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




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 them 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 oneís 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 allow 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 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 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 manís 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 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. Progress in ethical development may be movement from systems less open, less dynamically complex, to systems more open, more dynamically complex. 



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