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Tetrasociology: Comparison of social philosophies. Leo Semashko

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2.11. Tetrasociology: comparison of social philosophies

Leo Semashko, Russia

Tetrasociology encompasses social reality at all levels, from micro to macro. Tetrasociology spawns a distinctive social philosophy, with a specific social o­ntology, dialectics, epistemology, and axiology. An appropriate name for this philosophy would be tetrary social philosophy or social tetraphilosophy or tetrasociophilosophy. Its degree of generalization places it between tetrary philosophy and tetrasociology. Tetrasociophilosophy and tetrasociology are inter-inclusive, part of each other. But this is a vast subject, deserving a separate research. This brief article, meanwhile, is an attempt to compare, in a table, tetrasociophilosophy (Semashko, 1992, 1999, 2002) with several other Russia's social philosophy trends, which are explored in the books of Barulin (1999), Momdzhian (1997), Pigrov (1998) and Reznik (1999). Comparing different trends of Russia's social philosophy is tantamount to initiating a dialog among them, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, selecting the maturest trend, and synthesizing, o­n the basis of the o­ne selected, the other trends' strengths.

The social philosophies are being compared within the frameworks of their major sections: o­ntology, dialectics, epistemology, and axiology. In every section, various parameters are identified. This comparative effort is not laying claim to completeness or exhaustiveness. It is limited to several major parameters and the most general characteristics. The results of the social philosophies comparison are summarized in the following table:

COMPARATIVE TABLE OF SOCIAL PHILOSOPHIES

SECTIONS AND PARAMETERS

Tetrasociophilosophy

V.S.Barulin

K.H.Momdzhian

K.S.Pigrov

Yu.M.Reznik

o­nTOLOGY

Type of o­ntology

Postpluralism[1]

Monism Materialism

Monism Idealism

Undefined (Amorphism)[2]

Dualism of matter and spirit ([3]1,23-37)

Social reality

Tetrary (four-dimensional)

Uni-dimensional (material)

Uni-dimensional (spiritual)

Undefined

Undefined[4] (Amorphism)

Realitys primordial components

Four: Resources, Processes, Structures, States

o­ne: Social matter

o­ne: Conscience (214)

Undefined

Ideal and real (physical) existence (1,23-37)

Priority[5] components of reality

Resources: People, Information, Organization, Things

Things

Conscience

Undefined

Individuality, culture, social organization (2, 206)

Priority resource

PEOPLE

Things

Conscience (information)

Undefined

Undefined

Priority employment of people

Self-reproduction

Undefined

Undefined

Undefined

Undefined

The unity of social reality (social substance)

Peoples reproductive employment from birth to death

Material production (social matter)

Peoples purposeful, self-conscious activity (177, 381[6])

Undefined

Undefined

The spheres of reality

Four:  Socio,  Info,  Organi,  Techno

Four:  Material-productive,  Social,  Political,  Spiritual

Four spheres of activity:  Spiritual,  Material, Organizational, Social (319)

Undefined

Three spheres, or three Worlds: Systemic, Civic, Vital (1, 342,437-476)

Spheres of production

Four: Socio,  Info, Organi,  Techno

o­ne:  Material-productive

Four: Spiritual, Organizational, Social, Material (348)

Undefined

Three Material, Spiritual, Vital (1,45,324)[7]

Object/product of the spheres of production or activity

Four:  People, Information, Organization, Things

o­ne: Things

Four elements: Subjects, Things, Signs, Connections or organizations (324-329)

Undefined

Undefined (Amorphism)

Social

Four-dimensional, defined through peoples reproductive employment

Undefined

Antithetical to nature, peoples joint, conscious activity, uni-dimensional (83)

Undefined

Undefined (Amorphism)

Components of the social

Humanitarian Info Organi Material

Undefined

Undefined

Undefined

Individuality, culture, social organization (2, 206)

Social space-time

Four-dimensional Axes of coordinates: Resources, Processes, Structures,  States

No

No

No

Postulated (p.200-202) (Amorphism)

Sections of o­ntology

Statics Dynamics Structuratics Genetics

Three levels: Spheres of society, Laws of society, Society in its entirety

Three levels: Global, Historical, Individual society (111)

Undefined

Three levels: General, Medium, Individual societies (1,13-14)

Social classes

Four sphere classes of population: Socioclass, Infoclass, Organiclass, Technoclass

Two: exploiters and the exploited. Productive and non-productive; in o­ne sphere

Two: proprietors and the working class, and these two encompass ALL spheres (359-365)

Two:  The propertied and the oppressed (88)

Four classes-strata (1,473) (Amorphism)

The criterion for class identification

Major reproductive employment in o­ne of the spheres

Ownership of  the means of production

Property (356)

Property (79-80)

Property (1,473)

Class struggle as the driving force of history

Rejected, but recognized as a temporary phenomenon, produced by branch-based and antagonistic classes

Recognized as a driving force, but its absolutization and apologetics are criticized. Class cooperation is recognized[8]

Undefined

Undefined

Undefined

Government

Sphere, or tetra democracy as the equal distribution of power among sphere classes

The dictatorship of proletariat, but not as the o­nly possible form of transition to communism (332)

Undefined

Undefined

Undefined

DIALECTICS

The foundations of dialectics

Interinclusion of whole/part, necessary/sufficient, equality/difference, prioritization

Interconnection and interaction of spheres and classes of society

Interconnection of whole/parts, primordiality of the whole, compositional intersections (175,249,250)

Substance and attributes, single and multiple, individual and generic, relations and activity (51-58)

Systemic and vital worlds of society (1,342)

The source of growth and change

Unity and harmony of opposites

Struggle of opposites

Undefined

Undefined

Strugge of worlds-spheres (1,342) (Amorphism)

The ultimate goal of social development

Sphere society as the harmony of sphere classes, as continuous aspiration for harmony

Communism, classless society

Undefined

Undefined

Self-programmable or pluralistic society (1,342, 424-426)

Sociocultural technology of non-coercive development

Technology of harmonization of society and individual spheres

No

No

No

Social engineering (2, 204-207) (Amorphism)

EPISTEMOLOGY

The key question of social philosophy

Relations between harmony and disharmony of societys and individuals four spheres

Relation between social/public existence and social/public conscience

Relation between matter and conscience, the primordiality of conscience (252)

Undefined

Undefined

Cognition at the levels of statics, dynamics, structuratics, genetics

Sphere statics, dynamics, structuratics, genetics

No

Social statics (310-315); Physiology (367)

Four models of social reality (p. 58-71)

Cognition at the levels of social dynamics and structures (2,97,144)

Relation to pluralism

Positive

Negative

Negative[9]

Neutral[10]

Positive, fragmentary (1,403)

Unitary philosophy

Impossible, although a temporary priority for o­ne of them is possible

Possible

Possible (69)

Undefined

Possible as a universal social science (2,73,205-207)

Social verity

Pluralism of social verities

Single social verity

Single social verity (69)

Undefined

Undefined

Sociological statistics

Sphere statistics

No

No

No

No

AXIOLOGY

Supreme value

Social harmony of societys and individuals spheres

Communism as a classless society

Undefined

Two values: Happiness, Heroism (91)

Undefined

Struggle, domination, but in a mild format

Dialog, tolerance, supplementality, equality

Undefined

Happiness or heroism (91)

Undefined

The comparative table lays the foundation for a systematic dialog among different social philosophies, which can and should be continued in the book-dialogs series. Dialogs of social philosophies are an important and significant component of multicultural dialog.

References

Barulin V.S. Social philosophy. Moscow, 1999.

Momdzhian K.H. Introduction to social philosophy. Moscow, 1997.

Pigrov K.S. Essays o­n social philosophy. St.-Petersburg, 1998.

Reznik Yu.M. Introduction to social philosophy. Social o­ntology. Moscow, 1999

Reznik Yu.M. Introduction to social theory. Social epistemology. Moscow, 1999. We will denote Reznik's first book as "1", and the second "2" in the Table

Semashko L.M. Sociology for pragmatists. St.-Petersburg, 1999;

Semashko L.M. Sphere approach. St.-Petersburg, 1992.

Semashko L.M. Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges. St.-Petersburg., 2002

Notes:

 

[1] Postpluralism is a variety of pluralism which posits a finite number (two, three, four, five, etc.) of the bases of the world, society, and individuals. Traditional pluralism is different because it theorizes an indefinite number of bases - simply "many." Monism assumes that the world, society, and individuals have o­nly o­ne base. Pluralism and monism originated long ago, in ancient Greece. The debate and the dialog between them continues until today and, apparently, this debate/dialog is perpetual and presents a major philosophical problem. However, at the different stages of society's development, the positions of pluralism and monism have varied. At the beginning, people's beliefs were pluralistic, which is compellingly evidenced by polytheism. Then monistic beliefs, theories and religions took over. And beginning in the second half of the 20th century, pluralism is getting increasingly stronger, which is evidenced by various forms of democracy and the recognition of equipollence of international religions (Plurotheism).

[2] An amorphous, undefined position is identified as "amorphism"

[3] The page numbers of the works quoted are indicated in parentheses

[4] The author provides an extensive literature review, but does not provide his/her own definitions of some of the major categories, which makes his/her position amorphous, undefined

[5] The terms such as "primordial" and "priority" are identical in monism, but different in tetrasociophilosophy. "Primordial" designates components that are equally necessary and sufficient for society's existence, while "priority" designates the varying roles and weight of, and significance attached to, the components in their functioning and interinclusion

[6] Momdzhian, K.H. Op.cit., p.381-393. Momdzhian is "torn" between materialism and idealism, between the primordiality of conscience and activity (practice), which shows his partial departure from monism and drift to dualism

[7] In other passages of his work, the writer already identifies six, not three, "spheres of society's life" as spheres of "production": economic, political, legal, ideological, artistic, humanitarian (1:409-410)

[8] Barulin, V.S. Op.cit., p.328-332. Barulin attempts to smooth away all the jagged edges of Marxism, even though his interpretation runs contrary to the Marxist logic, thus creating yet another ineffectual version of Marxism

[9] Momdzhian, K.H. Op.cit., p.69 and o­n. Momdzhian rejects pluralism as "science's base," but admits "plurality" of public interests, etc.

[10] K.S.Pigrov's neutral attitude to monism and pluralism is nevertheless injected with the principle of supplementality, or "complementarity" of the four models indicated (p.72), and this tips the balance of his views to pluralism. However, arguing that reality is "spiritually cultivated," he gravitates to idealism. As a result, Pigrov's position is amorphous, ambivalent

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