About

The Axiological Perspective is a value-based look at some of the aspects of contemporary life, as both philosophical analysis, social theory and ethical philosophy on one hand, and political, social and cultural commentary on the other.

In contrast to the often polarised views of human life and strategies for action, a value-based perspective offers not only a platform for exploring areas of commonality among divergent opinions, but sometimes a very different alternative to entrenched standpoints.

On this site I will be writing about some of my personal interests, such as, the place of values in current and future social scenarios, human nature and culture, and academic interests including the philosophy of value and institutional theory.

I am happy to consider submissions from other authors on these and related topics, as long as they conform to the required standards of scholarship and tone.

I hope that this site proves of interest and will stimulate discussion.

Don Trubshaw

Don Trubshaw holds a PhD in Education. He teaches Social Science and English in a higher education college in the UK. He is co-founder of the website Societal Values, http://www.societalvalues.co.uk.

© Don Trubshaw, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of The Axiological Perspective’s material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Don Trubshaw and The Axiological Perspective with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Views expressed in articles published on this site by authors other than Don Trubshaw are the authors’ own and may not necessarily reflect the views of the site author.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Don, re The Fragility of History article. I agree entirely, I look after statues here in Edinburgh, and have been asked to do a talk for the Ed Art Festival later this year. The joint talk with the artist is partly about dismantling statues, and the work of Jonathan Owen who ‘elegantly vandalises’ marble busts… It refers to the Rhodes statue debate, and to previous eras of erasing history and the Roman idea of ‘damnatio memoriae’ – damning the memory of previous emperors. Early days yet, but many of your points are very appropriate.
    best wishes Paul McAuley, Collections Care Officer, City of Edinburgh Council

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  2. You have an interesting blog. Nebulous as that might sound, the ideas are interesting in of themselves. Thoughts on rule of law, social values, economics for the common ground, these are rich and fertile fields of thought. Of course your writing is overly academic, one almost never becomes a PhD writing in a simple and plain manner. It is the sin of the profession, a minor complaint. The dominant theme is one of “value”, a largely undefined concept. We can say the same about justice and fairness and greed. We often can recognize them when we see plain examples but miss the more sophisticated examples while still never being able to measure such concepts.

    The theory of test and measurement gives us that one basic understanding about testing and measuring whether one is doing social science or physical science. The two tenets are accuracy and reliability: does the test measure what it purports to measure and if administered several times, will it produce the same results? This leads us to the first point in any any proposition, theory, or concept. Can we adequately define what is the be measured? Second is the point of non interference in the process of measurement. The best example comes from physics where one can either measure the energy or the mass of an electron but not both at the same time. We also need to recognize that the very process of measurement may contaminate our results. And the third point is whether we can replicate the test and obtain similar results.

    Fairness, justice, values, laws, all these concepts come from our perceptions, which tend to be filled with emotional content of one kind or another. Even “God” is not exempt. concepts of morality use to come from association with religions that have at their core some concept of “God”, singular or plural. Now in our modern society we try to derive these various moral concepts from a thing called “common values”. I do not find this troubling as all social concepts must rest on a foundation of common acceptance. Religious belief was the common concept. So how do we establish a belief system (that is what you propose) so that these social concepts become the common experience? Which expedient do we use, Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World?

    I would recommend you read the expert in small group interactions, Rupert Brown. And it wouldn’t hurt to read B.F. Skinner.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful and perceptive comments. To address just the last couple of points, I had not though of myself as attempting to establish a belief system, but rather engage in a discussion which transcended particular belief systems. I do think we share common values across cultures, although there are also clashes of values within and between cultures, so I do not foresee values as being a route to the establishment of a shared belief system, but a medium for analysing cultural issues and, perhaps, for understanding and accepting cultural differences. Moreover, I hope we are not limited to either Orwellian or Huxleyan visions of society. If anything I take my cue from Karl Popper’s idea of social evolution through incremental problem solving.

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      1. When we observe the natural world and tease out those theories and processes or when we invent new ways of doing something we are not engaging in social evolution. Discovering the ways and means that “science” works is not evolution in that biological sense. The iPhone did not evolve, it came as a result of Apple’s willingness to challenge RIM’s Blackberry smart phone. Jobs saw a market opportunity, not an evolution. The development and acquisition of language is a biological and neurological evolution. That it permits the increase in the number of members of any human group may be of social significance, but by itself it is not a social evolution. I have read Popper and I have both agreements and disagreements with his views. Unfortunately when speak of “social evolution” we ascribe an anthropomorphic quality to a collection of human behaviors. Societies do not evolve, they change behaviors. Culture is a collective set of behaviors, the set is learned by the members of that culture. In turn, culture is more of a belief system because there is no set of governing laws or formulas.

        Human behavior really comes down to patterns and pattern recognition. Why do we perceive some individuals beautiful? Because our visual cortex contains cells for pattern recognition. Babies from birth onward prefer that curvy female form to the angular male form. Why? we don’t really know but never the less it is true. The pattern is not so much as learned as recognized over time. You may quibble as to the difference between learned and recognized behavior but essentially, one has to identify a pattern and that calls for recognition.

        So, is there really anything to the concept of social evolution? No, it’s simply a short cut for saying that social behaviors change according to the demands of the environment and the needs of the individual and group interactions.

        An example is teaching teenagers some social skills for dating. As you might know, once we cross that threshold called puberty we become less egocentric and more aware of others in our interactions. This is a behavioral change. So acquiring the habituation of smoking tobacco. You see, much of our behaviors are habits, habitual behaviors. Addiction is habituation. It may involve a component of chemical dependency but it is habitualion. And we often use belief as an aid to change our habituations. One never extinguishes a habit but one can change it’s direction through rewards. You might call this problem solving but what is really at stake is the change is the redirection of a particular habituation.

        so you should come to understand that I look at human kind from the bottom up, from individual behavior and on to collective behaviors of groups. You have been taught to look from the top down. Those grand schemes and theories that have so little basis in fact. You see common structures in cultures and come to the belief that there must be unifying theories and laws that govern cultures. This is the aggregate construction, the one that constantly leads economists down the wrong garden path. There is no law of aggregate behavior, never was and never will be. Yet by insisting that there is social evolution, meaning aggregate social behaviors changing in mass as a response to some need as governed by some social law you have created a false set of thought processes.

        Now understand, I don’t condemn you for trying. It is a positive attempt at “solving” modern problems. But it has the unfortunate result of creating more problems than it solves. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And yes, you are still indulging in creating new belief systems. Why? Because culture is a belief system and thus all analysis of such belief systems must result in a new set of beliefs. There is no hard science here. The ultimate argument is where one culture believes that homosexuality is not natural and another believes that all sex practices are natural. There is no supporting science that will settle the issue. Behavior is not genetically driven in humankind. If my belief system does not allow the belief that homosexuality is acceptable, then how will I ever understand such a practice and cultural difference? You would ask me to change my beliefs. Why? Because I am wrong and you are right? Your reasoning is a bit thin on that part. On the other hand I may believe in all manner of sexual practices, including some that might even be harmful to myself. Why should my culture attempt to convince you of the rightness of our thinking? Would you ever accept man/boy love after analyzing it? Values are beliefs, you can’t discuss one without the other.

        As I said, you have some interesting points in your writing and I shall spend a little time perusing your articles. As to whether you will ever agree to any of my points is irrelevant. Note, I am not judging your thinking, only questioning what and why you think this way. I wish you luck on getting other individuals to examine what they believe is true. the unexamined life is not worth living and sometime we need a kick in the rear to get us moving along that road.

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