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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Logic Model

In my last post, in an attempt to clarify my thinking on ethics and politics, I laid out 5 propositions and 5 conclusions. In this post I round out my logic model by identifying 5 assumptions for my 5 propositions and their conclusions, 5 principles for action derived from the conclusions, and 5 specific actions that are integral to my ethical and political policy platform.

Why 5 turtles all the way down? Convenience of presentation. Assumptions proven are of course no longer assumptions but are based on other assumptions. And those assumptions can/should be questioned. But gotta start someplace.

Here are assumptions on which my propositions are based:
1. The evolution of the (human) species by natural selection including body and consciousness.
2. Intrinsic worth and transformative ability of every human person. (So what constitutes a human person?)
3. Human ability for theory of mind and empathy. (So what constitutes that and how?)
4. Imagination as the distinguishing and central human capacity. (What and why?)
5. Problem solving through reason and science as the means to progress (How so?)

Now I repeat my propositions and conclusions (with some further explanation):

Here are my foundational propositions:

1. To be human is to engage the world and know reality. (Human existence as progressive knowing and creating.)
2. Engaging the world is knowing reality. (Unity of knowing and acting.)
3. Humans know reality (subjective and objective) through symbols, humanly constructed models and metaphors. (Constructivist philosophy of knowing as opposed to realism and idealism.)
4. The human enterprise of knowing and engaging reality is a social enterprise. (To become a person is to interact with others).
5. Culture, economics, and politics are distinct ways of knowing and engaging the world. (Understand the priority relationships between maintaining life, having meaning, and exercising power.)

From these propositions come conclusions on which to construct an ethics and politics:

1. Obligation (the "should") arises from the dynamic, progressive character of human existence (the "is").
2. Good and evil, i.e what should be affirmed or denied, is accessible to human nature and reason.
3. The illusion of the absolute, the negation of the other, the separation of being, knowing, and acting, and the confusion of modes of knowing and acting are obstacles to human existence and are the source of evil in the world.
4. Human transcendence does not rest on supernatural transcendents. (Ethics and politics are not dependent on supernatural entities and transcend human groupings, cultures, nations.)
5. Within humans personally and collectively are the guiding principles to deal with the specific issues of life, meaning, and action which confront us today. (Conscience or moral consciousness arises naturally from human interaction in the world).

From these conclusions, I fashion some principles for action:

1. Challenge all assumptions, propositions, beliefs, and principles. (No absolutes.)
2. Keep faith beyond beliefs. (Maintain the difference between human existence and its expressions.)
3. Build publics and connect them. (Support voluntary association that hold all institutions accountable and promote justice.)
4. Create a just social order. (Maintain the tension and priorities between cultural, economic, and political institutions. Refine the processes and structures of society to promote the worth of all beings).
5. Integrate oneself with oneself, others, and the earth. (Understand and hold the tensions of existence to achieve maximum integrity.)

Finally, I promote specific actions for my time and place:

1. organize and act for economic equity (overcome poverty, expand the middle class, limit wealth and its influence).
2. organize and act for renewal of the planet (response to climate change, environmental preservation, new urbanism)
3. organize and act for inclusion and tolerance in diversity (against racism, classism, sexism, etc)
4. organize and act for scientific and technological progress (and against technologies of destruction)
5. organize and act for maximum political participation (local and regional power, nonviolence, voter rights).

And on this is based my manifesto whose preliminary formulation can be found here.

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