ISSN 2227-7242 (Print), ISSN 2304-9685 (Online)
Антропологічні виміри філософських досліджень, 2020, Вип. 17
Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, 2020, NO 17
ISSUES OF PHILOSOPHICAL
N. M. BOICHENKO1*, Z. V. SHEVCHENKO2*
National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education (Kyiv,
2*Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University of Cherkasy (Cherkasy, Ukraine), e-mail email@example.com,
HUMAN LIFE AS CAPITAL
The purpose of the study is to identify a common theoretical basis for the study of human life as capital and unconditional higher value. Theoretical basis is based on the value-laden and revised structural constructivism, provided by the French philosopher and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, critical analysis of the concepts of capital as the embodiment of social expectations, the biological concept of the value of human life, as well as the concepts of its sanctity. Originality. It is proved that one should not consider the value of human life as capital only but instead takes into account its different value interpretations, especially when forming the social identity of a person. Moreover, in each of the value systems, the value of human life can be recognized as unconditional, which does not prevent the coexistence of such different value interpretations within the framework of one social identity, which then inevitably becomes a multiple social identity. Conclusions. Human life cannot be considered as a result of integrating economic expectations into the concept of "advertising" capital: first, expectations may well be inadequate; second, expectations by themselves are not directly related to capital; third, expectations do not necessarily lead to development; fourth, one should clearly distinguish between the spontaneous "expectations" and the values that express people’s strong motivation as members of social communities. The multiplicity of possible cultural conditions that affirm the unconditional value of life indicates that this unconditionality is always relevant rather than absolute. The multiple social identities could be used to add value to the protection of human life, the affirmation of multiple social identities is a means of affirming the unconditional value of human life – it is unconditional in several alternative ways.
Keywords: human life; person; capital; unconditional higher value; sanctity of life; multiple social identity
In recent years, there has been an active exploration of human life as an applied value. Sociologists derive a happiness index for the countries (Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs, 2019), and consider this happiness index as capital, which is viewed as a more important indicator of a country’s economic success than a gross domestic product or even an index of social capital development. Thus, human science data, including anthropological characteristics, are increasingly important for defining the goals of economic science. On the other hand, in the field of medicine and law, the concept of the sanctity of human life is gradually gaining its instrumentality and pragmatics, whereas it was previously viewed more as a religious term with a transcendental orientation. The sanctity of life, in recognition of its unconditional supreme value, loses its absolute and uncompromising purity, but instead, this increasingly unrealizable ideal is correcting by medical, legal, and other practices to a greater and greater degree of humanization. In both cases, it is not so much about the moral justification of human life as value, but about a rational pragmatic approach to it. At the same time, the view of life as capital is the view of human being as an instrument, whereas the view of human life as sanctity is the recognition of human as an aim. These two approaches appear to be incompatible with theory, but in practice, capital is increasingly viewed not only as a means, while even as a value, human life is not always an aim. All this requires a theoretical understanding that philosophy can provide. The preservation of human life must become not an abstract metaphysical problem, but an anthropologically sound practical approach.
The purpose of the study is to identify a common theoretical basis for the study of human life as capital and unconditional higher value.
Statement of basic materials
Human life as capital is considered first and foremost by economists, among whom are thinkers of the philosophical level, such as John Maynard Keynes (1971-1989). The influence of his concept not only on the development of economic theory and practice, but also on social philosophy and understanding of human nature has been made by Ukrainian philosopher Tatiana Bilous (2018). Her analysis revealed both the strengths and weaknesses of a view of human life as capital. Critics of trying to reduce human capital to happiness capital are presented by Gary Lit (2019), Director and Consultant in GL Training and Consultancy with business in the Asia-Pacific Region, Singapore. The connection between human expectations and social identity is analyzed by Ukrainian philosopher Volodymyr Khmil and Ukrainian psychologist Ihor Popovych (Khmil, & Popovych, 2019). Human life as a value is deeply analyzed by the German philosopher Heinrich Rickert (1998). A comprehensive analysis of human as a value compared to other animals is provided by Jean-Marie Schaeffer (2007) and Peter Singer (2018). David Albert Jones (2016), Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, criticizes attempts to treat the sanctity of life as a principle. Jeff McMahan (2002) analyzes various ethical arguments for and against the killing. All this needs a new perspective from the standpoint of social constructivism, in a version of value-laden and revised structural constructivism, provided by the French philosopher and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1987).
Human life as capital
As far as the economy of the country could be only to a certain extent successfully stimulated by artificial measures, as well as with regard to human capital – attempts by means of external intervention to make a person more productive have their limits. In the economy, advertising can help boost sales, but production (except for the production of advertising) does not benefit strategically from increased advertising impact. Similarly, the external stimulation of human capital cannot replace the internal causes of its development: a person must have life need to produce better and more creatively, whereas advertising develops not basic needs, but only derivative, non-binding desires of people.
This "promotional" approach to capital development is worthy of criticism. It is often justified by the Keynesian position, which views the state of the economy as typically volatile, and therefore it seems to be stimulated through regulation of human behavior.
Analyzing the views of the British economist and philosopher John Maynard Keynes and his followers, Ukrainian philosopher Tatiana Bilous states:
In general, it could be true. However, when the whole economic system is viewed as driven not by objective demand parameters, but by artificially created consumer needs, that is, it is the substitution of real market demand for "demand expectations" and real profit for "profit expectations".
Bilous (2018) stated: "…production output based on expected demand… Apart from the interest rate, which really only slightly affects the level of savings, the desire to invest in production determines the expected profit" (p. 79). It is easy to imagine how quickly an economy, or even an individual business, would go bankrupt if it were really guided by such economic views. Tatiana Bilous (2018) admits that "modern economists are not looking for Keynes’s recipes for economic growth" (authors’ transl.) (p. 85) – and it is not surprising.
Keynes’s theory is seen more as a component of crisis management – that is, it helps in the short run – as long as "expectations" weigh. The attempt to build an economic system not on rational economic orientation for profit, but on the basis of actual economic behavior deserves philosophical criticism.
First, expectations may well be inadequate. Expectations can be lowered – and this is unpleasant, leads to under-profits, but this is not lethal to the economy. But expectations can be inflated – and significantly inflated. Then, an economy built on inadequate expectations is very likely to suffer significant losses, and a number of businesses will inevitably go bankrupt. At that time, they started to create badly grounded economic projects that at some point turned into scams – the type of construction of the Panama Canal. The economic crisis of 2008 was also largely a chain effect precisely because expectations were built in the chain: some were based on others and those, in turn, were still on third, and all these reinsurance chains did not always carry with them real economic calculations. Excessive expectations are therefore very likely simply false economic expectations based more on high hopes than on accurate calculations.
Second, expectations by themselves are not directly related to capital. They do not relate to the classical notions of capital – the latter is formed by real labor and real satisfaction of market demand. However, even if we talk about symbolic capital, the expectations here are too ambiguous. Symbolic capital, however, is based on knowledge and values, not simply on influences on other people. It is knowledge and values that add to the effects of stability, but influences do not create new knowledge and values. No matter how attractive the images and symbols are, they can only provoke the search for true knowledge and encourage the formation of experiences of new values. However, such stimulating signals could be provided by other images and symbols, both in parallel and in the mode of displacement of those images and symbols that have recently appeared unsurpassed.
Third, expectations do not necessarily lead to development – not only in form but also in content. For example, advertising does not necessarily stimulate capital development. Advertising, as a rule, encourages people to seek what they do not already have and, in principle, do not need it. On the other hand, advertising can also have the opposite purpose: to teach people to be happy with what they already have and to persuade them that they no longer need more (Lit, 2019). The economy uses more often the former, politics the second. However, both methods of motivation can be used both to artificially stimulate capital development and to artificially curb this development. In the latter case, economists talk about an "overheated" economy, and politicians talk about the deception of citizens by means of utopias (usually by opponents of these politicians) and the need to return to political "realism".
Finally, fourth and foremost (though not least), one should clearly distinguish between the spontaneous "expectations" that express people’s changing and conjunctural appraisals of current events, and the values that express people’s strong motivation as members of social communities.
Ukrainian philosopher Volodymyr Khmil and Ukrainian psychologist Ihor Popovych also stated that "social expectations are directly dependent on the prerequisites for the existence of collective identity. They may depend on the aggregate historical, community experience, the demands of power, party ideology or religious faith – how we experience the world and how we conceive it" (Khmil, & Popovych, 2019, p. 61).
Capital is, after all, a value, or more precisely, integrated values. Capital of a social community is made up of its values, all other kinds of capital of this community – economic, cultural, all kinds of social capital – grow out of it. The values of all social communities in society form in their competition, their mutual complement, intersection, and splicing among themselves the social capital of this society, its national wealth, the diversity of its symbolic manifestations. And expectations emerge as more or less accidental manifestations and as more or less accidental combinations of these values, which are formed in more or less accidental circumstances of the life of particular persons. The values of social communities set the expectations of individuals with horizons of meaningfulness, and thus provide them with meaningful content, but expectations of individuals could not form the values of communities because of random and arbitrary character of expectations.
Thus, as economic behavior must be subordinated to the economic strategy and not vice versa, so must the development of human capital be based on what we believe to be important to preserve and develop in human, not that we can squeeze as much as possible out of the human as a resource here and now. The value of human life must be based on a clear understanding of what we can really do and how we really could creatively develop a person, and not on metaphysical ideas and fantasies, on adapting to the realities of the world, rather than blindly denying them. Such an adaptation, however, can be successful if it is sensible and value-based, and it is not necessary to reject the will and emotions in dialogue with the world. The value of human life is sanctity, however, not absolute and exclusive, but sanctity that is possible through the recognition of the sanctity of all living and the entire world (Schaeffer, 2007).
Human life as the unconditional higher value
Indeed, one should not oppose the sanctity of life to the miserable and wicked world, as some religious adherents and even some scholars and philosophers misinterpret the religious position (Singer, 2018). Holiness must indeed be opposed to sin – but to a greater extent, not ontologically, but in value and pragmatism: as two opposing strategies of behavior.
David Albert Jones, Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, is quite close to this position. He insists:
Understood as the name of an established 'principle' the 'sanctity of life' is virtually an invention of the late twentieth century. The language came to prominence as the label of a position that was being rejected: it is the name of a caricature. Hence there is no locus classicus for a definition of the terms and different authors freely apply the phrase to divergent and contradictory positions. (authors’ transl.) (Jones, 2016, p. 185)
When referring to human life as sanctity, the religious understanding of this quality has become less and less evident in recent times. But without accepting God as the source and guarantor of this sanctity, it becomes a metaphor that is much less trusting than what they really want to say when they use the term "sanctity": human life is an unconditional higher value for human being.
There are a number of questions about life as a value, some of which were answered by a German philosopher of the early 20th century, Henrich Rickert. Life from a natural point of view is of no value – even if we say that evolution has its natural result in higher forms of life and, in particular, human life, it is not about proper value but about what is actually a result of natural necessity.
Rickert (1998) stated: "After all, physics merely states what is or teaches causal connections. It shows that a certain event has a certain impact. There is no rationing in this. It is exclusively about the inevitable (Müssen), and it seems to make sense meaningless" (p. 377). Normativity, like purpose, arises at higher and more complex levels of determination:
It is only necessary – and more often than not – to distinguish between three different types of causal, conditional, and teleological relationships, and what is particularly important is that one should not think that a teleological relationship is already emerging from a mere transformation of a causal relationship into a conditional relationship. (authors’ transl.) (Rickert, 1998, p. 377)
The technician introduces the goal into the physical laws and thus sets certain norms, norms for the physical objects, in order to achieve this goal, i.e. creation from the physical things of the technique. But the physician also introduces into biology goals that biology does not have: nature does not provide treatment, it has the only natural selection.
According to Rickert (1998), both physics and biology, "both sciences, properly understood, operate quite independently of values. Both of these do not in themselves create any norms" (authors’ transl.) (p. 380). From this, in particular, follows the correction of the idea of the alleged biological justification of human life as the highest value:
Modern biology puts human on a par with other living beings. It therefore deprives it of its exclusive status as the "highest point of development" because it is one of the living creatures and the other, whereby a person may deserve such an exclusive status, does not apply to biology at all. (authors’ transl.) (Rickert, 1998, p. 383)
Rickert (1998) further clarifies this view: "We have the so-called 'value of life', therefore, not as its own value (Eigenwert), but as its conditional value (Bedingungswert)" (authors’ transl.) (p. 391). Life is only a condition that enables values, including the value of life itself: "It always acquires values only because we, by means of self-sufficient, value-based values, make it good" (authors’ transl.) (Rickert, 1998, p. 392). Such self-sufficient values for Rickert are the values of culture.
Thus, when one asserts that human life is of the highest value, or of unconditional value, it thereby implicitly introduces a certain cultural condition that does not recognize other cultural conditions: religious, medical, ethical, aesthetic, etc. It is clear, however, that the sheer multiplicity of such possible cultural conditions that affirm the unconditional value of life indicates that this unconditionality is always relevant rather than absolute. That is, within a certain system of concepts, a certain value system that emerges as a coordinate system, human life emerges as a higher value (Danylova, 2017). However, the arguments that they provide, the criteria, as they apply, in another coordinate system, with other basic concepts and values, are unlikely to work at all or produce a much weaker result. For example, the sanctity of life in terms of religion is something rather conditional on medicine or the arts. But the opportunity to save a life, which is the highest criterion for the physician, may not work and may not be convincing compared to the possibility of accepting a martyr’s death for the faith, or a wonderful death as the artistic apogee of life for the artist. Thus, the unconditional value of life is still conditional, but more precisely conditioned by a certain value system, and by life itself is really meant by the transcendental bliss (religion), perfect beauty (art), health (medicine (Moulin, 2016)), etc.
Thus, human life as an economic value can also be regarded as unconditional – but only in the system of economic values. Human life is indeed capital, but not just capital, and it has an unconditional value not only as capital. Thus, the juxtaposition of the view of human life as capital for the interpretation of human life as an unconditional highest value is conditional itself: in both cases, these are different ways of imparting cultural value to human life. In particular, whether to consider the human body as biological capital is also a matter of value. Moreover, only the person has the right to view his own body as biological capital, and society and social institutions (state, church, morals, medicine, economy, etc.) can only partially restrict this right, but not assign it to themselves.
The way in which one determines the value of one’s life or how other people value it can be modeled through the application of a multiple social identity principle, which makes it possible to explain how alternative ways of determining the value of life coexist (Boichenko, Shevchenko, & Pituley, 2019).
In each individual case, while establishing its social identity, the individual also adopts a certain hierarchy of social values. By acting in accordance with these values, each person affirms the truth and importance of his or her own life and that of other people, in accordance with the higher values of a particular hierarchy that is characteristic of a particular social community. If the argument for the value of living within a particular value hierarchy in the life world of a particular social community is unconvincing to the individual, then it can turn to the arguments offered by another hierarchy and another community. It is at such moments that one can say that a person chooses human life as a value not passively, because of its existing social identity, but actively – in changing or complicating his or her social identity for the sake of a more reliable justification of the value of human life (Jankurová, & Děd, 2015).
However, the opposite strategy cannot be ruled out as well, when a person starts looking for arguments against the preservation of human life for some reason and changes his or her social identity in an effort to devalue human life (McMahan, 2002). So, in the history of mankind, some individuals have renounced religion or adopted another religion to justify murder. Similarly, large social communities were changing their way of economic behavior along with changing religions. However, such a socio-suicidal strategy can hardly create a tradition, because, in one way or another, a person who devalues human life devalues himself, and thus destroys the perspective for him or her and others.
If multiple social identities are used to add value to the protection of human life, then the affirmation of multiple social identities is a means of affirming the unconditional value of human life – it is unconditional in several alternative ways (Spivak, & Kovalenko, 2018). This can be compared to the multitude of proofs of God’s existence – it is clear that none of them by definition can be exhaustive and self-sufficient, but their multiplicity testifies not only to a persistent desire to prove such value, but also to the fact that this value objectively has many of their manifestations.
Capital emerges as a way of existence of value through its growth by itself. However, the value can be positive and unconditional without such expansionism. There is a value of human life that is important in that it is present at all – for example, conscience: it is unlikely that conscience should be talked about in terms of progress, the main thing is that it is in principle and that it is actively sought for advice rather than waiting for its reproach. On the other hand, health is also an unconditional value, however, it increases mainly in the first half of human life, and further, it does not continue to increase and inevitably diminishes. However, even less health is better than not having it, so keeping at least part of own health is already an unconditional value.
It is proved that one should not consider the value of human life as capital only, but instead takes into account its different value interpretations, especially when forming the social identity of a person. Moreover, in each of the value systems, the value of human life can be recognized as unconditional one, which does not prevent the coexistence of such different value interpretations within the framework of one social identity, which then inevitably becomes a multiple social identity.
Human life cannot be considered as a result of integrating economic expectations into the concept of "advertising" capital for the following reasons: first, expectations may well be inadequate; second, expectations by themselves are not directly related to capital; third, expectations do not necessarily lead to development – not only in form but also in the content; fourth, one should clearly distinguish between the spontaneous "expectations" that express people’s changing and conjunctural appraisals of current events and the values that express people’s strong motivation as members of social communities.
The multiplicity of possible cultural conditions that affirm the unconditional value of life indicates that this unconditionality is always relevant rather than absolute. That is, within a certain system of concepts, a certain value system that emerges as a coordinate system, human life emerges as a higher value.
The multiple social identities could be used to add value to the protection of human life, the affirmation of multiple social identities is a means of affirming the unconditional value of human life – it is unconditional in several alternative ways. If the argument for the value of living within a particular value hierarchy in the life world of a particular social community is unconvincing to the individual, then it can turn to the arguments offered by another hierarchy and another community.
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email@example.com, ORCID 0000-0001-9980-4372
ЛЮДСЬКЕ ЖИТТЯ ЯК КАПІТАЛ
Метою дослідження є виявлення спільної теоретичної основи для вивчення людського життя як капіталу і безумовної вищої цінності. Теоретичний базис дослідження базується на ціннісно-переглянутому структурному конструктивізмі, наданому французьким філософом та соціологом П’єром Бурдьє, критичному аналізі концепцій капіталу як втілення соціальних очікувань, біологістичної концепції цінності людського життя, а також концепцій його святості. Наукова новизна. Доведено, що не варто розглядати цінність людського життя лише як капіталу, натомість слід враховувати різні його ціннісні інтерпретації, особливо – під час формування соціальної ідентичності особистості. Причому в кожній з ціннісних систем цінність людського життя може бути визнана як безумовна, що не перешкоджає співіснуванню таких різних її ціннісних інтерпретацій в рамках однієї соціальної ідентичності, яка тоді неминуче стає множинною соціальною ідентичністю. Висновки. Людське життя не можна розглядати як результат інтегрування економічних очікувань у концепт "рекламного" капіталу: по-перше, очікування цілком можуть бути неадекватними; по-друге, самі по собі очікування не мають прямого стосунку до капіталу; по-третє, очікування зовсім не обов’язково ведуть до розвитку; по-четверте, слід чітко відрізняти стихійні "очікування" від цінностей, які виражають стійку мотивацію людей як членів соціальних спільнот. Множинність можливих культурних умов, які утверджують безумовність цінності життя, свідчить про те, що ця безумовність завжди є релевантною, а не абсолютною. Множинну соціальну ідентичність можна використовувати для того, щоб краще захистити людське життя, додати йому цінності, а утвердження множинної соціальної ідентичності постає як спосіб підтвердження безумовної цінності людського життя у варіативні способи.
Ключові слова: життя людини; особистість; капітал; безумовна вища цінність; святість життя; множинна соціальна ідентичність
Н. М. БОЙЧЕНКО1*, З. В. ШЕВЧЕНКО2*
медицинская академия последипломного
образования имени П. Л. Шупика (Киев,
эл. почта firstname.lastname@example.org, ORCID 0000-0001-8793-7776
2*Черкасский национальный университет имени Богдана Хмельницкого (Черкассы, Украина), эл. почта
email@example.com, ORCID 0000-0001-9980-4372
ЧЕЛОВЕЧЕСКАЯ ЖИЗНЬ КАК КАПИТАЛ
Целью исследования является выявление общей теоретической основы для изучения человеческой жизни как капитала и безусловной высшей ценности. Теоретический базис исследования базируется на ценностно-пересмотренном структурном конструктивизме, предоставленном французским философом и социологом Пьером Бурдье, критическом анализе концепций капитала как воплощении социальных ожиданий, биологистической концепции ценности человеческой жизни, а также концепций его святости. Научная новизна. Доказано, что не стоит рассматривать ценность человеческой жизни только как капитал, взамен следует учитывать различные его ценностные интерпретации, особенно – при формировании социальной идентичности личности. Причем в каждой из ценностных систем ценность человеческой жизни может быть признана как безусловная, что не препятствует сосуществованию таких разных ее ценностных интерпретаций в рамках одной социальной идентичности, которая тогда неизбежно становится множественной социальной идентичностью. Выводы. Человеческую жизнь нельзя рассматривать как результат интегрирования экономических ожиданий в концепт "рекламного" капитала: во-первых, ожидания вполне могут быть неадекватными; во-вторых, сами по себе ожидания не имеют прямого отношения к капиталу; в-третьих, ожидания совсем не обязательно ведут к развитию; в-четвертых, следует четко отличать стихийные "ожидания" от ценностей, которые выражают устойчивую мотивацию людей как членов социальных сообществ. Множественность возможных культурных условий, утверждающих безусловность ценности жизни, свидетельствует о том, что эта безусловность всегда является релевантной, а не абсолютной. Множественную социальную идентичность можно использовать для того, чтобы лучше защитить человеческую жизнь, придать ей ценность, а утверждение множественной социальной идентичности выступает как способ подтверждения безусловной ценности человеческой жизни вариативными способами.
Ключевые слова: жизнь человека; личность; капитал; безусловная высшая ценность; святость жизни; множественная социальная идентичность
© N. M. Boichenko, Z. V. Shevchenko, 2020
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.