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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


STRAUSS, Danie. Differensiasie: Die basis van samelewingsvryhedeDifferentiation: The basis of societal freedoms. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2015, vol.55, n.2, pp.304-318. ISSN 2224-7912.

A concept unities a multiplicity of identified features into a logical-analytical unity and it presupposes the universality of each one of these properties. On the basis of a conceptual analysis of the nature and seat of the term differentiation, analogical usages of it guided our understanding of the difference between undifferentiated and differentiated societies. Whereas the Greek-Medieval legacy mainly focused on thing concepts (captured in the substance concept), the modern era (since the Renaissance) increasingly gave prominence to function concepts. The term differentiation does not refer to a thing concept, but to a biological function concept. When a living entity grows an increasing complexity emerges because its organic activities differentiate while, at the same time these differentiated activities are also integrated into the biotic unity of such a living entity. As a biological function concept the term differentiation is intimately connected to the multifunctional nature of living entities. Every living entity is a unity amidst a multiplicity of organic activities (quantitative function), which is an enduring and cohering organic whole (totality) in which all the organic parts are constantly interacting. Biotic growth therefore encompasses both the differentiation of the organic activities of a living entity and the integration of these activities. Although these biotic features are unique their functional meaning only comes to full expression in the coherence between the biotic aspect of living entities and those non-biotic functions within which they appear as analogies of the original meaning of the biotic mode. The differentiation of sense-organs within sentient creatures (animals and humans) shows that within the sensitive aspect an analogy of biotic differentiation and integration is found. The logical-analytical abilities of human beings also give shelter to these biotic analogies, reflected in speaking of logical-analytical differentiation and integration. The normed nature of logical-analytical activities highlight another peculiar feature of the post-sensitive aspects, namely that one can distinguish between analogies on the norm-side of these aspects, correlated with analogies at the factual side. The uniqueness of every number in the succession of (natural) numbers serves as the foundation for the logical principles of identity and non-contradiction, enabling the distinction between logically sound and illogical concepts and arguments. Likewise the principle of sufficient ground analogically reflects, on the norm-side of the logical-analytical aspect, the physical relation of cause and effect (causality). Among the cultural-historical modal principles attention is given to the principles of historical continuity, historical differentiation and historical integration. It is then shown that these modal historical principles are specified in a typical way within societal processes, particularly the process of societal differentiation. Reflection on the nature of human society inevitably stumbles upon analogical usages of these terms, particularly when an account is given of the difference between undifferentiated and differentiated societies. The undifferentiated nature of traditional societies embraces a multiplicity of interwoven societal structures that are, within non-traditional societies, differentiated societal entities with a distinct form of organization. One can therefore distinguish between an undifferentiated and a differentiated foundation and qualification. In traditional societies the undifferentiated foundation is found in a single form of organization and its undifferentiated qualification is found in the role of one of the intertwined structures. In die case of differentiated societalforms a unique foundational function and qualifying function is present. The state, for example, has its foundational function in the cultural-historical aspect (organized in a territorial power-formation) and its qualifying function in the jural aspect (giving everyone his or her due). The development from early Roman law (the initial ius civile - which was an exclusive folk-law) to the later ius gentium, broadened the scope but did not open the way for a differentiation of church and state during the medieval era. After the struggle for dominance (between the emperor and the pope) the late-Scholastic nominalistic movement paved the way for this differentiation. Elias has shown that a money economy (coins used in exchanges as a common measure) was a necessary condition for the differentiation of labour. The modern university emerged in the subsequent process of societal differentiation which, during the industrial revolution, was followed by the differentiation of the domestic family business into the nuclear family and the business firm. The rise of national states in Western Europe was accompanied by this process through which distinct societal entities with their own societal responsibilities and competence came to the fore. In spite of individualistic and universalistic theories of the social contract, the modern states of the past two centuries witnessed an increasing awareness of basic political and civil freedoms - all in all the fruits of an extensive historical process of societal differentiation. It is also remarkable that theorists from disciplines such as law, political science and sociology (Kuyper, Habermas, Rawls, and Münch) show an awareness of the importance of acknowledging sphere-sovereign societal entities with their societal freedoms.

Palavras-chave : Thing concepts; function concepts; growth; differentiation; integration; biotic analogies; modal principles; typical principles; undifferentiated societies; qualifying and founding; polis; ius gentium; popular sovereignty; the limits ofpower; just state; non-political forms of life; societal freedoms; inner laws.

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