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					AN EMERGENT THEORY OF ETHICAL BEHAVIOR BASED UPON AN EPIGENETIC MODEL Clare W. Graves There is no pretension, on my part, that the mode to be utilized in this paper or the theory to be presented is THE MODEL or THE THEORY OF ethical behavior. The model and the theory represent in my mind principles upon which we may open the way for more systematic investigation of ethical behavior than has been allowed by models and theories previously developed. However, it should be said that there is behind the thoughts in this paper the firm belief that somewhere within the boundaries delineated will arise insights closer to the truth of what ethical behavior is and is like than have been provided by models or theories previously presented. This paper will lift the concept of epigenesis from embryology and will apply it to the field of ethics. The theory will be derived from the organismic point of view of Rousseau, Smuts, Schweitzer, Lecky, Goldstein, Maslow, et. al. These will be reinterpreted within Krech’s concept of Dynamic Neurological Systems and the General Systems point of view of Bertalanffy. The paper will proceed as follows: First, I shall express the reasons why a different model and a different theory are needed. Then, I will defend this position by a limited examination of existing models and existing theories. Next, from the examination of models previously used and theories previously expressed I shall derive the criteria which must be met by a more adequate theory of ethical behavior. And in turn, I will present more details as to my theoretical position, why this position is taken, my basic assumptions, how I am attempting to conceive of ethical behavior, the proposed model for representing ethical behavior and the proposed theory of ethical behavior. A subsequent paper will present the author’s speculations as to the nature of the emergent ethical systems hypothesized therein. First, let us see why new models are needed. ". . . if we demand that the study of human morals be a closely integrated synthesis of empirical data with a rigorous theory underlying it, then we have not taken the first step toward a science of character (1, p. 410)." ". . . if we are to solve the problems of peace and war between alliances, ideologies, nations, labor and management; if we are to solve the problems of race relations, character development, crime and the like, we must recognize that they will be solved only by the decisions of individuals and only if the decisions are based on substantive knowledge and only if the individuals who make such decisions are ethically sensitive and ethically mature (2, p )." (Slightly modified by the writer).

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These words of Bonner and the World Book of encyclopedia indicates two reasons why we need additional theories of ethical behavior based upon different models. (In a subsequent paper describing the theorized ethical systems other reasons will be discussed). First, as Bonner says, we do not have a basic scientific knowledge of ethics and second, as the other words say, we can’t make inroads into ethical problems because we lack the knowledge necessary to solve such problems. Some will disagree with these points because they do not believe our problem is to find what ethical behavior is like. These people believe our problem is to learn how to develop the ethically sensitive and ethically mature decision maker. There is no doubt that many people assume that they know what ethical behavior is and it is true that these people are trying to produce what they consider to be the ethically mature decision maker. Some, like Blatz ( ), see values as arbitrarily determined by the older generation and see the task for those wishing to produce ethically mature decision makers to consist of choosing the desired set of values, then setting out relentlessly to stamp them in. Others such as Ligon and his co-workers take a more cautious approach. They have subscribed to a set of ethical values which they believe if incorporated would produce the ethically mature and ethically sensitive human being. Unlike those who try to relentlessly stamp in prescribed values the Character Research Project is carefully attempting to determine how to gradually develop the so called embryonic and fetal conditions and attitudes which would lead eventually to the mature ethical values of the ethically sensitive decision makers. Perhaps ethical values are not arbitrarily determined. Perhaps we are wrong when we say the Communists are unethical. Perhaps we don’t have the knowledge necessary to understand their ethical systems. Perhaps we could handle our problems with them better if we understood their ethics. Perhaps we could make more progress in many areas if we sought knowledge of what ethical behavior is like rather than continue to operate within what may be false premises. There are those who will say that these arguments are ridiculous and this they will support by pointing to the libraries laden down with tomes on ethics. Surely, one must agree, that there is no shortage of information as to what people feel is ethical behavior or feel about ethical behavior, but one must ask how much of this information is more than argument, opinion or just a priority presumptive? An examination of this literature supported Bonner’s statement that there is a dearth of information about ethical behavior which is based upon systematic research. And an investigation of this material suggested five reasons why systematic research based information is scarce. 1. 2. Many believe ethical behavior cannot or should not be explored scientifically. For some reasons investigators have chosen to study limited aspects of ethical behavior.

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Some believe, as just noted, that they know what is ethical behavior and thus believe that the only task in ethics is to learn how to produce the ethically mature person. Most theories presented are not open to systematic testing or even to systematic comparison. Models which exist restrict full and broad, let the chips fall where they may, types of investigation.



For centuries many have believed that ethical behavior is not open to scientific investigation. This belief exists today and even in the most fertile of scientific minds. Ethical behavior is and has been to many a "verboten" scientific area because these people place it beyond the realm of man and in the realm of metaphysics or the realm of God. This position was well represented recently when a physicist friend of mine asked: "Are you certain this is a proper field of study for psychologists? Are you not invading God’s realm?" To this a psychologist has but one answer. Psychologists study behavior and one form of behavior is ethical behavior. Much of the research that has been done has been limited to narrow regions of ethical behavior. One thinks, herein, of the Hartshone-May "Studies in Deceit" and the work of Piaget. Other research work has been directed toward uncovering the principles for developing, from a priori assumptions the ethically mature person. Again we point out that Ligon’s Union College Character Research Project is representative of the latter type of research. These, and other not mentioned studies, suggest that investigators have been either disinterested in broad systematic explorations of ethical behavior or have been, for some reasons, unwilling, unable, or reluctant to design broad studies which would allow the facts regarding ethical behavior to fall where they may. There are so many diverse theories of ethical behavior that it is doubtful if anyone can bring order to all that have been presented. Yet, if we are to learn from them so as to develop more adequate models, more representative theories, some order has to be impressed on them. The criterion chosen for ordering is dissimilarity, a criterion which when applied parcels out at least four kinds of markedly dissimilar theories. Single Principle Ethical Theorists Each of these theorists formulates his principle of morality and each attempts to distinguish between right and wrong with reference to that principle. Those who have contributed single principle or absolutistic ethical theories are legion, to mention one would only be to slight another. In general the theorists dominated thought about ethical behavior up through the eighteenth century and also into much of the nineteenth century. The problem with the single principle theories is that they are carefully reasoned opinions but are, by and large, not open to research investigators and thus are not open to disproof. The Many Moralities Theorists The representative theorist here is of course, Nietzsche. The difference between the Nietzsche-like theorists and the single-principle theorists is clear and distinct. The many moralities theorists insist that there are many moralities which are actually mores and not morals. They are mores not moralities because they are relative to culture. But – the difference between the multiple morality theorists and the single principle theorists involve more than this one point. The multiple moralities theorists see a different approach to the problem of understanding moral behavior. Their problem is not what is the principle of

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morality, but rather, what are the answers to two questions. What is the natural history of each morality? And, are there commonalities from one set of mores or ethics to another set or mores or ethics? In a scientific sense those who share the Nietzsche position have advanced over the single principle theorists. The multiple moralities position allows for empirical findings, for the possibility of disproof and it allows the possibility of prediction. Yet, from another angle the Nietzsche-like position presents problems. It argues that moral judgments are not fact but only feelings which are in turn symptoms of most valuable facts concerning cultures. This position may lead and mislead at one and the same time. The many moralities theorists see that ethics are symptomatic but they may lead us to the wrong conclusion as to what it is they are symptomatic of. Furthermore, these theorists have not gone on to design models consistent with their position; they have not gone on to draw hypotheses which could stem from such a model; they have not gone on to extensively test their hypothesized position and they have not gone on to reconstruct their theory as new evidence has come to be. Drop Moral Philosophy and Develop Moral Science Theorists The primary proponents of this point of view are the pragmatists with John Dewey, of course, the representative contributor. Dewey’s position is, beyond question, different from the single principle theorists: "Why have men become so attached to fixed, external ends?" he asked and he saw this reliance on the idea of fixed ends as the common element in most ethical theories and he criticized it strongly. He related how each theorist in his quest for certainty had been "hypnotized" by the notion that the business of ethics is to discover some final end or basic good or some ultimate and supreme law. Dewey argues also for a change to the modern scientific theory of nature. He expressed a desire to see moral philosophy become moral science, a body of knowledge consisting of testable hypotheses as to what is good for man, and he asked that this knowledge be open to continuous revision. Moral science would then be directed toward what is good for man, namely, his social welfare. But here we see our problem with the pragmatists. What is good for man? What is good for his welfare? Dewey and the pragmatists leave such unanswered and at this point the Emotivists enter. The Twentieth Century Emotivists Ethical emotivism claims that moral judgments are meaningless and should be viewed as neither true or false. Ethical judgments express one’s feelings about what is right and wrong, but ethical judgments do not tell in any way what is right and what is wrong. It is with the latter point, of the Emotivists that one takes exception, though one must point out the criticism may be unfair. It is made not because it is an established valid criticism but because it enables one to make a point concerning what those who develop models of ethical behavior must keep in mind. Let us grant that ethical judgments in no way tell us what is right or what is wrong. This seems obvious but this is not the point. The point is that if we develop models which enable us to explore what people judge as right and wrong, what people make what particular judgments, the circumstances under which they make them, the conditions which accompany change in judgments as to right and wrong, etc., we may find that "integrated synthesis of

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empirical data" and that "rigorous theory underlying it" which Bonner says is needed before we are to have that "science of character" he and Allport among others, see so needed. Actually I do not believe that Emotivists will disagree with what has just been said. On the contrary, it is probable that they do agree and that they have taken their position to indicate a need. They may be indicating that no theory of ethical behavior can have substance which does not consider their point of view and that no research model can provide adequate research projects which is not an inclusive model or in the words of Bronner: “These widely used models do not convincingly represent man’s moral nature for they either neglect or do not pretend to account for man’s future oriented behavior. “(1,p. ) These widely used models are: The Mechanical Model, The Phylogenetic Model, and The Genetic Model.

The Mechanical Model sees ethical behavior as derived from and determined by the outer power utilizing reward, punishment and the principle of reinforcement. Good moral behavior results from stamped in habit patterns developed by repeated reward. Bad moral behavior results from failure to reward properly or punish adequately. It is an external model which in no ways accounts for ethical acts that occur without reward. And this Mechanical Model excludes the self-concept or inner urgencies as playing any part in ethical behavior. The Phylogenetic Model sees ethical behavior as bringing together certain needs in the self and certain socially acceptable actions. Primary drives are converted into, let us say, secondary moral drives. Needs become connected to socially accepted forms of behavior. This model allows some room for man to be expressive, but it is weak because it is harnessed, not released moral expressiveness. The Genetic Model, following its psychoanalytic parent, sees moral behavior arising from infantile and childhood experiences. The problem of producing moral behavior is the problem of sublimating man’s animalism into ethical behavior. It sees man only as another animal and sees man as one which is fundamentally more similar rather than less similar to other animals. Such a position may be correct, but certainly Woodworth’s principle of behavior primacy over need primacy and Krech and Crutchfield’s concepts of deficiency and abundancy motivation challenge the orthodox psychoanalytic genetic model. So too, do the concepts expressed in the contributions of Lecky, Goldstein, Jung, Maslow, and by no means let us not forget MacDougall’s instinct and Allport’s "Becoming." Allport in his writings on "Becoming" and Bonner (1, p. 409) in his "Psychology of Personality" offer, a fourth model, The Intentional Model, as a more appropriate explanation of ethical behavior. The Intentional Model says: "In moral choices and discriminations we do not always act on the basis of social concern, but on the basis of the capacity to foresee the consequences of our own acts. The more mature a

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person’s moral acts, the more he moves on a plane of future orientation. Moral habits are not mechanical responses merely, nor are they largely instrumentalities for the satisfaction of needs; they are both. But we cannot rest the case of ethical discrimination on the impelling force of habit, either instrumental or socially driven. The moral conscience of man is unique in being basically self-propelled." The Intentional Model seems to explain some aspects of morality better than do other models, but there may be two problems inherent in it. First, will the research data existing today support that "the moral conscience of ALL men is unique in being basically self-propelled?" This criticism may be unfair because the quotation above does recognize morality as partially derived from "habit" and as partially "instrumentalities for the satisfaction of needs." But, one must ask: Does this model recognize that moralities may be also reaction formation transformation of some tendencies? Another criticism of The Intentional Model is less a criticism and more an extension of the model as I understand it. It does not appear that The Intentional Model, as it has been presented, spells out how morality ay change in a systematic way as man’s intentions systematically reorganize. Certainly both Allport and Bonner, in other writings, recognize, possibly more than anyone else, that today’s motivations are not just a new reenactment of an old theme. However, it seems that they do not include development directionality in these changes. The following problem with The Intentional Model may be more crucial, but, again, one cannot be certain that the criticism to follow is just. It is difficult to ascertain how the following statement of Bonner (1, p. 409) should be interpreted when one looks at the behavior of Castro and the condemning behavior of the leaders of the United States. Bonner says: "A times comes in the life of every individual when his image of himself is a more powerful determinant of his moral actions than the threatening admonitions of parent, teacher, clergyman, or politician." And one might add the threatening admonitions of one of nation’s leaders to another nation’s leaders when the former nation sees the latter nation as behaving in a morally errant fashion. Does this aspect of the The Intentional Model mean that Castro’s purging of Batistaites was moral because his image of himself as the savior of Cuba overrode the admonitions of so many? Do the proponents of the The Intentional Model recognize that if Castro were here, he would argue that his "acts were on a plane of future orientation: and that conditions were such, in Cuba, that any "future oriented" person would see that the moral thing to do, as far as the future of Cuba and Cubans is concerned, is to do what our nation’s leaders have been calling immoral. It is above all, this dilemma in The Intentional Model, plus the weakness of those other models, which lies behind my feeling that some other model of ethical behavior is needed. Some model is needed which includes those aspects of morality represented in The Mechanical, The Phylogenetic, The Genetic and The Intentional Models. A conception of ethical behavior is needed which will explain why Castro sees his actions as morally proper, and one is needed which will at the same time explain why our nation’s people and our leaders have seen just as honestly his actions as morally reprehensible.

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And may I add one thing: The conception must not be the time honored worn out and chaotic culturally relativistic explanation. The explanation must be more profound. A more adequate conception must explain how two phenomenologically different individuals, clans, societies or nations can see the same act as moral and immoral and this explanation must be better than one based on cultural differences. The question we must ask is: How can we conceive of ethical behavior so that two groups can see the same act differently without getting lost in social relativism? That is, upon which criteria can a model be based which will include at least partial solutions to the problems that have just been detailed? It appears that a more adequate theory must meet at least the following criteria. Criteria for a Model of Ethical Behavior 1. It must not concentrate on some one element and aspect of moral experience as if it alone could serve as a standard for evaluation of the rest. (p. 600) 2. An adequate theory must be truly scientific. It must seek knowledge of the thing to be known and not some other thing, the ethical behavior of man. It must not destroy moral experience in order to make it fit previously established forms of factual science and it must not set up morality s transcendent and exalted above human lives, as for example, some person’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s superman. 3. It must include all other conceptions of ethical behavior because such are some of the data regarding ethics. 4. It must include the problems of whether things are infinite or finite. 5. It must recognize that certain people do feel that there are right and wrong ways to behave. 6. It must allow one to develop, test and revise hypotheses. 7. It must enable one to describe ethical behavior in some orderly way. 8. It must allow one to systematically examine for and seek explanations for the nature and arisal of ethical value systems. The theory presented tries to meet these criteria, though it may not meet criteria of which others would think. But before we examine it the reader should know the author’s theoretical position so that we can peruse the theory within the writer’s theoretical framework as well as from within his own. My basic theoretical orientation within psychology is the organismic position as represented by Goldstein, Lecky, Angyal et. al., wedded to the personalistic point of view of Stern, G. W. Allport et. al. I do not react against or deny the validity of the conditioning theorists, the various psychoanalytic theorists or any other theoretical position existent today. The difference is that the latter are seen as the more narrow, more exclusive of all aspects of

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human behavior while the former are seen as the more widely encompassing, more inclusive of the many aspects of human behavior. Thus, I have assumed that ethical behavior, like any other behavior, grows and changes with time. Like any other growth, it may progress, regress, fixate or change. It is assumed that there is something of an inherent ethical nature in man which is triggered into operation as one or another ethical system in one or another form by certain life circumstances. Also, it is assumed that as a growth phenomenon. ethical behavior develops naturally through definable but overlapping stages. This being an orderly progression from a less complex to a more complex stage. And, like any other growth phenomenon, it has been assumed that there is no assurance once growth starts that subsequent stages will emerge. Ethical behavior could, like a seed, grow through all its natural stages to its ultimate mature form or, like the seed, ethical behavior could become stunted or even reorganize and take on a form not usually of its nature. Then finally it was assumed that just as the seed must have favorable living circumstances to flower fully, so too is man’s ethical potential limited by the life circumstances in which the human develops. These assumptions led to the search for a model which would represent the phenomenology assumed and the conceptual ways of representing such. This essay asserts that we cannot find the schematic basis for constructing a model within the world of philosophical or religious thought nor in the more generally accepted approaches to science. It says that we must look elsewhere, which is why the model is developed from within the ways of thinking of General Systems theorists. General Systems Theory promotes the appearance of structural similarities or isomorphies in different fields. It looks for correspondences In the principles which govern the behavior of entities which are intrinsically, widely different. General Systems Theory permits one to view behavior as an ordered evolution from some less organized state to some more organized state. It allows one to view the final state as being reached from different initial conditions. It allows one to think in terms of movement from homogeneity to heterogeneity. Thus it allows one to think of systems which develop toward states of greater heterogeneity and complexity while, at the same time, one thinks of states which maintain steady conditions moving steadily to the ultimate of that particular state. Since this way of thinking seemed to correspond with my observations and with my thinking in respect to ethical behavior, it was natural that the model presented should be developed within General Systems Theory.

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Having settled on the broad theoretical basis for the model, the need arose for more specific conceptions within which the thinking could be ordered. A concept was needed which expressed that a particular, yet variable, resultant (an ethical system) arises when certain forces meet at a particular moment in time. This concept had to allow, also, for the abnormal over and underdevelopment of the particular resultant (a particular ethical system). The concept needed seemed to be much like that of epigenesis, a concept in the field of embryology. The interpretation of epigenesis that all which grows has an ordered ground plan, not always achieving its final form, yet if achieving this final form, still infinitely variable, fitted well three specific conceptual needs. 1. The need to represent ethical behavior as a growth phenomenon. 2. The need to represent organized intermediate stages on the way to later stages. 3. The need to represent conceptually the idea that stage might fail adequately to develop or might display a monstrous over-development. At this point, two other conceptual problems remained. There was a need to conceptualize the factors which operate within the person to determine the ethical systems. In particular such factors as need, or motives, emotional factors and cognitive factors needed to be represented, and there was a need to represent the life circumstances which trigger the inherent ethical nature assumed. Since it did not seem wise, in terms of current trends in psychological theory, to use the idea of the interaction of motivational, emotional, cognitive and experiential factors, a concept was sought within which all of these could be subsumed. It was Krech’s ( ) concept of Dynamic Systems which seemed best to fulfill this conceptual need. The need to represent triggering environmental conditions was met by borrowing the concept of the releasor from the ethologists. Thus the model for emergent ethical theory is the thought of General Systems Theory, the Epigenetic concept, the concept of Dynamic Neurological Systems and the concept of Releasor. Utilizing this model Emergent Ethical Theory proposes the following: 1. That the ethical system of a man or a group of men is a function of the dynamic system triggered by the life circumstances in which that man or that group of men are living. 2. That normally the system of ethical behavior by which a man or a group of men lives changes in an orderly determined manner as broader dynamic systems are triggered by more humanly favorable life circumstances. 3. That there emerges an ethical thema of what is right and what is wrong in behavior which is appropriate to each level of dynamic emergence.

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4. That within each thema certain specific values of right and wrong will be expressed by one man or group of men because of variations in the components of a dynamic system while another man or group of men may accentuate certain other values because of a different arrangement in the dynamic system. 5. That there is a natural driveness in man to proceed from a lower to a higher level dynamic system and thus a concomitant natural driveness to move from a lower, more humanly restricting, conception of right and wrong to a higher, more humanly freeing conception of right and wrong. 6. That as man moves from a lower to a higher level of ethical Behavior, some values by which man judges right from wrong are discarded as no longer appropriate to his changed status; that some of the earlier values are retained intact; that some previous values are modified; and that some new, not previously existing conceptions of right and wrong emerge as each subsequent dynamic system emerges. 7. That the ethical systems by which men live may progress, fixate at an over or underdeveloped stage; may regress, may become a monstrum in defectu or a monstrum in excessu. The movement, lack of movement, or abnormalcy of movement is a function of the conditions which effect man’s psychological dynamic system. Fear, for example, as it restricts man’s cognitive field can, drive him to living by lower level ethics. 8. That lower level dynamics produces a more rigid ethical system thus making it impossible for those living by lower ethics to comprehend the meaning of living by higher level ethics.

The theory suggests that under life circumstances A{c}, when dynamical system A{d} is met with releasor conditions A{r} that the ethical state of affairs A will arise. Stage A would be one or no morality. When phenomenological conditions change and factors B{lc}, B{d} and B{r} are present the M thema of ethical behavior will arise. Then as factors C{lc}, C{d} and C{r} come to exist ethical behavior based on the N thema will emerge, etc., possibly ad infinitum, possibly to some final end. It hypothesizes that each emerging ethical system after the first amoral stage, has a basic thema with specific values as to what is right and wrong in behavior stemming from this thema.

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In particular circumstances each ethical system may emphasize some values of the thema and may minimize other values. Each ethical system may, if conditions are right, develop its normally preprogrammed form or it may, depending on conditions, become a monstrum in excessu or a monstrum in defectu. The theory proposes, also, that the N system of ethics always follows the M system with the O system to follow the N and the P system to follow O, etc. But the theory allows for variation from the M to N thema. It does propose that in the beginning of man’s emergence from animal like to human-like behavior the first ethical thema by which we will live will be M. But, it proposes also, that in another set of life circumstances, at the same level of emergence that M thema will be particularized as M-1, a variant on the thema M. These thematic variations must be hypothesized to be consistent with the concept of dynamic brain systems because dynamic systems consist of sub-family dynamic systems wherein each is in contact with all other dynamics systems. Thus, the intellectual system, the motivation system, the feeling system, the perceptual system and the ethical system are all in contact. Therefore, if changes in one are not sufficient to restructuralize thoroughly the others, the resultant is a variation on the thema of the moment rather than the emergence of a new thema. And, new thema emerge only if the change in one system is so great as to restructuralize all others. An example of the latter would be the arisal of new intellectual insights to enable certain humans to make the problem of survival relatively assured. Such a change, in a dynamic family, would be sufficient to spontaneously reorganize all other sub-families and would be sufficient to move those humans to the next ethical developmental stage. All of the previous ideas as to what is right in behavior and what is wrong in behavior do not necessarily change as man’s ethical concepts evolve from the M thema and later in time to the O thema. Not all values change. Some of the specific values of the B-M system of ethics will remain as part of the C-N system. Also, when the D-O system of ethics arises, there will be carry over of B-M values but the amount of carry over of B-M values will be less in the D-O system than in the C-N system. Thus it is hypothesized that there are values good for man when he is operating at a particular dynamic level, values which are good for man at any time, in any place, in any circumstance. But, there are two further aspects of this theory, the most complicated aspects of all which are yet to be covered.

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They derive from the principles of primary and recency in human behavior and from the conception of monstrum in excessu, monstrum in defectu, and the possibility of perfection of a system. Thus emergent ethical theory hypothesizes that ethical behavior develops with time and conditions through a definable series of stages. The stages are seen as pre-programmed in a somewhat MacDougalian instinctive sense. Each stage is dependent for its emergence, upon certain dynamical states in the brain which are released by certain life circumstances. It represents that when certain phenomenological conditions arise in the life of a person, a clan, a society, or possibly a nation, that a certain form of ethical behavior will be associated with these phenomenological conditions. The early appearing ethical system may have primacy over later appearing systems and thus the more recent system may be a modification of the earlier until the earlier has run almost its entire course, and until the earlier becomes, eventually, functionally subordinated in the broader thema of the more recently appearing ethic. To clarify this, let us hypothesize that the first four themata are: the sacrificial thema, the might-is-right thema, the togetherness thema and the materialistic thema The thema of sacrifice will dominate the first three ethical levels. At the first level it would be sacrifice of all for the good of all, at the second level it would be sacrifice of many for the good of the few and at the third level it would be sacrifice for the sake of one’s own group. But, by the time man is reaching for the fourth level ethic, this large, three sub-system sacrificial or altruistic ethic would have had its day. The pleasure to be derived from the expression of the individual self which emerged in the might-is-right of the few would increase during the days on stage of the second and third level ethics. By the time of the emergence of fourth level dynamics it would become the dominating thema with the sacrificial thema functionally subordinated to the self materialistic thema. This state of affairs would continue for each subsequent emerging ethical thema. The last basic point of this theory pertains to a particular aspect of General Systems Theory. Namely, the point that this theory allows one to think of systems which develop toward states of greater heterogeneity and complexity while at the same time one thinks of states which maintain, steady conditions moving without reorganization to the ultimate of that particular state. An ethical system in a man or group of men may not always move on to a higher state of organization. If man is living at a low level of existence and in the course of his life is unable to extricate himself from such circumstances, then his ethical system would not reorganize

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and move on to another level. It would move to the ultimate of the ethical state of affairs for that system or the particularization of that system. Thus, if the ethical system were the might-is-right system, one might find the ultimate in defective might-is-right ethics or the very best of might-is-right ethics that man could create. With this point we come to the end of this sketch, and it is but a sketch, of a model and theory offered for investigating ethical behavior. It will be followed by a paper sketching other reasons why we need newer models of ethical behavior and which also sketches out possible ethical systems. But, before summarizing may I reinforce the opening sentence of this paper. I do not propose that anything said herein is the truth about ethical behavior. There may be something in what has been said, on the other hand, there may be nothing of significance in these words, but be that as it may, what has been said is as follows: It has been said that we must question whether we know what ethical behavior is like, and we must question whether we know what is the ethically mature decision maker. Thus we asked: Can decisions of an ethically sensitive nature be made when we do not know or understand ethical behavior? If one is to be ethically sensitive, it would seem he must first have a reasonable comprehension of ethical behavior but it was said also, that we may not have the knowledge necessary for such comprehension. It may be that our failure to solve man’s problem is not so much that it is hard to get man to behave ethically or that he is not ethically sensitive and thus not ethically mature. It may be that we lack the necessary knowledge and it may be that we lack the knowledge because adequate research models do not exist. It may be that there is a large general system of behavior, which we can point out as ethical behavior, within which are many relatively independent and considerable unlike one another sub-systems of ethical behavior. Possibly there are systems of ethical behavior each with its own characteristic values and each with its own characteristic dynamics and perhaps these are organized ethical sub-systems within the dynamics of some overall general system of behavior. It is possible that we may find that in certain periods of time, given a man or men in a certain stage of development and living under certain circumstances, that a particular ethical system has to arise. It may be that all ethical systems have some dynamic potential to move toward some final or maybe even infinite state of affairs. It may be that some are wrong today who believe that the task of producing ethically mature decisions is the task of learning how to direct people toward some a priori ethical set of beliefs.

Hierboven weergegeven teksten zijn afkomstig van de websites Clare W Graves en Wikipedia. Daarvan overgenomen Li Po feb. 2006.


Progress in ethical development may be movement from systems less open, less dynamically complex, to systems more open, more dynamically complex. We may need to identify the highly ordered main stations on the road to some final or infinite ethical state. We may have to learn how to extract people from a lower state of ethical affairs, into a higher and higher and yet still higher state of ethical affairs. Perhaps we will never make ethically mature decisions until we learn what values are a part of what ethical system and how man moves from one set of ethical values to the next set of ethical values. A view of ethical behavior from a systems point of view might lead one to hypothesize that certain values are appropriate to certain systems of ethics but that these same values might be inappropriate to other ethical systems. Thus instead of the earlier ethical beliefs being immature, but quite like later ethical beliefs, it may be that the later ethical values are quite unlike the earlier ethical values. And it may be that he who is living by an earlier ethical system cannot conceive that a later system is possible or its values anything but wrong. It may be that when we look at earlier ethical systems from within a later ethical system, we will see that the earlier values, no matter how appropriate in a later system, are not only appropriate to, but absolutely necessary for living in the conditions which exist when that earlier system is present. If any or some of these speculations are true, possible we can see why we have problems in the region of ethical behavior. Perhaps the way to achieve the ethically sensitive, ethically mature decision maker is quite different from the ways being tried to produce such today. Or as Allport has said: "The determinists are right in saying that the fabric of the world is structured and orderly. But they are wrong in believing that the fabric of a given life has reached its final form. The relative freedom of man lies in his seeking and utilizing knowledge that will enable him to discover the final shape of his life." (4, p. 564) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1959 – Schenectady, New York. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Clare W. Graves (December 21, 1914-January 3, 1986) was a professor of psychology and originator of the Level Theory of Personality. He was born in New Richmond, Indiana. Graves graduated from Union College in New York in 1940 and received his master's degree and a Ph.D in psychology from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In the mid-twentieth century, Clare W. Graves taught psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. There he developed an epistemological model of human psychology. Graves claimed that the inspiration for so doing came from undergraduate students in his introductory psychology course. He acknowledged that he was unable to answer the frequently asked question as to who from among many competing psychology theorists was ultimately "right" or "correct" with their model since there were elements of truth and error in all of them….

Hierboven weergegeven teksten zijn afkomstig van de websites Clare W Graves en Wikipedia. Daarvan overgenomen Li Po feb. 2006.


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