Synopsis

One of the crucial problems in social philosophy is that of the source of regularity in social matters. On one view, the repeatability of human interactions originates from the rules people more or less visibly and consciously enact for themselves. The working of such rules creates for a particular individual conditions of his/her own actions which cannot be changed by a singular individual and therefore may seem to be “objective” for him/her. As a matter of fact, it is claimed, these “objective conditions” are nothing more than results of the application of rules of conduct more or less consciously set by people. Call such a view the regulative paradigm of society. Social philosophy of liberalism is one of the most important representatives of this paradigm.

On the second view, call it the adaptivist paradigm of society, it is not the objective conditions that originate from social regulations but it is the regulations themselves that must agree with these conditions. People may invent various rules of conduct but of these inventions only those are in a position to survive which are adopted best to the objective state of human affairs. The results of human acts may merely contribute to the strengthening of the hidden social structures — claims more radical, structuralist, version of this paradigm. Historical materialism is less radical as it admits that apart from the periods of domination of certain structures there are points of discontinuity in social development where mass actions (revolutions) may transform one societal structure into another.

The problematic of the opposition between the regulative and adaptivist paradigms of society is touched upon in the papers collected in the first chapter (“ON THE NATURE OF SOCIAL SYSTEM”) of the book. This opposition in the theory of democracy takes the form of a controversy between constitutionalism and pre- constitutionalism which is analyzed by ULRICH PREUß (“Political Order and Democracy. Carl Schmitt and his influence”). On the constitutionalist view, the holder of sovereignty cannot exercise its power other than according to certain standards explicitly stated in the constitution; the political will is therefore in advance channeled according to the legal a priori. On the pre-constitutionalist approach, whose notable representative was Carl Schmitt, it is “the people’s will “ resulting from the collective authenticity and sameness which is the real basis of democracy. Therefore, on Schmitt’s approach, it may happen that the political will of the people may be better incarnated in a charismatic leader than in the formal procedure of voting; dictatorship is not an opposition of democracy, but rather a kind of democracy.

One of the founders of the regulative paradigm of society was Thomas Hobbes. The activity of the Sovereign is supposed to be rational. If so, how one is to understand that people enacting laws impose punishments, including the capital one, for themselves? KATARZYNA PAPRZYCKA (“A Paradox in Hobbes’ Philosophy of Law”) attempts to solve this paradox in Hobbesian terms.

In discussions about the regulative paradigm of society often a point is made that apart from the formal procedures underlying democracy, for the undisturbed working of it some general requirements as to the ways those procedures are filled are indispensable. Among them, the requirement of the genuine political dialogue between the members of the political community is put forward. STEVEN ESQUITH (“Democratic Political Dialogue”) is critically concerned with the views of J. Rawls, J. Habermas and B. Ackerman as too weak to meet our intuitions under lying the nature of the political dialogue in democracy. He also proposes a strengthening of the idea of political dialogue as a necessary complementation of formal democracy and argues that the actual political rhetoric in modern democratic societies contains elements of “manipulation, strategic bargaining, and threat” being thus still far removed from the ideal of the genuine political dialogue of equal citizens.

Somewhere in between the liberal regulativism and the marxist version of adaptivist approach there was the socialist thought of the first half of our century. EDWARD JELINSKI (“Democracy in Polish Reformist Socialist Thought”) inquires into the ways the Polish socialist thinkers attempted to combine the understanding of democracy as certain formal procedures with Marxian historical materialism. One of the founders of the adaptivist paradigm of society was G.W.F. Hegel. KATARZYNA PAPRZYCKA (“The Master and Slave Configuration in Hegel’s System”) attempts to reconstruct the conceptual road from the basic metaphysical categories to those of social philosophy in the system of Hegel.

In our times, typical representatives of the adaptivist paradigm are structuralism and Marxian historical materialism. MAURICE GODELIER (“Lévi-Strauss, Marx and After. A reappraisal of structuralist and Marxist tools for social logics”) demonstrates that there is a real convergence between some of Marx’s important ideas and analytic procedures and those of Lévi-Strauss. The author also reveals some theoretical gaps both in structuralism and historical materialism and pose s the problem of how to fill them.

The remaining two papers of the first chapter of the book attempt to contribute to the adaptivist paradigm although in different ways. KRZYSZTOF NIEDZWIADEK (“On the Structure of Social System”) makes an attempt to systematically construct some crucial social concepts from the adaptivist standpoint. WALDEMAR CZAJKOWSKI (“Social Being and Its Reproduction. Toward the conceptual framework of a theory”) instead makes a substantive survey of crucial problems of the materialist theory of society. This exhaustive discussion poses some new problems both for the Marxian and the non-Marxian versions of historical materialism. A certain presupposition of the regulative paradigm of society is discussed in the writings collected in the second chapter of the book (“RATIONALITY AND CAPTIVITY”). This paradigm necessarily presupposes that people are rational individuals able to control their own beliefs and preferences. This is what is, at least tacitly, put in question by the famous Lukes’ three- dimensional approach to power (cf. S. Lukes, “Power. A Radical View”. London: Macmillan 1981) analyzed by MAREK ZIÓLKOWSKI (“Power and Knowledge”). This is also what is overtly questioned in a paper by LESZEK NOWAK (“Two Inter-human Limits to the Rationality of Man”). The paper presents the so-called non-Christian model of man allowing to claim that the phenomena of enslavement and infuriation break the assumption of rationality of the individual. That is why rationality is not to given to people but it is a derivative of some human interrelations. MARCIN PAPRZYCKI (“The Non-Christian Model of Man: An Attempt at Psychoanalytical Explanation”) attempts to submerge this model in Freud’s psychological theory. ROBERT EGIERT (“Toward the Sophisticated Rationalistic Model of Man”) criticizes the refutation of the assumption of rationality in the non-Christian model of man and employs some Fromm’s ideas in order to argue that what are taken to be the phenomena of captivity and infuriation are perfectly understandable under the principle of rationality. The regulative paradigm of society leads to negligence of the phenomenon of revolutions. In fact, if human interactions adopt to the rules people consciously enact for themselves, and if people are rational, then they may make errors but, at the same time, they are in principle able to learn from those fallacies. The social development is, in principle, the process of learning by trial and error, a process which takes place among the elites of society. Revolution of the masses at large may be seen from this perspective, at best, as a useless waste of human energy which could be more fruitfully applied in the everyday process of competition. This point of view (e.g., K.R. Popper, “The Poverty of Historicism”, London: Routledge 1957) is called in question in the paper opening the third chapter of the book (ON SOCIAL REVOLUTION). LESZEK NOWAK (“Revolution is an Opaque Progress but a Progress Nonetheless”) claims that successful revolutions are, contrary to the Marxist tradition, social disasters. It is the lost revolution s that are the main source of social progress since they force the rulers to in stall reforms in order to avoid subsequent revolutions thus initiating the evolutionary process of breaking the foundations of unjust systems. The paper illustrates this on the 19th-century history of Western capitalism and the newest history of Eastern real-socialism. This view is supposed to be derived from the non- Christian model of man. KATARZYNA PAPRZYCKA AND MARCIN PAPRZYCKI (“How do Enslave d People Make Revolution?”) criticize and correct the model of an individual pre supposed in such a framework. Their analysis of the micro-foundations of the above approach to revolutions is complemented by two papers dealing with a revolution as a macro-social phenomenon. GRZEGORZ TOMCZAK (“Is it Worth Winning a Revolution?) introduces a certain typology of revolutionary movements in order to stat e which of them, if any, fulfil the rule of progress by failure. KRZYSZTOF BRZECHCZYN (“Civil Loops and the Absorption of Elites”) analyzes the notion of the revolutionary elite and argues that, in the case of failure, the force of the social movement may be used as a vehicle for the revolutionary elite to become a par t of the ruling class. In that case no progressive changes follow, claims the author.

These papers dealing with the non-Marxian historical materialism are completed by two papers discussing some points in the Marxist social theory. RICHARD McCLEARY (“What Makes Marxist Historical Materialism Objective?”) discusses a traditional but important problem of the criteria of objectivity of social theory, especially those paying much attention to the phenomenon of revolution like the two above mentioned versions of historical materialism. GRZEGORZ KOTLARSKI (“Classes and Masses in Social Philosophy of Rosa Luxemburg”) recalls Rosa Luxemburg’s distinction between the exploited class and the masses and uses it to draw from it some conclusions for the theory of revolution.

From the point of view of the regulative paradigm of society, the main process of the evolution of societies is one of learning by trial and error and the main problem of human history is how to discover the optimal regulation of social interrelations. Once such a solution is found somewhere, in the remaining societies there appears more or less strong tendency to imitate that natural, optimally regulated social form. This general imitation process is a symptom of the real end of history. This historiosophical component of the main exponent of the regulative paradigm, the liberal social philosophy, became visible especially after the downfall of the so-called communist systems. From that point of view, socialist societies were a result of the communist social experimentation on the large scale and the main sources of the downfall of communism lie in the intellectual drawbacks of Marxist theory. The last chapter of the book (“ON REAL SOCIALISM”) contains papers devoted to the societies that have called themselves socialist.

The opening paper is written by ERNEST GELLNER (“The Civil and the Sacred”). The author finds a common element in the structure of communist and muslim societies: the lack of a developed civil society able to control the ruling elites. This is what differentiates them from western societies where the civil society constitutes the very foundation of the social order.

WITOLD MARCISZEWSKI (“Economic and the Idea of Information. Why socialism must have collapsed?”) considers the intellectual causes of the failure of real socialism contained, he claims, in the teachings of Karl Marx. According to the author, the principal drawbacks of Marx’s theory are his conviction that the main source of economic value is physical labor, and his hope that the degree of complexity of economic life can be theoretically comprehended and politically cont rolled. Systems based on these false beliefs must have collapsed. The non-Marxian historical materialism proposes an alternative explanation of the rise (the liberation of the political power from control of the private property leading to a system of triple-power, communist or not) and the downfall (the series of lost revolutions against the triple-ruling class) of real socialism (cf. L. Nowak, “Power and Civil Society”, New York: Greenwood Press, 1991). KRZYSZTOF BRZECHCZYN (“The State of the Teutonic Order as a Socialist Society”) argues that the cumulation of the disposal over the means of coercion, production and indoctrination, so characteristic of the communist societies appeared as early as in the thirteenth century in the Teutonic State. He shows further that the developmental path of that society falls roughly under the theoretical model o f real socialism. The model in question is summarized in a paper by LESZEK NOWAK, KATARZYNA PAPRZYCKA AND MARCIN PAPRZYCKI (“On Multilinearity of Socialism”). The paper proposes a new concretization of that model attempting to contribute to the explanation of the phenomenon of multilinearity of the developmental roads of various real socialist societies. ACHIM SIEGEL (“The Overrepression Cycle in the Soviet Union. An operationalization of a theoretical model”) presents a detailed application of that model to an explanation of the peculiar phenomenon in the history of the Soviet Union, viz. why the stalinist terror had been directed against the ruling apparatus itself.

The book is completed with several discussion-papers by RICHARD McCLEARY (“Socioanalysis and Philosophy”), WLODZIMIERZ HELLER (“The Public and the Private in Hannah Arendt’s Political Philosophy”) and KRZYSZTOF BRZECHCZYN (“Unsuccessful Conquest and Successful Subordination. A contribution to the theory of intersocial relations”).

Leszek Nowak