH 1971).
Specific Characteristics of Life Concepts
Actions achieve only approximations. They fulfill goals only in an imperfect way. Since life concepts are goal systems, they cannot be fully realized and consequently, there is no deadline for reaching them. Additionally, the basic goals - assurance and expansion of existence - are so dynamic that we must continually create new ones.
Life concepts are oriented toward a more or less specified future. We plan for a better life, have mid- or long-term goals, and ask ourselves the existential question: Should I act now in a way in which in a few years I will probably have wanted to act? Conditions and requirements are that our action is based on optimism to achieve our goals.
Differences between the goal and the quality of the action realized occur, and depend on whether hopes and plans refer to goals that are achieved through inorganic and organic forces or through human forces. What is determined by natural inorganic law can be calculated, and what is determined by the laws of behavior can be forecast with relative certainty, but what depends on intelligence or reason is characterized by free will. Since, at the very least, the intelligence of different (selfish) individuals participates in interactive systems, success will be more likely and lasting if the goals are coordinated and achieved through a consensus based on reason (HABERMAS 1971).
Given that we can influence the future but never the past through our life concepts, being able to predict the future is more important from the perspective of good living than understanding the past (compare STEGMÜLLER 1974). Thus, the basic goal of medical, psychological and pedagogical action is above all to enable more favorable predictions about individuals’ future lives.
Corporeality reacts only in an incomplete way to this existential relationship between the past and the future by forgetting and repressing (FREUD 1938). Therefore, the function of reason - in the case of being plagued by certain negative memories that interrupt activity - is to make us aware that for life concepts, the only important past events are those that, as forces, have a significant effect for the intended goals. Besides, in the approximation to a goal, the negative events of the past are only a condition of the beginning. In the process of approximation, they can gradually lose their effects.
Life concepts are the products of hope in a happy future. If we abstain from religious assumptions, a good life on Earth is at the center of our aims. Consequently, we must have an existential strategy to prepare ourselves for death, for the "final reality" (PARSONS 1966), through an active life full of plans ideas and accomplishments. To undertake a project that will probably extend beyond one's own life is a force that individuals can use to counter death.
Life concepts produce tensions between reason and corporeality. Needs require immediate satisfaction, yet mid- or long-term goals frequently call for renouncing instant gratification. Life concepts must strike a balance between those positions to develop compatible solutions. Current and future good living are two perspectives that form together the basis of all action because current good living was once the hoped-for future.
Life concepts also cause tensions between individuals because they demand resources in which others have or could have an interest. Generally, we should not expect justified reactions to our justified life concept. Envy and rivalry are normal outgrowths of self-interest (the experiences of each reader will support this assumption). The individual who communicates the goals of his life concept to others should be aware of this reality. He may decide to make public only a part of his justified concept and to communicate its entirety only to people he trusts completely.
The desired quality of a life concept can be compared with the structure and action of a society. In the same way that a country's laws attempt to establish the rules in all spheres of activity, life concept covers all spheres of life structure.
The agent must be trained to be his own deliberating congress and, at the same time, his own acting cabinet in both his internal and external actions. Each agent evaluates and determines the goals that obligate and guide him. In this way, he establishes the conditions for action as if he were a minister of the interior, foreign affairs, economy, social affairs and the environment. He acts like a nation in a state alliance, or as an independent system in the larger system that he forms with the community.
Surely this high cultural and economic requirement cannot be the norm for every individual. Nevertheless, we can assert that it is justified to favor concepts that cover both theoretical and practical action. In other words, this is specialized theoretical knowledge as well as adequate practical knowledge, in a reciprocal relationship with each other. For the individual this is the task of learning.
The individual is born as a behavioral system containing basic forces for the development of a life concept (Figure 2). Adults (action systems) must act on a child's behalf and support them through education and instruction. They influence a child's goals until they prove themself capable of recognizing, examining, changing and autonomously realizing his life concept. Criteria to measure progress in this area include the domination and legitimization of his life (EYSENCK & EYSENCK 1987, HEISENBERG, MILLER ET AL. 1991).
As the child develops as an action system, his self-responsibility grows and family support declines. Other institutions, especially the school, complement it. However, because school is traditionally organized into independent subjects, the school cannot sufficiently contribute to the development of a life concept that address life structure in its entirety. Consequently, children must have learning opportunities outside of school. (Another possibility is to modify the school curriculum to undertake the task of supporting the development of students' life concepts.)
Life concepts must be developed through actions, using communication (external action) and self-advice (internal action). They have the purpose of improving both the agent's ability to plan goals through internal action and his skills to realize them through external action. But what links internal action to external action? The following chapter presents the GACORE model, which demonstrates that all actions, both internal and external, must be structured in the form of and in six steps.
Chapter V: The Six Steps of an Action
The objective of our theory is to contribute to good living for all. In the first chapter, we discussed how every individual, as a product of evolution, is at the center of his own world and we concluded that each person must adapt himself not only to the world like an animal, but also create it, ideally through intelligent behavior, or through an action.
In the second chapter, we examined how individuals must behave in accordance with the principles of equal rights and the assurance of existence, since they live in interactive systems composed of subjects with the same rights. To facilitate this task, we ordered, in the third chapter, the life structure (world of life) of each individual with the aid of functions. The result was life structure. In the fourth chapter, we defined and described life structure as a system of goals, as the life concept.
In this fifth chapter we examine how an action takes place. To this end, we have to develop the methodological base of the fundamental skills the agent must possess. So we do not concentrate on the materials (contents of life structure), we shift our focus to the formal methods of achieving a solution. In other words, we examine the formal process of an action.
The Basic Structure
There are three formal moments (see chapter I): given situation, approximation, and goal. Because we are acting inside our life concept more or less consciously, we are oriented towards goals, so that a new order might be: 1. goal, 2. given situation, 3. approximation.
An action has two functions: (a) thinking about the forces of the problem (internal action) and - if necessary - (b) modifying them to become goal-oriented (external action).
Figure 5: THE SIX STEPS OF AN ACTION
- GACORE MODEL -
All internal action covers the three formal moments: goal, given situation and approximation. All external action, in the case of being directed towards the same goal, covers the three formal moments too: goal, given situation and approximation. Thus, each real action takes place with the aid of six steps, with each step having a particular name according to its task (function).
Example: The individual who wants to know the meaning of a foreign word sets a goal (first step: goal); thinks about the possibilities for achieving it (second step: analysis); and decides to consult a dictionary in order to achieve it (third step: conception). Once the agent has completed these steps of internal action, he begins the three steps of external action, of real modification. By opening the dictionary, he creates favorable conditions (forth step: organization), then reads and understands the meaning of the word (fifth step: realization) and finally, when using it, he observes if the acquired knowledge has proven useful (sixth step: evaluation).
From the initial letters of the six steps (goal, analysis, conception, organization, realization, evaluation), the name of the model is derived: GACORE.
Each agent more or less consciously follows these six steps. In routine action, we only perceive them in abbreviated form, but we can classify what is perceived in terms of the total process: "Careful!" shouts a cyclist on the sidewalk. With this word, the cyclist manifests only what corresponds to the fifth step (realization) of an action. The other steps have developed so quickly that the individual is barely aware of them: the recognition of the goal, the analysis of the conditions, the conception that the analysis results in the decision to shout "careful!" and the preparation for the shout (its organization) using the voice. But pedestrians understand the complete context and try to react to ensure their survival.
Six steps alone are not sufficient to solve complex problems. But every step can itself be divided using the six steps. For example, the analysis, when it is part of a complex problem, requires a clear definition of its goals (What is to be analyzed?), must recognize its conditions (analysis of the conditions to make the analysis), and must organize, realize, and evaluate.
In summary: the best solution to any problem, whether theoretical or practical, has two dimensions. These are either forces of life structure, or the six steps of the model GACORE.
Chapter VI: Self-Advice
The function of self-advice is to devise and manage the life structure of the person and with it, their life concept. Self-advice should be an internal action, not mere behavior, and therefore its form follows the six steps of action.
The agent orders all forces in an effort to reach a positive goal, and interprets these forces as either additive (as means to approximate the goal) or as dialectic (as conditions that impede approximation).
Self-advice is an internal action, but generally directed towards external action; it prepares it, accompanies it and has to evaluate it. Therefore, we can say that the external or practical action is generally the purpose of internal action of self-advice.
If we exclude here the technical problems of production activity, external actions are dependent on communication and argumentation. In a world characterized by selfishness, and a world of limited resources, we need therefore the best arguments to convince.
Self-Advice as Internal Argumentation
As already stated, we consider the systems of forces from two viewpoints, -- as substances and as processes. If we focus on substances, we speak of the properties of a system of forces; if we look at processes, we refer to formal activities.
First let us consider the properties that appear in internal argumentation. Sensations, representations, needs and feelings are properties of corporeality and are therefore in principle selfish behaviors. Therefore, if an individual must resolve problems through justified action, he must examine and clarify this information through reason.
Reason works with the aid of its specific activities, such as generalizing and concluding, thereby transforming the thoughts (sensations, representations, needs, feelings) into notions. Notions help us more clearly to understand and resolve a problem than do the properties of corporeality alone.
But nevertheless, in an action the influence of corporeality is always present, and depending on the existential situation, it can be strong or weak. If a person feels panicked, his existential fear can predominate and block reason. The individual who had previously been an action system will react as a behavioral system by fleeing blindly.
In critical situations, when our need for assurance of existence is apparently affected, it is essential that we observe ourselves, that we mentally distance ourselves to determine whether or not we are still an action system or if we have become a behavioral system. Self-advice must be capable of conscious reconstruction (see BIRREN 1981, LAMP 1984).
Internal argumentation is linked to an internal language as its instrument. That is why humans learned to speak during the evolutionary process (see WITTGENSTEIN 1948, SOKOLOV 1972, MEICHENBAUM 1979). Initially, as the comparison with animals shows, language was motivated by the assurance of existence, meaning by the basic need of corporeality, but later it was also motivated by the human goal of expansion of existence.
Consequently, human language has developed through reciprocal effects between corporeality and reason (SEARLE 1987). Language can be the mean of a behaviour or of an action, depending on whether corporeality alone is active or whether reason and corporeality form a unit.
During a person's development, language gradually becomes a means of action. A child's language still largely depends on what he actually sees, while an adult uses language based on notions and is capable of abstract thought without taking into account real events.
All self-advice begins with the perception of a problem. Individuals often respond spontaneously to a problem, immediately proposing a solution. They are called upon to react without consciously examining the situation and its possibilities. This spontaneous internal call is what KANT names a "maxim" (1795, see his formula for the Categorical Imperative).
The spontaneous maxim does not always have the same quality for good living as a deliberated action. Since each situation has something new, it is distinguished to a greater or lesser degree from previous experiences. Sometimes it contains an element that is so different and important that the solution can and should be achieved only through a new, novel action. In this case, the spontaneous maxim has the quality of a dangerous behavior: after a dispute with her husband, a woman directs the car into the oncoming traffic, with deadly consequences.
Reason must technically and morally examine the information in the maxim and modify it as needed. To this end, it compares, generalizes and reaches conclusions, which are all conscious activities with conscious results (compare HEGEL 1912/13). How is the role of pure reason and practical reason in this process?
Pure reason produces its own information for internal argumentation. It is capable of developing ideas that do not have their roots in the observation of reality, in the needs of corporeality: it has the advantage of being creative, but it can be dangerous too. Ignoring the reality is dangerous.
That is why pure reason does not always have better existential ideas than corporeality. It can introduce into the internal arguments maxims that threaten existence. It is not possible, then, to maintain that it is always better to follow pure reason alone and ignore both corporeality and the outside world. For this, it is the task of practical reason to mediate.
Furthermore, given that the realization of an existential goal always depends on outside forces, which are often dialectic and sometimes invincible, we are advised to develop, from the beginning, an alternative to the maxim. In the event that the original maxim fails, we always have the possibility of satisfying a goal.
The Self-Advice Model
The methodological bases of the model are the steps of internal argumentation, initiated by the perception of the problem and the spontaneous maxim. Self-advice uses the GACORE model, whose steps determine its course. But since self-advice is only an internal action, the outside steps of an action, namely, organization and realization, are included only indirectly.
Step One: The Goal
The function of this step is to examine the spontaneous maxim from the perspective of good living for all: comprehend the problem and its relevance for life and its goals; outline a solution; and prepare, with the aid of reason, a provisional guiding maxim. It is provisional because many forces in the external world cannot be predicted or completely dominated.
For this reason, it is advisable, as we have mentioned, to incorporate an alternative maxim from the beginning, which should depend more on justified action of the agent himself than on the behavior of opposing forces. It should be as similar as possible to the guiding maxim. As a consequence, it should be the guiding and the alternative maxims form two sub-systems within a single system. They are two interwoven parts.
Step Two: Analysis
The function of this step is to identify the favorable and unfavorable conditions for the realization of the guiding maxim. It is characterized by the recognition of relevant forces for the goals with the aid of life structure (Figure 1). These forces belong to organic (animals, plants) or inorganic (materials, products) media, or to the human world (individuals, communities).
Generally, individuals constitute the most important conditions, whether positive or negative. If they oppose the maxim (the solution to the problem), we must seek an explanation and approximation through an external action, generally through communication. However, we must accept the fact that individuals, due to their self-interest, do not fully reveal their goals. To investigate, then, is less helpful than accepting self-interest as natural and basic without abandoning one’s own justified intentions.
To trust in self-interest is more constructive than to believe in an assumed desire for the collective good. It brings with it fewer risks, without excluding the possibility that the behavior of others can be guided by the obligation to respect equal rights.
Step Three: Conception
Conception uses the knowledge obtained until now to create a justified maxim. The conditions of the solution found in the first step (goal) and in the second (analysis) become notions, which are elements of an examined maxim: a spontaneous maxim gives way to an examined guiding maxim, which also includes an alternative maxim.
Flexibility in the conception increases the chances that we will achieve our goals. Of course, it is reasonable to plan for success, but it is not always possible to orient life concept to the easiest way of achieving it, because the bigger the goal, the greater the risk of opposition. The more ambitious our goal is, the more difficult the problems and the greater the probability of failure. It should not, if at all possible, go around the whole mosaic of life, but only some stones from it, so that possible failure can be accepted. A battle was lost, but not the war, the whole mosaic.
Steps Four and Five: Organization and Realization
Organization (fourth step) prepares for the realization of the guiding maxim by establishing favorable conditions for its initiation, generally with the aid of communication. We attempt to carry out the guiding maxim through the fifth step (realization), by approximating the goal. Since organization and realization are external actions and do not directly belong to self-advice, we will discuss these steps (using communication and also production) further in chapters VII and VIII.
Step Six: Evaluation
After having completed the approximation toward the goal, by organization and realization, we must evaluate what has been achieved. We form a judgment, accompanied by feelings regarding the existential quality of the accomplishment. A new situation has arisen and we compare this situation with the initial conditions. We evaluate critically the process from beginning to end.
If we recognize what has been achieved as satisfactory, this is naturally not the end of actions: the assurance and expansion of existence will appear as new tasks. If we decide it is unsatisfactory, we must first, before abandoning the goals of the maxim, determine whether other materials or methods could have produced a better result. From a technical and existential perspective, justified goals are more important than their means. We establish new goals and develop another maxim only after we have determined that changes in the means of the guiding maxim and even of the alternative maxim have been useless.
Problems and their solutions generally affect not only the life of the agent, but of other individuals too. Each approximation forms part of an individual's life process. It is an element of his world of life in progress. There is no good living without problems, regardless of whether they are desired. But justified approximations, justified problem solutions lead to the positive feelings we need. For this too, they represent not only end products, but also the starting point for developing new goals and approximations.
Although success tends to strengthen the individual, failure is sometimes even more effective, because humiliation fortifies the corporal and spiritual disappointment. Therefore, a justified action should not focus on defeating the other, but rather should have the goal of reaching consensus. This generosity does not ignore own self-interest, since defeat often unleashes impetuosity, endangering the assurance of existence, and incites the other to defend his own goals with radical, dangerous behavior, or with aggression (see CLAUSEWITZ 1832/34).
We resolve typical problems through self-advice (internal action), and through communication (external action). There are production problems too, but the next chapter discusses communication, its structure and methods.
Chapter VII: Argumentative Communication
How should communication take place to make good living for all more likely? Communication has the function of transmitting or receiving information. The results (contents) of internal action (or internal behavior) are transmitted to a receiver, influencing his behavior or action. Generally, communication serves to solve an additive or dialectical problem.
Self-advice creates its own maxim while successful communication produces a shared maxim. What is structurally true for self-advice (examination and evaluation of maxims, is also valid for argumentative communication. The peculiarities of the latter arise from the fact that it is not a single individual, but rather several people, who participate in the process and influence it through their individual forces, their individual conditions, reason (or intelligence), and corporeality.
The Structure of Argumentative Communication
To clear and introduce the structure of communication, it is convenient to reduce it to a reciprocal effect between two action systems, between two agents. Their internal argumentation can be connected structurally, and both are therefore capable of communicating via arguments.
Figure 6 illustrates this process: Person A develops an argument and communicates it. Person B perceives the argument as an impulse for his internal argumentation, an impulse to act. As any action begins with a goal, he interprets it as a goal proposal, as a stimulus. (Conditioning, a theory of behavioral psychology, refers to this process as stimulus and response.)
Figure 6: ARGUMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION AS RECIPROCAL ACTIONS AMONG INDIVIDUALS
Based on the goal proposal, person B uses their own internal argumentation system to examine the argument (analysis) and form (conception) his own argument, equal to or different from that of the person A. Person B communicates this argument to person A, who interprets it as a goal proposal and uses it as a stimulus to evaluate their previous argument. If the arguments have an additive relationship, there is agreement. If it is dialectic, the process has to be repeated until the final result, and a shared maxim would be the ideal solution.
Figure 6 describes this model of argumentative communication, limited to communication between only two persons who are both agents. But reality is often different because there exists not only action systems but behavior systems too. Therefore, we have to consider the following possibilities for communication:
an action system communicates with another action system;
an action system communicates with a behavioral system;
a behavioral system communicates with another behavioral system.
An action system must have the complex capacity of communicating not only with other action systems but also with behavioral systems. The key question here is what an action system must know methodically if it wants consistently to communicate in a justified way.
As previously discussed, behavioral systems are incapable of realizing internal behavior as a justified argumentation. It's characteristic that they have no access to dialectic arguments, particularly those that come from external sources. Corporeality (and with it, self-interest) dominates through its properties and activities. Needs and feelings take over where only the unit with the goals and judgments of reason would be capable of responding in a justified manner.
Consequently, an action system needs different skills and methods that have the power to reconstruct the receiver’s capacity for communicative action or to construct it in the short or long term (children). The discussion below is based therefore on the following perspective: Which methods should an action system use with respect to other action systems, and which should it select with regard to behavioral systems as children or psychic unbalanced?
Methods of Argumentative Communication
We begin with a review of what we have clarified until now. An agent always argues, at least in his internal action. In each situation, he uses the communication method best suited to the particular type of receiver. The receiver is either a behavioral or an action system. The agent must therefore choose between the verbal or non-verbal communication methods that lead best to a collective justified solution to the problem.
Symmetrical argumentation (all are agents, actions-systems) should be upheld as an ideal and a norm because it is the one that best responds to moral principles of equality. This means that the agent has to decide on the method closest to this ideal in the given situation. Thus, a hierarchy exists among the communication methods, which constitutes the basis for ordering them. We will see that "mutual argumentation" is the method that best meets the demands of symmetrical argumentation, while physical and chemical means are the least appropriate methods.
Definition: A method for communicating through verbal arguments, both additive and dialectic, in a free, open way. It is oriented exclusively towards the problem and is determined only by reason. In other words, it does not take into account the demands of the receiver's corporeality.
The individual who expresses his arguments without considering the receiver's feelings, especially those of the assurance of existence, generates in the receiver conflicts that can and often will impede this person from reacting as an action system. Therefore, pure argumentation is not the best way of communicating in real life. It constitutes an ideal for pure reason, but not for real individuals as units composed of reason and corporeality.
However, we should mention some positive effects of this method. Pure argumentation, if it is dialectical and has the intention of provoking, also stimulates the receiver's intellectual activity (compare HEGEL 1812/1913). To this end, the receiver must be a strong, stable action system susceptible to modifications. Pure argumentation is also used in psychiatry to provoke rage in a behavioral system (the patient) in order to create a therapeutic situation that can help the patient in their recovery (AMONN 1973).
This method communicates through verbal arguments, both additive and dialectic, in a free and open way, but using dialectic arguments in such a way and form that the receiver's corporeality can support them without turning into a behavioral system.
The characteristic goal of corporeality is to assure existence. For this reason, if the receiver is respected as an entity composed of reason and corporeality, the basic condition of symmetrical communication is fulfilled. Dialectic arguments will be expressed, if they are unavoidable for resolving the problem, in a way that does not harm (or do the least harm possible) the receiver’s demands or feelings. The two principles of justified action (assurance of existence and equal rights) constitute the moral standard for mutual argumentation (see also ALEXY 1978, FISHER & URY 1981).
This verbal argumentation should be the standard method used among action systems. In the family, in school, in political life and in social life in general, it is the appropriate form (oral and written) of communicating to resolve collective problems. It does not place the agent over the receiver. It is oriented towards self-interest, but also takes into account the interests of everyone directly or indirectly affected. There are two basic rules for this form of communication:
1. The individual who argues must consider that each person possesses their own life structure, their own life concept and their own values and interpretations.
2. If the task is to resolve a problem jointly, the total maxim (the guiding maxim and the alternative) must correspond to the life concepts of all participants.
In this type of argumentation, the agent expresses themself verbally but does not use dialectic arguments until the receiver has recovered his capacity for mutual argumentation.
Mutual argumentation also contains dialectic arguments, for which reason it can fail, even if the rules of stabilization have been taken into account. Additive argumentation can be used to replace it. Only arguments that do not produce any conflict in the receiver are used. In other words, they demonstrate confirmation, consent and a quantitative expansion of his knowledge.
When addressing a problem, the receiver will accept additive arguments because they seem to him to be positive conditions for his own goals. The person who agrees with the receiver, or who decides not to contradict him, can expect harmony instead of tension, cooperation and, finally, mutual argumentation.
Reconstruction Through Additive Argumentation
In light of these negative effects produced by dialectic arguments, ROGERS (1951), to cite one example, developed a method that permits the agent to reconstruct a behavioral system, whether temporary or even general. This method is in essence none other than additive argumentation: the agent must strive to make the dialectic argument act only on the receiver's internal behavior so that the individual will not interpret and reject it as an external pressure.
Additive argumentation does not always require such a passive attitude throughout the problem-solving process. If the receiver recovers his ability to communicate via additive or dialectic arguments, he should be respected as an action system, as an agent, at which point mutual argumentation should be used. The receiver is now the one who expects constructive proposals without rejecting dialectic ones. He feels like an agent and wants to be treated equally. He will feel manipulated if additive argumentation is furthered as a method of communication.
Construction through Additive Argumentation
Construction supports the development of the necessary kills for good living. If we consider only the teaching for good life, by subjects like math or biology, and the receiver generally interprets the arguments as useful for assuring and expanding their existence, this person views them as additive. But in education, when arguments have the basic goal of eliminating the domination of self-interest, we must use dialectic arguments that counter the strong demands of corporeality.
Consequently, additive argumentation is insufficient for fully constructing justified action. Construction needs both additive and dialectic arguments. Leaving the recognition and realization of equal rights alone to the internal argumentation of children and young people, rather than teaching them these concepts, is unrealistic because the heritage of evolution - self-interest - is too strong. As we mentioned earlier, this is because teaching (additive) has fewer difficulties than education (dialectic).
Learning through Models
Definition: The agent does not communicate their arguments verbally; instead, they try to get the receiver to learn through the observation of people, objects or situations.
It is not always possible to communicate through mutual or even additive argumentation. In the case of behavioral or action systems that do not fully comprehend the problem and its conditions, it may be necessary to move even further from the ideal of symmetrical argumentation, and to accentuate the properties of corporeality. On the one hand, needs and feelings and, on the other, perceptions and representations.
Reconstruction through Models
According to BANDURA (1979, 1986), people become fearful when faced with problems whose solution seems extremely difficult. If, under these circumstances, their corporeality takes precedence over reason, they are incapable of reacting in a justified way to calming arguments (additive) and even less so to critical (dialectic) arguments.
But if they observe that other people resolve problems without negative consequences, it empowers them to overcome obstacles in similar situations. Their fear subsides, their self-confidence increases. The aid of models can lead to the reconstruction of the capacity for argumentation and action.
The receiver has certain internal processes that pave the way towards argumentation. These are processes of cognitive transformation of what has been observed. The individual is scarcely aware of these processes, for which reason we should not refer to them as internal argumentation.
In the case of a behavioral system that reconstructs itself through a model, the receiver does not consciously work to identify his goal, analyze conditions or develop a solution. Nevertheless, the processes of cognitive transformation are directed toward action, since the two basic categories of an action, recognition and modification (and with it, the six steps of an action) are included in learning through models. This method of reconstruction is therefore closer to internal argumentation than it is to conditioning, which we will discuss later.
Construction through Models
Learning through models is a necessary method for both the reconstruction and the construction of the ability to argue symmetrically, because it increases the development of representations at the beginning of life and their subsequent transformation into general notions.
Children tend to acquire their knowledge from people who have an existential importance for them (parents, relatives, teachers) and who, therefore, are always models, although they often are unaware of the effect they have. Thus, educators should not only advocate justified action verbally, but should also demonstrate it through real actions.
All behavior models that contradict verbal arguments have a weakening effect, can cause behavior that is neither justified nor desired. But an agent can consciously act as a model. The individual who educates or teaches can seek or create situations that serve this purpose (AEBLI 1983).
Learning through models begins with imitation. But there is a point at which the receiver, due to his developed cognitive skills, starts to evaluate the model critically. BANDURA (1979) says that, as children grow older, they link the properties of different models to create a new, qualitatively different model.
Because it is more or less necessary to replace or support verbal arguments through models, it is appropriate to use models such as diagrams, illustrations and charts even with adults to help them understand abstract or complex notions.
Definition: The agent does not verbally express his arguments, but rather influences the receiver’s knowledge and behavior through conditions that have an existential importance for the receiver. The agent uses the demands of the receiver's corporeality to provide him with information or to control his behavior, especially through rewards or punishments.
Learning of models requires a higher intelligence than conditioning. One characteristic of dogs who have learned independently to open doors is accidental learning, but chimpanzees learn this even through observation. Learning through models is carried out through processes, which, under favorable conditions, are capable of activating the receiver's internal argumentation.
If the individual is conditioned, they usually learn only what the agent wants them to, since it is mainly the individual’s corporeality, with its limited knowledge, that learns. The receiver's reason is influenced only in an indirect, incomplete way, since receiving such information does not develop its activities, such as examination. If we use symmetrical argumentation as the standard, conditioning is less morally justified than is learning through models.
The evolution of corporeality and the learning linked to it through conditioning share the trait of trying to adapt to the outside world made up of nature and human beings.
In classic conditioning, corporeality expands its knowledge of objects that ensure or enrich life. For example, the person who feeds a child every day is a positive force for the child and becomes a component of his existential knowledge. Expressed in abstract form, if a new object regularly appears with another, known object of existential value, corporeality considers it a necessary condition and consequently memorizes the new object as positive (additive).
In operand conditioning, however, corporeality learns which behaviors have value for the assurance or expansion of existence, depending on the circumstances (HOLLAND & SKINNER 1974). If a child who wants to play accidentally rings a bell, he will purposely repeat the behavior in the future. In other words, a behavior that produces a positive result will be chosen again in similar situations. However, if that same boy accidentally hits his head on the corner of a table, he will try to avoid it in the future since a behavior producing existential harm will be repeated less frequently in similar situations.
Reconstruction through Conditioning
A simple way to reconstruct a temporary behavioral system is to reward everything that belongs to the properties of symmetrical argumentation. An individual who becomes increasingly aggressive during a quarrel, to the point where he stands up to leave, but who then sits back down, can be rewarded for the latter behavior in a non-verbal way (with a smile, for example) since it is an element of symmetrical argumentation. His corporeality will interpret the smile as existentially positive, which can lead to the reconstruction of the ability to argue.
Two well-known methods are also related to conditioning, the "time-factor" and the "relocation-factor." An agent uses the time when they try not to influence the receiver until they observe that the receiver has regained their capacity to respond to dialectic arguments. Likewise, an agent can take advantage of relocation by distancing the individual from the system of dialectic forces. They may propose, for example, to discuss the problem at another location (BOESCH 1971, THOMAE 1973).
Construction through Conditioning
A human being is born as a behavioral system. Corporeality dominates in the small child, who learns mainly through conditioning. For example, when he builds a sandcastle with other children (production), he expands his knowledge of existential objects (classic conditioning) and also learns which verbal expressions (communication) his peers (operant conditioning) understand. Thus, educators frequently use conditioning to promote the development of children’s communicative and productive skills.
Conditioning does have some risks. On the one hand, if it is excessive, it can create overly strong emotional dependencies. In cases in which the child does not receive a reward, he quickly loses interest, because a person motivates the child more than effort does. On the other hand, conditioning that serves as punishment runs the risk of unleashing aggression. For this reason, we have to agree with DREIKURS’s (1987) recommendation that the "natural consequences" of children’s behavior is the preferable mean. If a child refuses to eat at the family mealtime, they will soon feel the effects of hunger and will modify their behavior without becoming aggressive with their parents.
During the process of the child's intellectual development, conditioning becomes less important with respect to the other methods. Learning through models becomes more frequent and finally both methods will support only symmetrical argumentation.
Physical and Chemical Means
Definition: The agent does not verbally express arguments, but rather attempts to influence the receiver's behavior indirectly through physical and chemical means. He uses the reciprocal effects between the properties of the receiver's corporeality and organic or inorganic forces.
Even mutual argumentation uses the receiver's corporeality, for example, his senses, as a means to activate internal argumentation. This also applies, although to a lesser degree, to learning through models and conditioning, because in both methods the receiver has the option of consciously refusing to cooperate. But if the agent uses certain physical or chemical forces, they can obligate the receiver to follow his arguments and can destroy the receiver’s ability to influence or modify effects, or to exercise his free will.
In view of the fact that the purpose of communication is to achieve symmetrical argumentation, we must reject most measures that form part of the productive sphere. Corporal punishment and torture, drugs and certain medications are examples of these physical or chemical means.
In the practice of life, physical or chemical forces are frequently used, whether to impose arguments or to reconstruct the capacity for argumentation. A rebellious child is spanked; a troubled individual is tranquilized with medications. These methods, which have the function of substituting communication, not only violate human dignity, but also involve unforeseen risks to the assurance of existence.
Additionally, we observe that they only have temporary effects on behavior and do not influence reason on a long-term basis. Corporal punishment, for example, has often the ability to reconstruct only when the receiver feels pain or when the individual who carries out the punishment is present (REYNOLDS 1968).
We should also mention war, because during a war, physical and chemical forces replace argumentative communication. According to CLAUSEWITZ (1832/1834), war means to substitute political arguments with physical or chemical means. Using the moral criteria of equal rights and assurance of existence, there are no positive arguments except for a defensive war, because its function consists of responding, through physical or chemical forces, to the forces that threaten existence. Therefore, the purpose of a defensive war is to protect good living for all in order to return finally to peaceful argumentative communication.
Chapter VIII: Production and Consumption
Internal arguments and communication create and establish an exchange of knowledge. In the sphere of material production, nature's organic and inorganic forces are transformed and exchanged as systems of forces best suited to life: goods. Those who produce goods need the ideas of thinkers and communicators, who, in turn, require products. Both systems of forces are necessary sub-systems and have footing in the system of good living for all.
Production modifies a given organic or inorganic system of forces, orienting it towards a goal. If production is based on arguments, we refer to it as productive action, which is therefore characterized and structured by the six steps of the GACORE model (Figure 3): Internal action prepares production through the steps of goal, analysis and conception. External action creates favorable conditions (organization) and creates the product (realization). Internal action then evaluates the product and the production process (sixth step).
In a world of limited resources, this process generally occurs in interaction systems, either promoting or limiting others' action. Thus, both in production and consumption, we must technically and morally evaluate all products with the aid of the principles of the assurance of existence and equal rights.
In modern societies, not everyone participates equally in this ideal production process. The division of labor has been established in such a way that some people can conceive, plan and evaluate products while others implement plans in a rather mechanical way. The people in the first group develop their intellect while the second develop their corporeality. Considering that reason characterizes humanity, we can say that conceiving and planning production has more human dignity than mere mechanical implementation.
Basic Economic Concepts
The conditions, means and effects of production influence every life structure. Its characteristics determine the existence of all members of society, for which reason the productive life technique must be accompanied by morality, by the equitable right to good life. This has to be a central point of a justified theory of production. For this reason we will not go into detail here about physical and chemical techniques but concentrate on the conditions under which producers work and consumers live.
The function of production is to assure good living for all. Fundamental is therefore the relationship between the producer and the consumer. The place where producer and consumer come together is the market. In modern societies money is the medium between both groups. The definition of money as a mere medium is essential, because it demonstrates that so-called capitalism should not be the basic economic concept of societies.
Example: If the economic situation in a country is bad, the government can produce paper money as much as it wants in the hope of stimulating the economy. The stock exchange, where the money is denominated capital, has in consequence money in abundance, and the banks above all. The banks receive the money, but in an economic crisis they do not have enough trustworthy clients to lend to. In consequence, they prefer to invest the money on the stock exchange, where the shares and bonds will prosper, without sufficient contribution to good life of society in its totality.
For this reason, we have to focus on the economic concepts that use a market economy as their basis. The market is founded on the self-interest of the producer (he wants the best price) and the self-interest of the consumer (he wants the best product at the lowest price). Consequently, the market economy per se does not produce the sufficient effect of good living for all, and we must evaluate the market economy using the moral criteria of justified action and develop proposals for their expansion and development.
The market economy is based on the idea of private property. The question is: Why do privately owned goods mean so much to the individual? Human nature (corporeality) is a result of evolution in that surviving humans like other species used their organic and inorganic resources according to their self-interest (WICKLER & SEIBT 1977). Thus, human nature calls for the private possession of goods.
The universal desire of individuals to own private property is a permanent force in their nature that hinders equal rights. Nevertheless, it also provides a major advantage since it motivates the individual to produce goods. A person wants to consume goods or exchange them for others, driven by his own assurance or expansion of existence. This motivation is the basis of the market and its conception, the market economy (SCHMÖLDERS 1969, CLAUPEIN 1990).
Obviously, this is not the ideal. However, all attempts to overcome the human desire for private ownership, with the aid of reason, whether through early Christianity or the doctrine of Karl MARX (1844), have failed as social concepts (NELL-BREUNING 1969). A human being is an entity composed of nature and reason (or intelligence), for which reason the only practicable economic models are those that technically accept self-interest, but which are based on reason and morally associated with equal rights.
We choose as an example the social market economy (MÜLLER-ARMACK 1946) as the basis for our study because it fulfills both conditions. As a market economy, it accepts self-interest; as a social system, it attempts to respect equal rights among individuals. But being - as all that is human - an approximation, it needs to be analyzed critically. It can be criticized by determining to what extent production and consumption can occur in an ideal form, and then compared.
An Economy without Self-Interest?
A justified production and consumption system would be most likely in a society made up of members that are ideal action systems. In practice, however, these systems are non-existent.
As in other spheres of our life, the members of an economy are systems of behavior and of action. The individual who always behaves as an ideal action system exists only in theory. Nevertheless, this ideal economic individual performs a function that is existentially necessary, because he demonstrates the direction towards which each economy should develop.
We begin by defining the ideal producer and consumer (as beings composed of reason only) to later identify the limitations resulting from the properties and activities of their corporeality. Ideal producers are absolute systems of action capable of technically and morally influencing all spheres of life. They have an equal relationship with consumers, for which reason they produce for others as they would produce for themselves. According to MARX (1844), the ideal producer is an individual and a social being in four areas. This person:
(1) develops their own personality in their product;
(2) accepts the product consumer with absolute equality;
(3) enables the development of the consumer as an individual; and
(4) helps the consumer develop themself as a social being since, through consumption of the product, he relates with the consumer.
These aspects can also be applied to the ideal consumer: through consumption he develops as an individual and as a social being in that he consciously relates to the producer, at the same time enabling the producer to develop as an individual and a social being.
The ideal producer and consumer complement each other with absolute equality. This model - conceived by pure reason - is imaginable, but in real life corporeality limits equality and symmetry among individuals.
The "ultimate truth" (PARSONS 1966) is that humans only live a certain amount of time, for which reason their ability to learn and act is limited. Thus, in modern societies, multiple existential needs can only be satisfied through specialized individuals, namely through the division of labor following more or less the general life structure (Figure 1).
Faced with needs and demands, each person is limited in their action and does not exhibit the same skills in all areas of production and consumption. Therefore, they must choose a sector of life structure, especially with regard to the professional sphere.
But in society, not all sectors are considered equally: a physician and a house painter do not receive the same recognition or pay. Each has a distinct existential significance, which, from the perspective of the life technique, has a dialectic relationship with equality.
Moreover, a human being can be limited in his production due to individual characteristics: intelligence is unequally distributed among people, or limited in a child, a sick or elderly person. These people are incapable of producing or exchanging enough goods, and they are not capable of participating sufficiently in a world of markets.
We should recall that, due to evolution, the principle of assurance of existence is linked to self-interest, which opposes this ideal. An organism that seeks the best for his own genetic material possesses the best existential possibilities, although this does not necessarily benefit others.
Self-interest is the essential force of the individual, the driving force of behavior, the source of enjoyment and happiness, and the criterion for distinguishing between positive and negative forces. But from the point of view of humanity, it is both the basis of good living and an obstacle to good living for all. We must therefore conclude that rigorously imposing the economic ideal of equal production and consumption could threaten collective existence and could bring about changes in society.
In summary: Ideal production and consumption are limited by at least three human qualities. These are limited life span, the individual's life process and characteristics, and self-interest acquired during evolution. Ideal production cannot be the realistic concept of an economy. If one attempts to achieve the ideal at all costs (as demonstrated by historical experiences with communism), a person will face the hardest and most intolerable restrictions to individual freedom, with decreased motivation for work and even migration, because there would be no other way to satisfy needs.
An Economy based only on Self-Interest?
Because the ideal of MARX excludes a basic force of production, namely self-interest as a driving force, the goals actually reached differ significantly from expected goals. Neither is the other extreme, the pure market economy, a justifiable concept. Accepting self-interest as the only criterion and excluding or ignoring the principle of equal rights leads to the dominance of individuals with best competences.
If most producers were determined by the minority of highly trained individuals to be the only means of production (which is a normal consequence of a pure market economy) and were limited to assuring their existence, they would find themselves defined as general behavioral systems even though they are potential action systems.
When producers perform only mechanically, their capacity for internal arguments, self-advice and argumentative communication is poorly developed. As producers and consumers, they are unfamiliar with the concept of inter-dependency and do not give importance to the effects of their work on the environment, for example.
Furthermore, when oriented only towards self-interest, this market concept forgets the needs of the helpless, and of the individuals without the capacity to produce: elderly people, the sick, and children. So no society can be based sufficiently on the concept of compassion of its members. Help given to the helpless must be an elementary piece of each person’s constitution.
It has to be admitted that, from a perspective of societal development, the results of a pure market economy are attractive when we do not consider the life of each individual but only the average quality of life. The quantitative success of a pure market economy is determined by the exclusive orientation of economic processes to consumer needs.
It is only because a person has previously produced and sold their product - material or intellectual - that they can now acquire what they needs and desire. In this way, the market economy creates interest in all participating forces and integrates these forces into a production and consumption system that works as a market. To summarize, according to MÜLLER-ARMACK (1946), the market economy performs better than any planned economy, and better than any socialism.
The market economy is based on the different life concepts of people and thereby promotes individualism, for which reason KEYNES (1936) believes it is "the best guarantee of personal liberty" and "the best guarantee for the expansion of life". Moreover, a very advanced technique needs creative training and promotes not only practical reason but also pure reason. Thus, in societies guided by the market economy, critical-moral potential increases, particularly in universities, as demonstrated by the student protests in developing countries.
KRASSIN (1989), who compares the market economy with the Soviet planned economy, highlights its effects on producers. It:
develops the capacity to adapt to technical changes in production;
increases business initiatives;
trains highly-qualified workers who aspire to democratic freedoms and who are interested in developing their personalities to enrich their lives spiritually.
These judgments may seem overly positive because the idea was to propagate the Western economic system in the Soviet Union of the time, but KRASSIN describes the situation in countries in which there is both a market economy and democracy. These are countries in which there is no real pure market economy, because citizens and their constitution are influenced by reason and not only by self-interest. An example of such a country is Germany, ruled economically and politically as a social market economy.
The Social Market Economy
The social market economy was developed as a result of the criticisms of the communist economy and the alarming effects of the pure market economy. It was politically established in West Germany after WWII, especially by Ludwig ERHARD, who relied on the concepts of his collaborator, MÜLLER-ARMACK (1946). We will summarize MÜLLER-ARMACK's basic arguments here to demonstrate how they coincide with a justified theory of life technique:
- We cannot choose a political-economic solution that contradicts the central values we advocate. Therefore, we must determine whether the market economy corresponds to the economic and social goals we consider to be intrinsic to our democratic system. These new forms do not originate from individual ideas, but from intellectual collaboration. The goal is to achieve a synthesis of the economic and the social.
- It means that we accept the market economy as fundamental. However, it is not a liberal market economy but is rather consciously guided by social criteria. There are options for social policy in the productive increase of the economy, in the relationship among individuals with private property, in the promotion of private homes and subdivisions, as well as in the assurance of existence of artisans and small business owners.
- In the long term, market and social policy provide a better foundation for a justified social order than do the concepts of the pure or planned (communist) market economies.
The social market economy is oriented towards both self-interest and equal rights. While it has proven effective, we should still note that the MÜLLER-ARMACK-conception of a social market economy, and consequently, its realization, contains some deficiencies as compared to the demands of justified action.
Consequently, we believe that it is necessary to enumerate the main deficiencies in order to stimulate solutions. The conception of a social market economy is not a static one, it is dynamic, adapting the state of conditions and possibilities.
1. The social aspect is limited to the assurance of existence.
MÜLLER-ARMACK (1946) conceives the social aspect mainly in relation to the assurance of existence of those who do not have adequate conditions for the market, for example, children, the sick and the elderly. But we must recall that the properties and activities of production, though more or less worthy in the public opinion, have not received sufficient attention in terms of their existential value. If, in a society characterized by the division of labor, young people are trained for their future profession, whether it is theoretical or practical, we will find adults prepared for only one of the two options. Therefore, there are still individuals who can set goals, critically analyze conditions and develop concepts; while there are others, the majority, who are limited to creating outputs. The majority needs the former as guides, but the former can and want (due to self-interest) not only to lead but also to dominate.
2. A concept opposing the division between employees and entrepreneurs is necessary.
We should reduce the radical division between employees/workers and executives/owners. Both notions contain something offensive, because they imply a hierarchical relationship: some give work while others receive it.
Among all the arguments of our theory, none contradicts the thesis that the ideal enterprise should be composed only of entrepreneurs, in other words, of individuals who understand the properties and activities of their production and know how to use this production, thereby developing themselves as human beings (MARX). Naturally, the inequalities in achieving a good life will then not disappear in totality. However, this is a goal toward which the community can orient its economic organization.
3. A program is needed to address the isolation of producers from consumers.
A concept must also be developed that attempts to eradicate the isolation of producers and consumers and that increases the possibilities for justified action. Until this becomes a goal, economic science can maintain as a basic perspective - in a society that seeks to increase the assurance of existence and equal rights - that the only reason for the market is for consumers to obtain the maximum benefit and producers the maximum earnings (SIEBERT 1989). In this case, both producers and consumers act guided only by self-interest rather than as individuals who are concerned with others' good living.
In general, we can say that the producer and the consumer have fulfilled the demands of justified action when both are satisfied with the exchange. If this is not accepted as a basic criterion in economic theory, then the model is not oriented towards good living for all. Reciprocal exploitation, inherent in a market economy, is - to repeat - simply the logical consequence of the selfish goal of producers to obtain maximum earnings and that of consumers to buy under the most favorable conditions.
4. The equal rights of future generations do not receive enough attention.
In the original conception of the social market economy by MÜLLER-ARMACK, the idea of equal rights is limited to present-day producers and consumers. But future generations have the same right to control current consumption of the limited resources. The Categorical Imperative of KANT is valid not only at every place but at every time. This does not mean we have to rename the social market economy as "ecological market economy", since the social aspect therefore includes the future. Because the social market economy is a dynamic conception, we can and have to include consciously the future-oriented perspective.
5. The social market economy is understood as a national concept.
National economies have the selfish goal of importing low-cost products and exporting their own products at high costs. These economies cannot successfully respond to the growing universal problems of migration to richer countries, deterioration of the environment, climatic changes as well as scarcity of water and food.
The national economy of an industrialized country, in which wages still more or less permit the assurance and expansion of existence, will take advantage of less-developed economies, in which wages barely cover the needs to assure existence. A highly industrialized country takes advantage of the cheap manual labor of these countries to obtain the products it needs. Even a social market economy, if it considers only national borders and is exclusively oriented towards the good living of its members, will justify the development and promotion of concepts that attempt to take advantage of the cheap manual labor of developing countries.
These conditions are unjustifiable not only because it does not eliminate universal problems but also because it makes them worse and creates new problems due to this separation into independent national economies. A characteristic example: the owners of the surplus capital of industrialized countries can escape the necessary national taxes by depositing assets in countries without taxes. The majority of the citizens, especially blue-collar workers, have to compensate for this by paying increasingly high taxes.
There is one response to the globalization of economic problems. National social economies must be transformed into a global social market economy.
Chapter IX: Model of Life and Life Technique.
Looking back and summarizing we conclude that we have built a theory of life technique, which means that this theory is not an arbitrary one but a system of thoughts conscious of human life.
We learn from KANT that the human spirit, as reason, is not only capable of analyzing the realities of life, as DARWIN did, but also of going beyond that stage to create the concepts of a better living. Man, guided by reason, is able to find and realize a better life than animals or plants - a life formed in individuality but at the same time protected in the community, because in the human world it is not necessary that the strong dominate the weak, but that equal rights guide interactions.
If we consider the theory of life technique in its entirety, as a system of contents and forms, then we recognize that it is the task of methods to change the contents of the elements of life structure, and thus of life concept, to lead to a good life common to all.
What is the structure of the elements? We have to differentiate between (a) the conditions nature imposes on us and (b) the agreements between the individuals as part of the community.
A. The invariable conditions imposed by nature
A theory that has the goal of ordering and configuring reality and human possibilities must accept the invariable conditions of human life imposed by nature.
An individual is the result of natural evolution. His life is limited. He lives in a world of scarce resources and behaves according to his self-interest. His conduct is therefore oriented towards achieving goals. He aims to assure or expand his existence, taking into account that the conditions of life act in either an additive or a dialectic fashion.
The individual and his environment form a system, the world of life, whose processes are characterized by their reciprocal effects. Existential functions structure each world of life.
Through his intellectual capacity, an individual can modify his environment and own nature, but given that his knowledge is relative and limited, approximations characterize reality and theories of action.
An action has six steps, three of which have the function of recognizing (goal, analysis, conception) and three of modifying (organization, realization, evaluation).
Internal action creates and uses knowledge in the form of arguments, which are processes in which both the properties and activities of corporeality and reason intervene.
An individual prepares, controls and evaluates external action, which in turn has repercussions on his internal action.
External action encompasses communication, production and consumption. Communication creates and exchanges knowledge, production manufactures material goods and consumption uses them.
The receiver is an action-system, behavioral-system, organic-system, or inorganic-system.
The communication type is a symmetrical argumentation between action-systems or construction or reconstruction.
The production types are physical techniques or chemical modifications.
B. The Variable Agreements Imposed by Human Society
Not all necessary knowledge is to be acquired through observation of nature and by complying with nature. Equal rights, a human invention, are opposed to the laws of nature. To impose such standards, we need agreements between the individuals, between the institutions and societies.
When discussing these agreements, which exist in the form of customs, laws and treaties, we will limit ourselves here to the principles that could be the moral basis of good living for all in all places at all times. The principles of assurance of existence and equal rights determine what is morally justified.
If we analyze the conditions imposed by nature and human ethical and moral agreements comprehensively, we acknowledge that we will never live in harmony with nature because the strong dominate the weak and death awaits all living things. Nevertheless, we can aspire to the goal that no individual will live worse than necessary and die before their time.
The General Structure
In summary: Each problem is an alteration in the system of forces that the individual forms in himself and with his environment. Therefore, the agent must identify all the forces that (by being activated or eliminated) can resolve the problem, by content or by form.
Content encompasses the models life structure and life concept, and form the models self-advice, argumentative communication, and production or consumption.
FIGURE 7: STRUCTURE AND ELEMENTS OF LIFE TECHNIQUE
The models of form are oriented towards the six steps of action. We begin by clarifying the goal (recognition of the goal). We then classify the conditions as favorable or unfavorable (analysis) and ultimately reach the concept of the solution in the form of a maxim (conception). To achieve the maxim, we organize the conditions necessary (organization), activate the forces that lead to the solution (realization) and we appraise, maintain and expand the result (evaluation). GACORE forms this model of steps.
Self-advice is the competence of the agent themself, and refers to their internal argumentation. Therefore, it is characterized as a perfect symmetrical argumentation and the agent uses so-called pure argumentation. But if the communication is directed towards other people, we have to distinguish between action systems and behavioral systems to employ the corresponding types of communication and method.
If the goal is to produce goods, we subdivide the environment into organic and inorganic nature, meaning into the organic system and inorganic system. The corresponding types of production are the spatial modification and the material modification. The spatial modification has physical techniques as methods, the material modification has chemical ones.
Essential is the awareness that an individual who argues about the contents and methods of an element is stimulated to consider the other elements of life structure and take them into account. An appraisal of an element has to consider whole-life structure.
The model of life technique not only demonstrates its force in practical life but also in the theoretical, in the sciences. With the aid of the six steps, we can order and appraise theoretical knowledge, asking for example: Does this theory try to describe the reality only (analysis), or does this theory try to change the reality too?
The model helps to uncover the existential importance of all systems of forces and so provides the criteria for each individual to choose, according to his justified life concept, between the possibilities and restrictions of the social systems. That decreases all superfluous external power. It strengthens the individual to follow his justified maxims. In the whole of society, this individual will be a positive element. And this is the essential, fundamental intention of the model of life technique.
Chapter X: Some Applications of the Life Technique
We define conduct as an action if it is based on arguments. Actions are possible only for man, animals and plants. If we were to make contact at some time with extraterrestrial beings, they would have the same rights as human beings if they were open to arguments. We do not know our own galaxy sufficiently well to determine the presence of such life, and there are more than a billion galaxies. Is there a paradise somewhere?
For enlightened religions, ignorance, which of its very nature is true for atheists too, means that a second focus should be on moral education. This means on the equality of all men, and on helping to making a good life on Earth to be a force against material and intellectual poverty.
From that ignorance it also follows that religions that claim to be in sole possession of the absolute truth persecute or murder people of a different faith, and are invincibly opposed to a theory of life technique that has as its goal a good life for all. That is true, for example, of the persecution of Christians by Jews in the late Persian Empire, and for the incomprehensible murder of Jews by Christians in the Second World War.
Human truth exists only relative to the human being, which must distinguish a philosophy today from SOCRATES, PLATO, ARISTOTLE up to KANT and HEGEL. The categorical imperative of KANT (act only in such a manner that it could be valid as a general law), which we have made easier to grasp through the principle of security of existence, makes that clear. It can in reality be an approximation to knowledge that serves man.
Ancient writings show that the fundamental right of equality was known about, but that it almost without exception contradicted the self-interest of the mighty. That is how it was expressed in 2000 BC in a Babylonian hymn: For seven days the slave woman was equal to her mistress, the slave walked with his master, in my city the mighty and the lowly slept side by side. Whether ancient Greece, where women and slaves were excluded from equality, can still be admired as the birthplace of democracy, should be reconsidered. Similar things can be said of the volks-thing of the Germanic peoples, in which only the free men were allowed to participate.
The revolutionary significance of the categorical imperative lies in that very point, the right to a good life on the basis of equality. That makes it a measure independent of time, valid in the past (the “great men” Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon are to be evaluated as power hungry, covetous, merciless mass murderers); in the present (the life of a person has the same value everywhere, whether on the Nile or the Thames); and in the future. Unexplainable, except as pure self-interest of some: a government decides on war against a despot ruling his helpless people, and then the war costs an unforeseeable number of lives among this helpless people.
Among the essential characteristics of evolution is that everything living must be self-interested in order to preserve itself and to be able to pass on its genetic material. That is valid for human beings too, though they are from birth dependent for those purposes on the community. Since both of those things are characteristic of man, self-interest has to be a basic problem given by nature within the community.
If self-interest is inherited as a core of the human being, it is different with equality. In today’s Iraq, over 4,000 years ago, the ruler was Urukagina, an early social reformer. He called himself the protector of widows and orphans, and he forbade exploitation of the poor by the rich. Our finding: morality, as respect for equality in the claim to a good life, is not inherited. It has to be handed on to every newborn. Hence the task of education arises. Its procedure is arduous (through argumentation, being a model, praise and criticism), and yet the in-born unscrupulous self-interest again and again succeeds in dominating. Education, since its content is morality, is characterized by conflicts. (It is easier to teach a moral free life technology, because this pleases the self-interest of the addressee.)
Another insight is that reality in a democracy can be only an approximation of the ideal. Not that the idea of democracy is wrong, it is based on equality, but it becomes imperfect because of citizens in their self-interest in every area. This argument can also be put forward by the models of communism and socialism. But the essential difference consists of control through free elections. Whoever – in a democracy – is elected on the basis of unfulfilled promises, which is all the easier the less educated the voters are, risks being voted out by the disappointed. You can indeed win elections with half-truths and untruths, but not rule for long with them. But being voted out is contrary to the self-interest of the person elected. So in a democracy there is an added check by the voters through the self-interest of the rulers.
If a society is democratic, that form of state has the additional task of struggling against excessive controls. Just that distinguishes democracy from dictatorships. In that we see the general problem of many developing countries. For the transition from despotic or dictatorial systems to democratic ones there is usually a lack of education among the people. Self-interest is a given as a characteristic of every corporeality; recognition of equality on the other hand is a force that arises from reason. And reason is above all a result of education.
Democracy has to come from within, it cannot be forced from outside. From within, it is a very lengthy process lasting generations, because it depends on education best achieved by small, careful steps from despotism via dictatorship to democracy. Whoever wants to impose democracy from outside by violence exposes himself to the arguments that he is either “simple-minded” or dependent on political-economic or on religious grounds.
Of the four fundamental forces (health, love, freedom, material goods) the material, whether as product or money, is particularly important for security of existence, but also for expansion of existence in all areas. So every community needs an economic system. That works best, measured against the good life, when it is based on the market economy. On the market, whether a vegetable market or a complex financial one, the self-interest of the buyer runs up against the self-interest of the vendor, so the product and its price can be negotiated.
Social Market Economy, Capitalism in the Market Economy, or Planned Economy?
What is necessary for life is the production and consumption of goods. Between them, money functions as a general means of exchange. So money comprises only a part of economic processes.
But because of its universality, money – especially paper money – can be conceived of as independent of production and consumption and accordingly be used independently – as capital. Its market, the capital market and its conception in capitalism, can therefore flourish almost apart from the state of the economy as a whole, and independently of the quality of life of the population in its majority. This proves that capitalism cannot be the justified basis and economic form of a society. It lacks the moral foundations needed to qualify as a general system according to the categorical imperative, meaning that it does not serve the good life of all citizens.
A socially directed market, on the other hand, can basically do justice to the claims of people to a good life. It encompasses as a market economy production, consumption, and also the money economy and – committed to the common good life – the solution of social problems. These are especially the security of existence of those individuals who cannot look after themselves, and who are unable to market themselves: children, the sick, the old, and those unable to work.
A social market economy is necessary for the environment too, because it regards future persons as having equal rights, and so it pays attention to sustainability. A social market economy is the best security against the risks of globalization. It aims to provide every citizen with the basic ability to be able to take care of his own security of existence and expansion of life in a flexible way. Educated in that way, the citizen is most able to do justice to his pursuit of a good life, in a global future too, through exchange of his intellectual or material production and products.
We should not overlook the fact that a social market economy is not a rigid model. Its concrete form and its possibilities are dependent on the conditions of a society. The needy can be given only what is available as superfluity, as taxes. But only the person who has more than what is necessary for the security of his own existence can pay levies and taxes. The more economically viable and the more wealthy people are, the better it is for the non-viable.
Hence the question must be asked why the development of a social market economy is even being hindered. Here too we see self-interest at work. It is obvious that capitalist enterprises, which are therefore less burdened by social levies and socially oriented legislation, have better chances of gaining high profits for their owners. And certainly, as proved by history, this is to the basic disadvantage of workers. It was not until unity was achieved in trade unions – almost two thousand years AD – that this could be changed. In addition, whoever has achieved big profits with low taxation prefers to be celebrated as a generous donor and benefactor rather than to have paid taxes to support welfare.
The planned economy, a counter-concept especially to the market economy, means the directing of the economy of a country in a centralized way and by functionaries forming a hierarchy. It is basically an ideal model with a social orientation, which in reality has to fail because of corporeality, the individual self-interest of man. Who, when there are no free elections, controls the self-interest of the controllers? Socialists confuse cause and effect when they describe the first fenced-in private property as the beginning, the cause of social inequality. Castle and key, and fence and city wall serve first of all as protection against the aggressive self-interest of others.
In our world of scarcity of many resources and of self-interest of all persons it is basically difficult for each individual to attain a good life. There will be negative consequences if we live from day to day without a plan. Whether in search for attractive jobs or an attractive partner, the advantage will come to those who fashion their present and future according to a premeditated “life concept”, a life concept by which they determine wants and needs that they pursue relentlessly.
With our life concept each of us sets the individual meaning of our life, and to a great extent we ourselves determine that. Security of existence is a given of our nature; expansion of existence on the other hand we must create ourselves. Hence in our concept of life, in the system made up by the goals of a person, both necessity and relative freedom merge.
Being pleased with achieving our own individual goals and realizing them is what makes for satisfaction and happiness. Major goals we reach step by step, as on a staircase. We are conscious that momentary happiness has its best meaning only if it constitutes a mosaic stone in the picture we are striving for of a successful life, and momentary unhappiness is easier to bear if it does not smash that mosaic.
In a world of self-interest we should not be an dependent satellite, but rather an independent “sun”. The point is not to make our good life dependent on other people, as satellites. Each of us should live his own life. However, we need partnerships and a partnership will be more stable if life structures interpenetrate, if the partners have as many common elements (forces) as possible, yet having equal rights .
Even being a “sun” was – and is – never a characteristic feature of the majority. Since the earliest times men have sought a leader, above all on the grounds of security of existence, but then he raised himself above them, made them his subjects. He expanded his own existence as an “aristocrat”, exploited them, and sent them to war and death. Napoleon is an almost incomprehensible example of this. After the hundreds of thousands of dead in the Russian campaign, whose purpose it was, as he himself said, to lift his own fame, he succeeded in a short time in winning the French people for himself again and making them enthusiastic for his wars.
Outsiders are freer and more creative (as explained in the book, through the difference between pure reason, they are socially less dependent, and more amenable to practical reason) but often endangered in their existential security (Mozart was an outsider, Haydn in the network). Members of a network support each other (security of existence) and promote each other (expansion of existence). But they also limit, because the common consent characteristically diminishes the chances of the particular and the unique (Bruckner’s friends worsened his groundbreaking symphonies).
An argument against the basic self-interest of man is the readiness of a few to risk their life for others. Why does a fireman put his life at risk? In non-human nature, this is unknown. It is basically linked with the unique intelligence of man. This enables him to feel the suffering of another living thing as his own and empathy arises from the reciprocal effect of corporeality and intelligence. It leads to the effort to try to save someone. A necessary force is the concrete perception of the person addressed. That explains why among educated, morally trained people killing is rare, while in wartime, for example, men firing cannons and bomber pilots hardly show inhibitions. On the atom bomb directed at people in Japan was written: “With love and kisses”.
The good life has as its basis corporeality, so death is waiting for all life. That shows that our world of life is not marked by an eternal cycle but by a temporal beginning and a temporal end. Points of time in the past are to be defined as systems of forces that no longer exist.
For a human being looking back, only approximations are possible. The worldwide life structures of man at any chosen point of time can be known and described only in a very abbreviated form. The limitation to what is still visibly influential today from the past is the sort of approximation of the scholarship of history.
Our knowledge is largely based on the past, but the future should be defined as a system of forces that do not yet exist. It is a part of the essence of the future that it goes beyond human power or knowledge, because the future will consist of force systems that arise not only from necessities – their results are easier to predict – but also from a share of human freedom and other unpredictable contingencies.
Between the past and the future lies the present. Since the world as a system of forces is incomprehensible for the human intellect and as well quickly changes, even the present can be defined only subjectively and relatively. The present is for a person what he himself knows and feels individually.
Evolution teaches us that that living creatures survive when they are best adapted to the conditions of their environment. The human being of today therefore has a fundamental interest in not having conditions altered in a dangerous way. Impacts on the environment are to be examined particularly critically and to be implemented only carefully. Only when the implemented means more security of existence, progress judged by the measure of the common good life, is it justified.
Environmental problems that arise due to the complex reciprocal effects of man and nature are global dangers. Depletion of raw materials and enlargement of raw materials, deforestation or intensive farming, bring not only advantages for the good life, but they also mean risks for man and animal. Industrialization brings with it existential problems if it involves pollution of the atmosphere. Chinese landing at a west-European airport in 2015 only hesitantly take off their surgical masks, wondering how they will react to unfamiliar air.
We are becoming more and more aware of the twofold relationship to animals, in particular to animals as food for human beings. Whoever lives in proximity to animals notices in them likenesses to humans. A cat lost its partner through death, and this was buried quite deep under a stone slab, imperceptibly for the cat -- or apparently imperceptibly. Days later it showed the humans what it knew. It leapt onto the slab, marked it, and started a dance never seen before. For joy, for lamentation? It could not say. However, in our world of approximations the following argument is not easy to rebut. If, according to KANT, equality is valid even for stupid humans, why should it not be valid for intelligent animals? But: man’s self-interest still rates man before everything in the world, probably now and forever more.
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MOMENTS IN THE PROCESS OF AN ACTION
Goal: Assurance and expansion of existence
xxx --------------------------------------------------> xxxx
given situation approximation goal
The goal, the given situation and the approximation constitute the moments in the process of each action. The action begins from a given situation (xxx) that includes the assurance and expansion of existence and tries to reach a goal (>), which also has a meaning (generally positive) for the assurance or expansion of existence.
The agent can only partially recognize the goal, the given situation and the means. Consequently, each realization is incomplete and all actions manage only to approximate the goal (xxxx). In other words, the results are incomplete approximations.
POSITION OF EACH FORCE ON THE CONTINUUM BETWEEN DETERMINISM AND FREE WILL
Determinism Free will
inorganic medium organic medium human corporeality practical reason pure reason
The laws of inorganic nature have no freedom. For them determinism is valid. At the other end is pure reason, thought to be absolutely free.
System Subsystem Sphere Some important elements
Culture Morality Values assurance of existence; equal rights
Knowledge Learning school; professional training
Language notions; ideas
Work profession; income
Science theories; research
Art literature; painting, music
Concepts life structure content of life
life concept goals, religion, faith
Community Norms Public laws, regulations
Private rules of behavior; manners
Interaction Society social order; economic order
Institutions family; school; enterprises; government
People relatives; colleagues; friends
Personality behavior action, communication
productive skills; consumption
Individuality characteristics, hereditary disposition; skills
Properties need impulses; self-interest
Feeling satisfaction; joy; affection; love;
Age child; young person; adult; elderly Person
Appearance clothes; makeup
Health illness; rest; death
Physical height; weight; organs; deficiencies
Activities Behave reflexes; sexuality
Perceive form, color, space, volume
Memorize perceptions; words; numbers
Move gestures; body language
Eat provisions; preparation
Organic Animals nurturing, maintenance
Inorganic Materials earth; water; air; raw materials
Products goods; houses; streets
Landscape configuration of land; climate
Life structure represents the human world as a system of forces ordered through functions (tasks) that differentiate it in the systems of culture, community, personality, corporeality and environment. Each system is structured into subsystems, spheres and its elements.
FROM A BEHAVIORAL SYSTEM TO AN ACTION SYSTEM
AGES Newborn Child Adolescent
Life structure Behavioral system for Behavioral and action Action system
(level 2) the assurance of existence system, based on supported by
free of arguments representations notions
Spheres Special behaviors Subsystems develop The spheres de-
(level 1) (reflexes): suckle, grasp, etc. through doing velop with the
observing and aid of notions
Behavior Make concrete: suckle, grasp Action based on repre- Action based on
(level 0) etc. sentations arguments
Life structure covers the world of people in its entirety (level 2). Spheres (level 1) belong to life structure and take place through concrete behaviors (level 0).
The life structure of the newborn is ordered by human evolution. The child is born with a program of behaviors oriented towards assurance of existence. However, the child has the capacity to approximate action and also to consider the expansion of life as a goal. These constitute subsystems in knowledge and thus can differentiate a feeding behavior from a hygienic one: an infant drinks a bottle of milk, but does not suck a tube of toothpaste.
The adolescent is capable of action, he can plan his behavior through arguments. They use toothpaste to clean their glasses. Their competency for action is characterized by notions, which complement reflexes and representations.
THE SIX STEPS OF AN ACTION
- GACORE MODEL -
1. EXPLANATION OF THE SIX CATEGORIES OF AN ACTION
Given situation Approximation Goal Given situation Approximation Goal
2. THE SIX CATEGORIES ARE THE SIX STEPS OF AN ACTION
G-oal > A-nalysis > C-onceptua- > O-rganisa- > R-ealization > E-valu- lization tion ation
By combining the two types of approximation (recognition and modification) with the three moments (goal, given situation, approximation) six categories result, differentiated according to their functions.
The function (task) of the category Goal consists goal recognition, which is always the beginning of an action.
After having recognized the goal it is possible to analyze the conditions that help or hinder the goal, and - based on the goal and this analysis – form a concept of modification.
The external modification begins with the organization of means, or preparing the realization of the goal. The action concludes with the evaluation.
In this manner, the names of the six categories are derived from their functions.
In summary, if the process of an action is considered, the categories are the six "steps" of an action. The first step is always the goal, the sixth and last the evaluation. The result: G-A-C-O-R-E as a model of action.
ARGUMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION AS RECIPROCAL ACTIONS AMONG INDIVIDUALS
Step 1. > 2.> 3.>4.>5.> 6.
Goal Analysis Conception Evaluation
Goal Analysis Conception Evaluation
Step 1.> 2.> 3.> 4.>5.> 6.
To resolve a problem, person A develops an argument with the help of the six steps (internal argumentation), which he communicates (external argumentation to person B, who receives it as a goal proposal for his internal argumentation. Person B then communicates his own argument (external argumentation), created in the same manner, in order to argue together in the pursuit of the solution to the problem.
STRUCTURE AND ELEMENTS OF LIFE TECHNIQUE
Action steps: 1. Goal 2. Analysis 3. Conception 4. Organization 5. Realization 6- Evaluation
For problems and their solution by action, internal changes and external changes are necessary. Characteristic of internal changes are the steps Goal, Analysis, Conception, Evaluation. Characteristic of external changes are the steps of Organization and Realization.
Principles in all steps: assurance and expansion of existence; equal rights
Every action serves to ensure or expand existence. Since every person has the right to good life, every action in pursuit of equal rights is measured.
Action types: self-advice or communication or production/consumption
We distinguish between internal and external action. Internal action takes the form of arguing with oneself as self-advice. External actions are completed in the form of communicating or producing.
Receiver types: action system or behavioral system or organic system or inorganic system
Is the action directed outwards, is its "receiver" to distinguish action systems, behavioral systems or organic and inorganic systems.
Communication types: symmetrical argumentation or construction or reconstruction
If the action is directed to people, we have to use different communication types corresponding to the communication conditions of the receiver.
Production types: physical techniques or chemical techniques
If the action is directed towards the nature, we use physical or chemical means.
Methods of communication or production:
Pure argumentation, Mutual argumentation, Additive argumentation, Models, Conditioning, Physical modification, and Chemical modification.
It is fundamental always to take into account that each method is only one element from the totality, determined by reciprocal effects. All other methods influence. Particularly successful is therefore an action that focuses on a method, but brings all other methods into play.
(The current state of development of the theory, see: www.visism.info)