link: rational ethics                       

                 'NATURAL ETHICS' AS 'RATIONAL ETHICS': A FUNCTION OF DEVELOPMENT

                       OF RATIONAL CONSCIENCE i.e. MORAL INTELLIGENCE OR 'REASON'

 

 It is possible to use a scientifically objective approach to resolve the age-old philosophical problem of how to formulate a 'rational' value system or 'rational ethics'. Rational ethics are natural ethics... a function of development of rational conscience ... depends on the right conditions for human growth... moral development... depends on parental love as 'unconditional love'...  natural human values... .. a function of the conscious knowledge of the moral faculty... moral reason... which defines the human personality or 'human nature'... moral intelligence or 'reason'

 "Humanistic conscience is based on the knowledge of man's nature. The great tradition of humanistic ethical thought is based on a wholistic perspective of man in his 'physico-spiritual totality'. It is based on the belief that man's aim is to be himself, and that the condition for attaining this goal is that man be for himself. It is based on the premise that one has to know the nature of man in order to formulate valid ethical codes. Based on the validity of man's autonomy, valid ethical norms are formed by man's reason." (Erich Fromm Man For Himself p.7)  

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moral development...   moral development as function of construction of conscience...   human needs...  

self-actualising individual...   implications for education...   conditions for 'metamotivation'...

The search for guiding values for ethical living is the subject of the natural 'science of ethics'. A natural 'science of values' or 'moral science' is the science of moral development i.e. development of moral knowledge or 'morality'... the systematic investigation... scientific analysis into the biological basis of morality in the evolution of social values i.e. morals or 'ethics' (as opposed to philosophical systems formulated on given premises)... the study of intrinsic and instinctive natural valuing process as a part of normal human development... a 'science of value'...moral science. Moral science is concerned with the real nature of the human organism as a member of a social species. Effective socialisation depends on ethical behaviour which originates in a natural valuing system intrinsic to the human organism ...

Natural ethics is based on the natural valuing process of the human organism ...based on the natural laws of human nature and human existence for proper growth and development, instinctive needs must be understood and respected. The natural valuing process and the biological basis of morality. 'universal human ethics' or 'humanistic ethics', 'intrinsic conscience The natural valuing process is a part of normal human development. From a wholistic perspective, an individual's values system is the product of the totality of the individual's thought processes within the context the individual's experiences in the chnging social environment... The principles for morality and ethical values which are prescribed by religions and philosophies can be found within the biology of human nature. The natural system of ethics - natural ethics - is flexible, unlike fixed philosophical systems.  

 Development of morality is naturally revealed with the unfolding of human potential in a normal process of psychological or 'moral development'.  Moral development is a functon of development of the biologically intrinsic process of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. The conscience is the 'inner voice' of a person's sense of responsibility, strength, courage and needs... the guiding values of 'free will'... the personal decision making process which is based on the organism's inherent tendency for growth with spiritual independence of maturity i.e. 'self-actualisation'. 

 'Self-actualisation' can be characterised in terms of ethical values for communal living... values for effective socialisation or 'social values'. Social values of ethical behaviour originate in a natural valuing system which is intrinsic to the organism. Ethical values do not involve cognitive or conceptual thinking... they are 'operative values'. As operative values human ethical values result from the intrinsic valuing process of the human organism... also known as the 'naturalistic' or 'organismic value system' which is shared by all members of the human species. Natural ethics of the developed conscience - rational conscience - is 'rational ethics'.

     Ethical behaviour is rooted in the morals of the rational human conscience. Development of the conscience is a function of human psychological, emotional, intellectual and moral development. The biologically based constitutional ethical impulses which are revealed in normal development and which enable the individual to adjust to the realities of the social environment are 'natural ethics'.

 Moral development is a function of moral consciousness... construction of rational 'conscience'... the 'inner voice' of human values. The conscience is the unconscious perception of one's human nature and human needs... natural values chosen on the basis of the organism's inherent tendency toward self-actualization. Development of the conscience is a function of human psychological, emotional, intellectual and moral development. The biologically based constitutional ethical impulses revealed in normal development enable the individual to adjust to the realities of the social environment are 'natural ethics', the subject of a natural science of ethics. Natural ethics are those values which are found in the intrinsic valuing process of the human organism.

 As the source of natural values and ethical behaviour, the conscience is the unconscious perception of human nature and human needs. Analysis of the conscience as a natural system of ethics is based on the understanding of human needs. Human needs include the most urgent 'lower' needs - physiological and psychological needs - and the less urgent 'higher' needs - the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'.

 It is the human conscience which constiI tutes the biological basis of morality and ethics. The conscience is the natural source of ethical principles for guidance in the solution of human problems. The human organism depends on the conscience in its efforts to adapt to the realities of a changing social environment. The conscience is a biological mechanism which enables the individual to make accurate evaluations of social conditions while at the same time preserving the integrity of the personality. As the source of natural values and ethical behaviour, the conscience is the unconscious perception of human nature and human needs. Analysis of the conscience as a natural system of ethics is based on the understanding of human motives for behaviour i.e. 'human needs'. Human needs include the most urgent 'lower' needs - physiological and psychological needs - and the less urgent 'higher' needs - the spiritual needs of the value-life i.e. 'metaneeds'.

Human needs for ethical living must be met for effective socialization, adaptation and survival... survival value of 'virtue'. Human needs have evolved on the basis of their survival value to the organism in achanging social environment. They determine the individual's full functioning as a socially intelligent being. Social intelligence and adaptation depend on proper growth and development. Individuals whose needs are met can be described by those human attributes, the ethical values, which have survival value for the human organism as a social organism.

They enable the individual to adjust to the realities of a social environment -self-respect, self-directedness, self-discipline, sense of purpose, sense of worthiness and so on. Ethical values for communal living are characteristic of maturity and self-actualization. With complete growth, individuals become self-actualized. 'Self-actualizing' individuals are autonomous... self-sufficient.    and 'self-actualizing'.

SELF-ACTUALISATION The individual human being is instinctively responsible to himself for his own potential development or 'self-actualisation'. This natural responsibility to his own biological and psychological existence and self-actualization constitutes the ethical value called 'virtue'. Sharing the existential dichotomies inherent in the human situation, all human beings have a natural sense of responsibility for their self-actualization, virtue and 'happiness'. Each has a unique way of solving his human problems depending on the unchangeable constitutional temperament and the changeable acquired character.

The self-actualising individual Self-actualising individuals are self-transcending living in the realm of ethical values. Obeying their own conscience, they experience 'true' freedom. They are detached and private and resist enculturation. They are spontaneous and enjoy life in all its aspects, reacting with fresh appreciation and richness. They make decisions in their own 'true' interest while leading ethical lives. They are problem-centered, making personal decisions on the basis of B-needs, thus making choices which are in the 'true' interest of society. They are responsible to themselves and to others as well. They have democratic 'character structure' and identify with the human species.

The self-actualizing individual is autonomous and self-sufficient and therefore 'self-actualizing'. They accept their own nature and maintain their personal integrity while adapting to social changes. They have a non-judgmental, non-interfering attitude towards others perceiving them as unique individuals with their own intrinsic qualities. Their comprehensive understanding of other people makes for meaningful interpersonal relations and successful adaptation to social changes. They enjoy the pleasure of insight and experience high frequencies of so called 'peak-experiences'. They have a capacity to perceive reality holistically... objective 'holistic perception'. Holistic perception leads to holistic reasoning - transcending opposites, dichotomies, polarities, contradictions and incompatibilities perceiving these as interpenetrating facets of a whole. They are creative and productive and define their full individuality in their 'work'.

Psychological wholeness and personality integration achieved through proper development of the intrinsic human conscience is the basis of social intelligence. Failure to satisfy human needs leads to undeveloped conscience and pathologies of diminished humanness. A culture which recognizes and respects the human needs for socialization and provides the necessary conditions for fostering proper human growth and development is a 'healthy culture'. As a result of culturally fostered human development, the individual becomes 'self-actualized' - living according to the 'higher' ethical values of a rational conscience. Ethical individuals can live together in peace and justice because they naturally do what is right and necessary for communal living.

 Implications for education  Education for ethics is education for moral knowledge of a rational conscience. Intrinsic conscience must be properly developed for ethical living. Development of the conscience is a part of normal human development growth with total freedom and love. The process of education for proper human development involves the fostering of an individual's instinctive responsibility to himself and his own needs. It therefore depends on the creation of an environment which fosters self-discipline, self-actualization and the full development of 'humanness,' the natural ethical core of every human being. A healthy social and cultural environment which recognizes and respects the individual's human needs can provide the necessary conditions for fostering proper human growth and development. the individual becomes self-actualized as the result of a culturally fostered human development... living according to the higher Being values which comprise his natural system of ethics. The self-actualized individual lives in accordance with natural biological laws and the evolutionary process.

Education for rational ethics depends on provision of conditions appropriate for growth motivation or 'metamotivation' Rational ethics is a natural outcome of the complete development of the moral sense of right and wrong i.e. 'moral development'. Moral development is a function of the development of the conscience and occurs naturally during proper growth and development i.e. 'education'. Education for moral development is education for understanding and intelligent adjustment to the realities of changing conditions in the social environment i.e. 'social intelligence'. Social intelligence is a function of natural biological laws or 'human values'. Human values are the basis for rational ethics. The human values are a product of the evolution of the human organ of learning i.e. the 'brain'. The human brain is a 'social brain' specialized for the function of raising consciousness or 'learning'. Effective learning is effective... effective functioning of the brain depends on a context of free thought insight, creativity and productivity... conditions of 'spiritual freedom'. Spiritual freedom fosters growth motivation of complete individuality ... mature growth or 'self-actualization'.

 The modern American meaning of the word ethics is based on the modern American concept of morality as 'moralism'.

Responsible education for responsible freedom The individual's perception of themselves is based on the nature of their education. Proper education depends on respect for the individual's instinctive human needs. The aim of education is to foster the individual's instinctive responsibility to themselves and their needs. Recognition and respect for the individual's needs are respected provides the necessary conditions for learning or 'learning environment'. The learning environment is a function of 'culture' and cultural context. Culture which fosters human development also fosters responsibility and ethical living ...the individual lives according to the natural ethical values. Education for ethical living is responsible education.

 Responsible education fosters universal self-actualization and responsible freedom.

A rational ethics is based on the biology of human motives for behaviour or 'human needs' For centuries attempts to formulate a system of ethics have been based on a perception of reality described in terms of concepts which are mutually exclusive - selfish-unselfish, kind-cruel, good-bad etc. This dichotomous perception of ethics is based on the assumption that instinctive human impulses are not to be trusted because they are immoral or 'evil'.

It is the concept of evil which underlies the mutual exclusivity between the 'what is' and the 'what ought to be' of classical moral philosophy or 'classical ethics'. Classical ethics is based on the assumption that the interests of the individual are incompatible with those of society. Social problems are perceived in terms of the need to control peoples' intrinsic animal instincts or 'human nature'. Human nature is defined in terms of the natural laws of human existence i.e. 'human needs'. A definition of the human needs provides the basis for moral philosophy or ethics which is rational i.e. a 'rational ethics'.

    Rational ethics is a function of the intrinsic sense of right and wrong or 'morality'. Human morality is revealed in the natural unfolding of the human core of ethical values ('operative values') i.e. 'conscience'. The conscience is a biological mechanism whose function is to protect the integration of the personality. Personality integrity is a function of a decision making process which is based on the individual's own strength, courage, sense of responsibility and the degree to which their human needs have been met. Human needs are psychological as well as physiological. Psychological needs include the basic needs for security and belongingness and the growth needs for creativity and productivity i.e. the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'. The metaneeds are the biologically based constitutional ethical impulses for wholeness, perfection, joy, aliveness, richness, simplicity, beauty, goodness, uniqueness, self-sufficiency, freedom, love, truth, justice i.e. the 'metavalues'. The metavalues are the 'human values'. Human psychological needs vary in strength in terms of urgency. The basic psychological needs are more urgent than the spiritual needs. The urgency of human needs determines the individual's type of interest or 'motivation'. Motivation depends on the extent to which the individual's human needs have been met. During normal growth and development, the individual relies on external sources and depends on others to meet the basic psychological needs also known as the deficit or 'deficiency needs'. Motivation by the deficiency needs is 'deficiency motivation.' For the deficiency motivated individual, gratification of the deficiency needs is more urgent than the gratification of the metaneeds. The deficiency motivated individual must rely on changeable factors in a non-reliable social environment. They must be flexible and responsive to peoples' reactions. Their interpersonal relations are based on need gratification. They perceive other people in terms of their usefulness as sources of gratification for their need deficiencies rather than in terms of their own intrinsic qualitites. Their personal relationships are limited and interchangeable. As a result, they are prone to anxiety, to hostility and a lack of freedom. Ultimately they lead lives which are unethical. If the basic psychological needs are met, the individual learns to gratify the metaneeds and their dependency on others decreases. The individual relies on their inner resources for gratification of the metaneeds. Motivation by the metaneeds is growth motivation or 'metamotivation'.

 

Ethics is a function of the real nature of the human organism as a member of a social species. Effective socialization depends on ethical behaviour which originates in a natural valuing system intrinsic to the organism.  Ethical behaviour is a function of moral development - development of moral consciousness or 'rational conscience' the 'inner voice of human values. The conscience is the unconscious perception of one's human nature and human needs... natural values chosen on the basis of the organism's inherent tendency toward self-actualization. Development of the conscience is a function of human psychological, emotional, intellectual and moral development. The biologically based constitutional ethical impulses revealed in normal development enable the individual to adjust to the realities of the social environment are 'natural ethics', the subject of a natural science of ethics. Natural ethics are those values which are found in the intrinsic valuing process of the human organism.

 Proper growth and development is necessary for social intelligence and adaptation.  Ethical values for communal living are characteristic of mature growth or 'self-actualization'.

Characteristics of self-actualisation Self-actualization is defined in the scientific study of the humanistic psychologist and founder of 'transpersonal psychology' Abraham Maslow. Maslow describes self-actualization in terms of the following characteristics: identification with the human species and acceptance of one's own nature; non-judgmental, non-interfering attitude towards others i.e. 'democratic thinking'; capacity for reasoning which transcends polarities. Opposites, dichotomies, contradictions and incompatibles are perceived as interpenetrating facets of a whole or 'holistic' reality i.e 'holistic perception'. Holistic perception is a function of a decision-making process which is ethical because it is in the true interest of the individual as well as the society. Self-actualized individuals are spontaneous and generally enjoy life. They experience freshness of appreciation and richness of emotional reaction. They are detached and self-sufficient autonomous have a desire for privacy and independent of other people... resistant to enculturation... They perceive other people objectively as unique individuals with intrinsic qualities. Their understanding of other people is comprehensive and forms the basis of their meaningful interpersonal relations. They are responsible to themselves. Their lives are problem-centered, creative, productive and therefore rationally 'ethical'.

The formulation of a rational ethical system is based on the knowledge of human nature.Valid ethical norms of a naturally human ethics is based on the respect for the dignity of human existence. Ethics is defined as both "the science of moral values and duties" and as "the study of the ideal human character, actions, and ends".

An inquiry into human nature forms the basis for a valid theoretical construction of a rational ethical system. This is revealed in the so-called 'productive character which values the affirmation of the truly human self.

As the ideal human potentialities naturally unfold and become actualized, ethical norms for excellent living are discovered according to the laws of nature and human existence. The actualization of an individual's particular potentiality and disposition reveals a core of human qualities which are common to all members of the human species.

 

 The formulation of a rational ethical system is based on the knowledge of human nature. Valid ethical norms of a naturally human ethics is based on the respect for the dignity of human existence. Ethics is defined as both "the science of moral values and duties" and as "the study of the ideal human character, actions, and ends." An inquiry into human nature forms the basis for a valid theoretical construction of system of 'rational ethics'. This is revealed in the so-called 'productive' character which values the affirmation of the truly human self. As the ideal human potentialities naturally unfold and become actualized, ethical norms for excellent living are discovered according to the laws of nature and human existence. The actualization of an individual's particular potentiality and disposition reveals a core of human qualities which are common to all members of the human species. The individual human being is instinctively responsible to himself for his own potential development or 'self-actualization.' This natural responsibility to his own biological and psychological existence and self-actualization constitutes the ethical value called 'virtue'. Sharing the existential dichotomies inherent in the human situation, all human beings have a natural sense of responsibility for their self-actualization, virtue and happiness. Depending on the unchangeable constitutional temperament and the changeable acquired character, each human being has a unique way of solving his human problems.