(Ed. by S. Winslow)
Nikolai S. Rozov. Tsennosti v Problemnom Mire: Filosofskie Osnovaniya i Sotsialnye Prilozheniya Konstruktivnoi Aksiologii. (Values in the Problematic World: Philosophical Foundations and Social Applications of Constructive Axiology). Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk State University, 1998.
This book centers on the idea of value consciousness, a new and progressive worldview that combines tolerance for both cultural and moral diversity with a rigorous defense of cardinal values. The principles of value consciousness are applied to the most pressing, contemporary, global problems, to conflict resolution techniques, to the current difficulties in Russia’s historic period of transition and to the humanities in higher education.
Two, new trends in post-Soviet Russian philosophy are briefly outlined. The first of these is an attempt to restore the religious philosophical tradition expressed by V. Soloviev, N. Berdiaev, etc. The second trend is mainly influenced by the German and French post-modernism and hermeneutics of H. Gadamer, J. Derrida, J.-F. Lyotard, etc.
The rational and realistic philosophic tradition, still strongly associated with Marxism, has fallen out favor among Russian intellectuals. Nevertheless, the author has made another attempt in this book (after his Struktura Tsivilizatsii i Tendentsii Mirovogo Razvitiya. The Structure of Civilization and World Development Trends. Novosibirsk, 1992 and Filosofiya Gumanitarnogo Obrazovaniya. Philosophy of the Humanities. Moscow, 1993) to revive and develop the Russian branch of responsible rational philosophy in the sphere of ethics and axiology. This is undertaken in the tradition of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as well as that of Descartes, Locke and Kant, E. Durkheim, H. Rickert and M. Weber.
Part 1. Historical and
of Value Consciousness
Historical “Laws” in Worldview Development
Three main, theoretical positions exist regarding the connection between a worldview (of “spirituality” or “social consciousness”) and social life (technology, economics, politics, government). The first of these is the Plato-Hegelian position in which the spirit (or “Spirit”) completely determines social life. The second, held by K. Marx, L. White, D. Bell and M. McLuhan, asserts, contrarily that economics and technology determine worldview and social consciousness.
This book develops the third position, that social consciousness, including worldview, and various aspects of social life are the operative components mutually influencing the organic social entity as a united whole (M. Weber, E. Durkheim, B. Malinowski, A. Kroeber, T. Parsons, F. Braudel).
The task of this section is to reveal the mutual requirements and correspondence between the major worldviews and the foremost characteristics of each civilization type.
Using the methodology of ideal types (M. Weber), the deep, internal correspondence between sociocultural epochs and an historical period’s paradigmatic worldview is debated (see table 1).
Mythological consciousness corresponds to the epoch of “mini-systems” (I. Wallerstein). The religious consciousness was the leading paradigm during the epoch of agrarian empires (“world-empires” according to I. Wallerstein). Ideological consciousness pervades the industrial epoch, that of techno-economic growth. The future now requires a new worldview as the former epoch approaches its end.
In the contemporary situation where world-wide global integration of populations, intensive cultural and cross-cultural dialogue, and the preservation of ethno-cultural and religious activity paradoxically intermingle, there exist no ideology or religion that can act as a paradigmatic vanguard leading to the permanent co-existence of diverse worldviews (see table 2).
Only value consciousness has the specific features that make it adequate for the new historical epoch.
Value Theory Premises in the Ethics
of Immanuel Kant
A brief outlook of Kant’s ethics is presented. Though values were a peripheral matter in his ethical theory Kant’s creation of the a priori method and his discoveries in the realm of transcendental truths and ideal goals later became the basis for the classical value theory (axiology) of R. Lotze, W. Windelband, H. Rickert, M. Scheler and N. Hartman.
Some parallels between the philosophical role of Socrates and Kant are considered. The thought of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle dominated philosophy for two thousands years. Even though there are certain reasons that point to a similar destiny for Kant’s ethical thinking, the classical axiology has endured theoretical crisis and critique and must be reestimated and transformed. This is the reason for its’ main premises in Kant’s ethics, which are analysed in detail.
The analysis shows that three main premises of Kant’s philosophy, his undiscussed “game rules”, include:
a) total universality of transcendental truths and laws of Mind,
b) their eternity or timelessness,
c) complete autonomy of Reason (and all its correspondent structures such as laws of Reason and Will, ideal goals, imperatives, etc.).
Two hundred years of intellectual history do not allow us to accept these philosophical “game rules”. Three opposing premises that develop the ideas of K. Marx, M. Weber, B. Malinowski and A. Kroeber are suggested:
a) sociocultural specifics instead of total universality,
b) historicity of thinking, truthes and values instead of timelessness,
c) the functionality of cultural structures including thinking and values instead of absolute autonomy of Reason.
These new premises form the basis of a new, constructive axiology as a theoretical support for value consciousness. This is a new branch in the development of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy.
Value Consciousness and the Main Directions
of European Ethics
This section follows the analytical structure of the book by Franz von Kutschera “Grandlagen der Ethik” (Berlin, 1982). The task is to ensure that the principles of value consciousness obtain the sufficient breadth and flexibility necessary for assimilation to, communication and comprehension of the major trends in European ethical thought.
According to the classification of F. von Kutschera, subjectivist and objectivist, monistic and pluralistic theories, utilitarian, aprioristic, empirical, rational and some other ethical directions are analyzed.
This analysis makes the following conclusions:
— Every key idea and concept in European ethics can be described in the language of values. In fact, various ethical theories can be imagined as different lands or continents in the wide world of value consciousness.
— The logic of normative (including value) propositions is quite different from the logic of descriptive propositions, the first always have some unprovable normative premises, possibly conditional, which correspond to a definite human community; that’s why it is not correct to consider values “in general” as classical axiology does; values are inseparable from the communities of those who subscribe to them.
— At the same time some values are objective, not in the sense of independent existence from people, but in the sense of cardinal significance to the people who subscribe to them in order to survive and preserve their life style.
— The value approach permits the rational research of the very basis of each ethical theory in order to reveal the field of their valid claims and invalid pretensions.
Values in Modern Ethics
The contemporary, Kantian ethical conceptions of J. Habermas, V. Hosle and F. von Kutschera are analyzed from the viepoint of value consciousness. Many of their arguments are assimilated to an ethical conception of value consciousness. Others are criticized, limited or declined.
As a result of Part I of the book, the following features of the ethics of value consciousness are suggested:
— A breadth and tolerance for cultural, moral and religious diversity.
— A valid defense of those values which, having been accepted by communities or individuals, provide security and possibilities for the realization of any value system for themselves and their surroundings.
— “Conceptual polyglotia” as an ability of communities with different mental, intellectual, moral styles to communicate effectively with each other.
— The permission and possibility of compromises that would defend members of a community from accusations of apostasy and treachery.
The main thesis is that only a diversity of autonomous, normative foundations (i.e. values) for the human mind and behavior can provide the basis for new ethics which would include the above mentioned conditions.
IN THE WORLD OF PROBLEMS AND CONFLICTS
Constructive Axiology and Values
of General Significance
(This Section partly reproduces Sections 5 and 7 of Philosophy of the Humanities). A constructive axiology based on the idea of rational value innovations is suggested as an alternative approach to classical axiology.
The genesis of constructive axiology can be found in the works of Friedrich Nietzche who said, “Real philosophers create new values.” In fact the contemporary direction of constructive axiology was initiated by the first works of the Club of Rome (A. Peccei, J. Forrester and E. Laszlo) when the task of rationally correcting human values was assigned according to the challenges of emerging global problems.
Almost every community whether religious, ideological or national tries to affirm its values as those which are unique and universal. In this situation the real problem is determining, by revelation or creation, the values that are necessary for basic societal functions and productive interaction between permanently different cultures and social groups.
A principle distinction is made between “universal values” (eternal and absolute ideas) and “the values of general significance”, obscheznatchimye tsennosti, which are:
1) accepted by a partiqular community,
2) accepted as necessary for the basic social and cultural functions of this community,
3) amenable to expansion beyond the community to the nation or humanity as a whole, these values being harmless to the other values, principles, sacred things and symbolism of varying cultures and social groups.
Universal values are the main subject for the classical axiology (see W. Windelband, H. Rickert, M. Scheler, N. Hartman). Values of general significance (VGS) are the main subject of constructive axiology and the ethics of value consciousness.
VGS are determined using the aid of “the generalization postulate” and the a priori method. VGS include cardinal values (basic human rights) and subcardinal values (political, legal, economic, ecological and other values whose support is necessary for the realization of cardinal values).
All values that are not cardinal or subcardinal hold the status of ethos values. In the framework of each community ethos values may be considered as “supreme”, “universal”, or “central” but it is not obligatory for other communities to regard them as such. The majority of cultural, moral, religious, aesthetic, or consumptive values have the status of ethos values.
and Value Consciousness
A new version of the sustainable development concept is suggested and explicated in detail. It contains:
a) A systemic view of the development of social functions, social techniques and sociocultural mechanisms;
b) Mutual supplementation of life conditions between individuals and communities of the current and successive generations;
c) A priority in caring for the poorest parts of global mankind.
The three main, contemporary megatrends (see Section 1.1, table 2) are considered from this view-point.
From this ethical and theoretical basis contemporary problems like hunger, poverty, natural and technogenic disasters, national conflicts and wars, and the dangers of mass culture are considered. The general directions for solving these problems are suggested from the viewpoint of ideas for sustainable development and value consciousness.
The Value Approach
to Resource Conflict Resolution
The task is to reveal the essence of modern international conflicts and to elaborate a method of conflict resolution based upon the premises of value consciousness and values of general significance.
The main thesis is that the core of all serious, long-lasting conflicts is the control of cultural and natural resources of territorial, informational, political and economic power as well as those of social and cultural influence. Human history flows within the changing channels of international conflicts, primarily territorial, which manifest themselves as wars and rebellions.
The main geopolitical, demographical and ecological factors in future international conflicts are presented. The inevitable prospect for the future is the globalization of conflicts. Whether emerging conflicts lead to new bloody wars or are resolved peacefully and fairly will depend on people.
The “fair negotiations” approach of Fisher and Youri is used as a starting point. This is quite a strong approach when provided by some kind of objective criteria for negotiation — but the majority of modern, international conflicts lack these criteria. The idea behind this new approach is to provide each negotiation with a method of elaborating these criteria on the basis of values of general significance (VGS, see Section 2.1). The corresponding technique of conflict resolution is suggested.
It contains the following phases.
Phase 1. Attainment of agreement to fulfill evident legal requirements.
Phase 2. Attainment of agreement to defend VGS regardless of consequent decisions.
Phase 3. Acknowledgement of the significance of the values and interests of each party involved.
Phase 4. A widening of the foundations and resources concerning the conflict.
Phase 5. Devision of positions’ foundations; attainment and realization of agreements concerning compatible and generally significant foundations.
Phase 6. Determination of common foundations in divisions of disputable resources.
Phase 7. Elaboration of the decision making and resource distribution principles. Working out the text of agreement and the program of realization.
The end of the section includes a consideration of the principle functions for the discovery and early prevention of international conflicts. These functions, new for civilization, must be realized by special regional centers organized by international communities.
Requirements for the Social Sciences
and the Humanities in Modern Higher Education
The Humanities and Social Sciences play an extraordinary role in the development and spread of value consciousness. The problem is providing common educational requirements suited to the challenges of modernity. At the same time, the academic freedom and diversity of different national and local educational systems should be upheld and respected.
A systematic structure of educational requirements is proposed. International and federal requirements for Russia would be based on the principles of value consciousness (see Sections 1.1-1.4), the cardinal and subcardinal values (Section 2.1) and the specific educational values of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Philosophy of the Humanities. Moscow, 1993).
A general form of university requirements, suggested in the text, is compatible to a variety of local educational policies and university freedoms. The principle subjects and intellectual abilities are structured in following spheres:
Nature and Civilization (Philosophy of Nature, Ecology, History and Philosophy of Technology, Futurology),
Society (Social Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Law, Social History, Sociology and Social Psychology),
Man and the Humanities (Anthropology, Ethics, History of Morals and Religion, Literature, Psychology),
Aesthetics and Design, Home Economics, Recreation.
* * *
Why, after analysing abstract, ethical questions, global problems and international conflicts, would this book conclude with a detailed elaboration of educational requirements?
We are now entering the twenty-first century and the third millenium. The images of the future will be defined by the people of the future, by their aspirations, values and worldviews. This world of ideas and interests, on the horizon of the third millenium, to a large degree depends on today’s international and national politics in the sphere of education. Social and humanitarian education is the bridge which should guide the ideas of value consciousness into the future.
It is really doubtful that values exist in a “supralunar” world as philosophy has dreamed since the time of Plato. It is more likely that values are born and live in our “sublunar”, human world; full of problems, suffering and hostility. But this does not prevent values from serving people in all cultures by their own lodestars and from giving people the joy of understanding and supporting each other.
It is of vital importance that the coming generations which are left to live in the third millenium do not lose this legacy.
THE THIRD WAY
Papers on the Current Situation
in Russia and in the World)
The problem of private property is one of the crucial points of Megatrend III “Changing the Direction of Techno-Economic Development and Multipolar Partnership” (see Section 1.1, table 2 of this book and Chapter 4 of the book The Structure of Civilization and World Development Trends, Novosibirsk, 1992).
Neocommunist ideology in Russia uses global ecological problems and the necessity of transferring modern technology from rich to poor countries as arguments against private property. This ideology tries to prove that the very principle of private property is the most significant barrier to global sustainable development.
In the first paper this argument is compared with Marx’s thesis about private property as a crucial obstacle to the humanistic social development of humanity.
The successful western resolution to this problem has included strict laws against worker exploitation as well as strong social programs. On the other hand, socialism in USSR and its satellites, which abolished private property on the finest humanistic principles, has recently crashed.
This analogy allows the defense of private and cooperative property, independent from the state, within the context of the global problematique. At the same time, it is evident that the modern world needs a new level of international law (legal order) which effectively supports humanistic and ecological values. This new order must be directed toward making the current practice of post-colonialism unprofitable.
The most powerful political and economic forces in the modern world have no interest in such a new, global legal system. Only a new demographic, migratory and military crisis can melt this icey apathy and counterproductivity. It’s high time to prepare a legal, intellectual, moral and educational basis for future changes.
Alternatives for Russia correspond with three Megatrends:
Growth and Assimilation”
“Interior Repression and
“A Change in the
and Multipolar Partnership”
Libertarian Development with a primacy of MONEY and a plutocratic bourgeoisie.Transformation of Russia into a large colony for the West and Japan.
Return to socialism and totalitarianism including a primacy
of POWER and a neocommunist bureau-
cracy. A nationalistic ideology of empire and an official state religion. Construction of a new barrier between Russia and the world community.
The primacy of LAW and a responsible middle class. The growth of a market economy within the strong socially oriented legal order. The rebirth of Russia as a pole of cultural, political, economic and technological influence.
the second paper
This paper is an attempt to elaborate on some general points in Russia’s social and economic development according to the direction taken by Megatrend III (see above).
The following crucial problems of the modern social and economic situation in Russia are discussed.
1. An enormous part of the Russian population is still completely dependent on the central state budget.
2. Adhesion to administrative and subsidial state dependency by a majority of country’s economic units. A mass rejection of full economic independence and responsibility.
3. The lack of an appropriate legal and mental atmosphere for the growth of socially oriented economics independent from the state budget.
The abstract, systemic solution to these problems is to create and expand the conditions for the genesis and growth of new, socio-economic mechanisms. These mechanisms must both resolve problems 1-3 as well as coexist with outmoded forms by gradually and nonviolently assimilating them according to their efficiency and usefulness to the community.
The longtime state strategy of enforcing tougher policies in dealing with economically irresponsible organizations is proposed. It should be more profitable to become completely independent from the state budget. Now, the situation in Russia is just the opposite. It is more profitable to gain cheap credits and subsidies from the state budget and then to put this money into trivial, commercial circulation.
Two economic booms are necessary for Russia today, in housing construction and in the food industry. This thesis is argued in detail. The necessary conditions for these booms are listed. The most important and radical is the legal emancipation of housing construction and food production from all taxation for 7-10 years.
The central and local bureaucracies are powerful enough to delay and stop this kind of reform. Thus, a special approach to balance this counteraction is considered. The idea is to radically change the very principle of an official’s work and status. New evaluational criteria should change the professional motivation of bureaucracy.
The paper concludes with the following confession: the hope of realizing the suggested approaches seems completely absurd. There is a storm of unfavorable factors raging on a sea of unfavorable conditions. But this absurd idea of free and responsible economics in Russia can be compared with the no less absurd idea of “eleuteria” (freedom) and “democracy” in Ancient Greece, born and realized in a world of total despotism and slavery.
the third paper
A Russian proverb says, “The map is smooth but the real ravines have been forgotten.” The ravines on the way to a free, blossoming Russian economy are understood as some of the stereotypical features of Russian political and legal order and mentality.
The archetype of Russian political power originated in the time when Russian princes received special labels called “jarlyki” from the Tatar Golden horde. These “jarlyki” allowed the princes to levy tribute from the Russian people. History shows that the Christian princes were no less malicious or greedy to Christian peasants than the non-Christian Tatar “baskaki”, who collected tribute before them.
Many centuries have passed and many political forms have been changed, but the rift of mutual distrust and irresponsibility between the Russian power apparatus and the common people remain up to this day.
A related feature in the Russian mentality is the constant preference of power over the principle of law. The principles of paternalism, power, and traditionalism are typical for all Asiatic cultures (China, Japan, India and Islamic countries). The trouble with Russia is that this feature is not balanced by the paternalist responsibility of the upper classes as with other such cultural types. Analogies and differences of this kind lead us to the conclusion that Russian power can be limited and forced to become responsible only by formal laws strongly supported by the intelligentsia and the masses.
The idea of a special appendix to the Russian Constitution, “The Bill of Economic Rights” is suggested. This document would defend private property and cooperative property from the traditional state violence and expropriation.
A law means nothing unless the people are legally conscious. The possibilities of transforming traditional Russian disrespect for laws are considered.
German de-Nazification after World War II and the proclamation of the priority of personal dignity and human rights in post-war Germany can act as a suitable pattern for Russia. Personal dignity should become the most significant value in modern Russia because:
a) it balances out the loss of Russia’s status as empire.
b) it logically leads to the legal and economic guarantees of personal dignity. A new meaning is proposed for the traditional concept of dignity, supporting a family and service to the fatherland.
The growth of free economics, an independent middle class, and legal consciousness in Russia will allow her people to look at the further horizons of national development. Russia’s unique geographical position between Europe, the Islamic world, India, China, Japan and the emerging Eastern Asiatic “dragons”, provides her with magnificent prospects for future geo-economical, and peaceful geopolitical, roles.
Russia can become a vast colony with cheap natural resources for the West, her people humiliated and embittered; or Russia can again become a totalitarian, militarized empire occluded from the world community...
Or, Russia can become a free and blossoming civilization growing on the crossroads of a new world of peaceful change and cultural communication.
Any one of these three alternatives is now possible. Do we depend on them, or they on us?
The correspondence between the Types
of Historical Systems and Worldview
Contemporary Megatrends, Mentality and Images of the Future