Why needed

 Information scarce

 Scientific investigation

 Single principle theorists

 Many moralities theorists

 Drop moral philosophy
 and develop moral
 science theorists

 20th century emotivists





 Criteria for a model


 General systems theory

 Emergent ethical theory



 Key points

For the future

From the Historical Collection of the work of Dr. Clare W. Graves of William R. Lee, March 2001




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 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. 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.



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