24 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE9. The symbols of the disciplines are essential to scholars for analyzing, criticizing, and elaborating their domains of meaning.10. The educator needs to understand the kinds of meaning that have proven effective in the development of civilization and to construct the curriculum of studies on the basis of these meanings.11. The purpose of classifying meanings in education is to facilitate learning.12. Every cognitive meaning has two logical aspects, namely, quantity and quality.13. An intimate connection exists between education, the nature of man, and the scholarly disciplines. ____________________
HUMAN NATURE 25 HUMAN NATUREEducation is a means of helping human beings to become what they can andshould become. The educator needs to understand human nature. He needs tounderstand people in their actual- ities. In their possibilities, and in theiridealities. He must also know how to foster desirable changes in them. THE STUDY OF HUMAN BEINGS For the required understanding one naturally turns to the scientistsand scholars who have made the study of human beings their concern. It isevident at once there are many different classes of investigators interestedin the exploration of human nature. No one type of expert has a monopolyon knowledge about man. Each kind of investigator sees a man from aparticular perspective. Each is well quipped to elucidate certain aspects ordimensions of what human beings are.Physicists And Chemists Physicists and chemists usually do not study man as such. Theyusually assume that he is part of the general matter-energy system ofnature. They often assume that a person as a material structure con-forms to the same physcochemical laws as rocks, plants, animals, and allother existing things. Some physical scientists hold that the phenomena ofmind that are not found in developed form except in man, need to beconsidered even within natural science in order to explain the observed non-random organization of energy in the natural world.Biologists Biologists consider man as one species of animal, the most highlydeveloped of all forms of living things within the evolutionary sequence.Biology deals with distinct living organisms. Biologists draw attentionespecially to the extraordinary adaptive powers of Homosapiens thatresult from the extensive elaboration of the nervous system.
26 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATUREPsychologists Psychologists divide into two principal groups in their view of humannature. One group, oriented toward the biologists, concentrates on thephysiological, chemical, and neurological structures and functions requiredto explain human behavior. The other group approaches the study of manfrom the standpoint of his inwardly perceived mental states, using suchconcepts as consciousness, intention, purpose, value, choice, and the like.Both kinds of psychologists see man as an organism with mind. They differ inthe ways in which they interpret the meaning of mind and the data they useto explicate it.Sociologists Sociologists and social psychologists see man as a social animal.They describe and try to explain the many patterns of social organizationand transformation that human beings exhibit. Sociologists scientificallyanalyze social institutions as they specifically relate to various sectors ofsociety.Economists Economists describe man as a producer and consumer of materialgoods and services. They see man with wants that always outrun resources,and with the need to invent social mechanisms for the allocation of thelimited resources. The economist is a specialist in economics that is primarilyconcerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of various goodsand services.Political Scientists Political scientists see man as a seeker after power or influence.They describe the many ways, such as force, reason, propaganda, threatsand promises, and economic and social pressures, in which people influenceand are influenced by one another. The political scientists is concerned withthe accurate description and analysis of political episodes especially asthey specifically relate to various govern-mental entities.Anthropologists Anthropologists describe the many types of human beings, with regardto both physical characteristics and cultural patterns. They study thevarieties of languages, customs, beliefs, rituals, laws, and forms of socialorganizations that man has developed. They see human beings as havingcertain basic biological and social needs that are satisfied in a great manydifferent ways, according to the circumstances of environment andhistorical development. Anthropologists investigate human beings inrelation to distribution, origin, classification, and interrelationship ofraces, physical characteristics, social relationships, cultural, andenvironmental interdependencies.Linguists Linguists view man in his distinctive capacity for speech. They describethe many ways human beings have invented to communicate with oneanother. Linguists analyze the formal patterns that characterize thelanguages of humankind. The linguist is one who speaks and understandsseveral different languages. The linguist is a person who is an expert inlanguages.
HUMAN NATURE 27Geographers Geographers study man in relation to his earth habitat. They showhow human behavior is conditioned by such factors as climate, food supply,ease of transportation, distribution of natural resources, and population.The geographer is an expert in dealing with the earth and its life. Theydescribe sea, land, and the distribution of plant and animal life includinghumankinds industrious activities.Natural And Social Scientists For the most part, the natural and social scientists are concernedwith describing the distinctive behavior of classes or kinds of human beings,rather than of individual persons. They are also not generally concernedwith the inner or subjective life of man except as a means of explainingobserved behavior. Other groups of experts on human nature are interestedin understanding man more directly from the inside. Natural science is alsoconcerned with any of the sciences like chemistry, physics, or biology thatdeal with matter, energy and their inter-dependence and transformationswith objectified phenomena that is distinctly measurable.Artists Artists see man as a being with a rich and variegated life of feeling.They attempt to objectify the most significant kinds of human feelingsthrough various types of works of art, including musical compositions,paintings, sculptures, buildings, dances, poems, play, and novels. Artistsalso regard man as a creative agent, and they exemplify the range andpower of human creativity through their own works. The artist is one whopractices imaginative art forms. An artist is also skilled in deceptionBiographers Biographers set forth the unique individuality of the person. Theyshow how, through the interplay of many factors, a singular life developstoward its particular consummation. Biographers write an account of thelife of something.Moralists Moralists portray man as a moral agent, with a consciousness ofright and wrong. They see him as free and responsible, fashioning his owndestiny through a continuing series of moral decisions. Moralists describe thegreat moral visions of humankind, by the light of which the way of eachperson is illuminated and judged. Moralists are concerned with moralprinciples, problems, and opportunities. Moralists are also concerned withregulating morals of other people.Historians Historians see man as a being living in time, with memory of the past,anticipation of the future, and the freedom of a creative present in whichboth past and future meet. They try to understand the real mean-ing ofpast events by imaginatively reconstructing the conscious life of thepersons who brought these events to pass. The historian produces synthesisthrough scholarly investigation.Theologians
28 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE Theologians regard man as dependent for his being upon God and ashaving a spiritual nature rendering him capable of entering intorelationship with the divine. Theologians believe that human beings possessthe power of infinite self-transcendence, living in nature but also able byvirtue of imagination to look upon natural existence from an exaltedtranscendent standpoint. Theologians are expert in theology. They studyGod and his relation to worldly endeavors.People of Knowledge People of knowledge investigate human nature using a variety ofmethods and from a great many different perspectives. The naturalscientists, by and large, are interested in types of observable humanbehavior. They refer to the inner life of man chiefly to render the outerphenomena intelligible. On the other hand, the humanistic scholars are moreimmediately concerned with the inner life of man. They consider the outerconditions of existence mainly as the background and context forunderstanding the particular forms of subjectivity. All the different groupsof investigators are concerned with the same human reality. What, then, ishumankind? PHILOSOPHERS ATTEMPT A COMPREHENSIVE INTERPRETATION OF HUMAN NATURE It is the special task of the philosophers to attempt a comprehen-siveinterpretation of human nature. Philosophers try by incorporating andcoordinating the work of inquirers from other scholarly specialties with theresults of their own reflection. A comprehensive view must allow for themany-sidedness of man. Man is everything the various special inquiries showhim to be: He is a complex energy-system; an intelligent adaptive organismwith highly developed neurophysiological mechanisms and the power toperceive, think, and purpose; an organized social animal with demands forgoods and power that need intelligent allocation; a maker of culture and auser of language; a being who lives in a natural and social environmentwith which he must cope; a creature of feeling and a creator of interestingforms to objectify them; Like many of the animals on earth, humans are caring, nurturing, protecting, and providing beings. Most animals prepare their offspring for independence by teach them to hunt and protect themselves, thereby insuring survival of the species. Humans exhibit this drive as well. What are the things that
HUMAN NATURE 29 humans teach their children that are not absolutely necessary for their survival? Why are we as concerned with them?
HUMAN NATURE 31a unique self; a doer and judge of good and evil; a dweller in time, whoremembers, anticipates, and celebrates deeds done; a creature of Godpartaking of the divine nature through the power of boundless self-transcendence. Is this all the philosopher can say of man, that he is the sum of allthe things that specialists say of him? Is there any unifying idea of humannature of which the experts testimonies are partial aspects. A classicphilosophical answer is that man is a rational animal, that his uniqueproperty is the ability to reason, that his distinctive quality is in the life ofmind. According to this view, each of the aspects of man described by thevarious specialists is a manifestation of the life of mind. Even as a matterand energy system, man is of a peculiar sort, determined by the power ofthought. His organic adaptations are based on thought. His social andcultural forms are expressions of reason. His arts, his individuality, hismorality, his history, his worship—all are embodiments of reason. This powerof thought distinguishes man from everything else in the creation. In humannature reason is of the essence. This philosophical answer suffers from the limitation that such ideasas rationality, reason, and mind tend to be too narrowly construed asreferring to the processes of logical thinking. The life of feeling, conscience,imagination, and other processes that are not rational in the strict senseare excluded by such a construction. The idea of man as a rational animal inthe traditional sense is accordingly rejected for being too one-sided. Thephilosopher is a person who seeks wisdom, clarity, understanding, andenlightenment. The philosopher is a scholar and thinker. THE UNIFYING CONCEPT IS MEANING This difficulty can be avoided by using a unifying concept thatexpresses the broader connotations of the idea of reason. The conceptproposed is meaning. This term is intended to express the full range ofconnotations of reason or mind. There are different meanings contained inactivities of organic adjustment in perception, in logical thinking, inpurposive decision in oral judgment, in the consciousness of time, and in theactivity of worship. All these distinctive human functions are varieties ofmeaning, and all of them together—along with many other varieties ofmeaning, and all of them together—along with many others—comprise the lifeof meaning, that is, the essence of the life of man. The proposed philosophic answer to the question about the nature ofhumankind is that humans are beings who discover, create, and expressmeanings. Human meanings extend across a broad spectrum, encompassingall the unique qualities of mind described by the scientists and scholars whostudy human nature. FOUR DIMENSIONS OF MEANING The importance of this fundamental concept may be made clearer byexplaining four dimensions of meaning. The first dimension is that of experience. A meaning is an experience,in the sense that it pertains to human consciousness. Meaning refers to theinner life, or the life of mind. This inner life has the peculiar quality ofreflectiveness, or self-awareness. Automatic reaction to environmentalstimuli is not the characteristic human mode of response. The unique humanresponse is one in which the person is aware of his responding. He actsconsciously rather than mechanically. As the psychologists say, thought isa "mediating process" intervening between stimulus and response. Reflectivemediation is the basis of meaning.
32 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE As a reflective experience, meaning presupposes a basic principle ofduality, or of self-transcendence. In self-consciousness a person both ishimself and yet, so to speak, stands outside himself. He is at one and thesame time both subject and object, knower and known, agent and patient,observer and observed. This duality is what enables a person to knowanything at all. One knows something if he is at one and the same timedistinct from and identified with what he knows. All perception ofrelationships is based on this duality. A relationship is identity-in-difference:two things are united in the one act of consciousness in order that theirnonidentity may also be recognized. All the varieties of human meaning exemplify this self-trans-cendence. It is the secret of mans unique adaptability. Because of it he canmake judgments of truth and falsity, of beauty and ugliness, of right andwrong, of holiness and profanity; he can predict and control events, usetools, create interesting objects, make laws, organize socially, know thepast, and project purposes. In short, this inherently dual quality ofexperience is the source of all that is characteristically human. Meanings are experiences in the inner life. The humanistic scholarsgive a more intuitively acceptable picture of essential human nature thando the scientific interpreters, for whom the inner life is inference ratherthan testimony and direct objectivism. Both are valuable and mutuallycorrective sources of knowledge about man. Direct readings of the inner lifeneed to be checked against inferences from observable behavior. Outwardmanifestations need to be humanized and individualized by recognition of theinner sources from which they spring. No matter which method of study isadopted, the objective is the same. The objective is to understand the innerlife that is the center and substance of human existence and from which alldistinctively human actions spring. The second dimension of meaning is rule, logic, or principle. Themany types of meaning are distinguished from one another by some differencein characteristic form. Each type of meaning has its own rule that makes itone kind of meaning and not another. Each is defined by a particular logic orstructural principle. Meaning is not an undifferentiated experience ofawareness. Consciousness is differentiated into a variegated array oflogical types. Intention meanings follow a different rule from memory meanings.Social meanings have a different logic from artistic meanings. Moralmeanings are based on a different formation principle from languagemeanings. Each item in the long endless list of evidences of human mentalityhas its particular defining characteristics. The third dimension of meaning is selective elaboration.Theoretically, there is no limit to the varieties of meaning. Differentprinciples of meaning formation can be devised ad infinitum. New combinationsand nuances of rule can be imagined without limit. Not all of these possiblekinds are humanly important. From the endless variety selection occurs. Thetypes that are significant in actual human life are the ones that have aninherent power to growth and lead to the elaboration of the enduringtraditions of civilization. These are the kinds of meaning that have provenfruitful in the development of the cultural heritage.
HUMAN NATURE 33 One could attempt an a priori analysis of possible classes of meaningand attempt to forecast that would prove most fertile. It seems far betterto benefit from the long experience of humankind and to regard as mostsignificant the forms of meaning that have actually demonstrated theirfruitfulness. These selected types of meaning that have been elaborated into thetraditions of civilization can be identified by means of the classes ofspecialists who serve as the guardians, refiners, and critics of the culturalheritage. These specialist consist of the scientists, scholars, savants, or"wise men" who are recognized as the authoritative interpreters of thehuman inheritance. Each of these men of knowledge belongs to a communitythat is for the most part invisible, comprised of persons bound together bycommon responsibility for a particular kind of meaning. Each such communityhas its characteristic discipline or rule by which the common responsibility isdischarged. This discipline expresses the particular logic of the meaning inquestion. The kinds of meaning that have been selected for their provencapacity for elaboration are to be found by reference to the world ofdisciplined scholarship. Each type of meaning that has demonstratedgenerative power is the special province of a company of experts who makethe preservation and advancement of that sort of meaning theirprofessional business. For the elucidation of meaning we return to the same source to whichwe turned for knowledge of human nature. Earlier we asked what these menof knowledge knew about man. Now we ask more broadly what the men ofknowledge know. What the wise ones know are meanings, and the varietiesof productive meanings correspond to the varieties of scholarly disciplines.The operative kinds of meanings are revealed in the work of linguists,mathematicians, scientists of various types, artist-critics, moralists,historians, theologians, and philosophers, who together inhabit the world ofscholarship. It should not be assumed that the universe of meanings is exhausted bythe particular collection of meanings that have been elaborated in anygiven civilization at any given stage in its history. It should not be assumedthat meanings are represented by a Children are not always as naïve as many adults would like to believe. Not every aspect of human nature is pleasant, and though children may not understand why a conflict exists, they often understand the emotional atmosphere that surrounds it. When such an atmosphere is present in the home, will that affect the student at school,
34 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE and if so, how will the te ache rs unders tand ing of hum an natu re allo w him / r to deal with the child ? he
36 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATUREcorresponding collection of scholarly disciplines. Meanings wax and wane,as do the disciplines responsible for them. On this account, any conclusionsdrawn about man and his meanings on the basis of actual culturalelaborations must be regarded as tentative and incomplete. The fourth dimension of meaning is expression. Meanings that havecivilizing power are communicable. They are not private property. Thecommunication of meanings takes place through symbols. Symbols areobjects that stand for meanings. The possibility of symbolization isdependent on the unique human power of self-transcendence, for the dualquality of reflective awareness is required to understand a symbol. Theessence of a symbol is that it is both identified with its referent anddistinguished from it. For example, the word symbol "tree" is not a tree, andyet by the power of thought the symbol stands for a tree. Symbolizationalso presupposes self-transcendence in the awareness of a common world.Symbols are taken as having the same or similar connotation to oneself asto others into whose being one imaginatively projects oneself. The symbolic expressions of meaning are of particular concern to thecommunities of scholars representing the various types of meaning. Each kindof meaning has its distinctive expressions, the symbolic forms of eachcorresponding to the peculiar rule or logic of the type. The symbols of thedisciplines are essential to scholars for analyzing, criticizing, andelaborating their domains of meaning. In summary, these are the four dimensions of meaning: the experienceof reflective self-consciousness, the logical principles by which thisexperience is patterned, the selective elaboration of these patterns intoproductive traditions represented by scholarly disciplines, and the expressionof these patterns by means of appropriate symbolic forms. These dimensionsall pertain to the idea of meaning and help to explicate it. CLASSIFYING MEANINGS IN EDUCATION FACILITATES LEARNING In order to simplify this task of curriculum planning, it is necessary todivide the many scholarly disciplines into broad categories so that abalanced allocation of studies may be made. There is no single basis ofcategorization that any body of material forces on the investigator.Classifications are to some extent arbitrary, depending on the uses forwhich they are intended. The purpose of classifying meanings in education isto facilitate learning. It is desirable to organize the disciplines along linesof general similarity of logical structure. In this manner certain basicways of knowing can be described. These may be used to allocate studies forgeneral education and for the education of persons in their essentialhumanness. DISCIPLINES DIVIDED INTO NINE GENERIC CLASSES A study of the logical patterns of the disciplines shows they may bedivided into nine generic classes on the basis of logical structure. This can bedemonstrated as follows: Every cognitive meaning has two logical aspects,namely, quantity and quality. Knowledge consists in a relation of theknower to some range of things known, and each such relation is of somekind. There are three degrees of quantity: singular, general, andcomprehensive. In other words, knowledge is either of one thing, of aselected plurality, or of a totality. There are three distinct qualities ofmeaning that can be designated as fact, form, and norm. In other words,
HUMAN NATURE 37the meanings may refer to what actually exists, to imagined possibilities, orto what ought to be. The nine generic classes of meaning are obtained by pairing the threequantity aspects with the three quality aspects in all possible combinations.Each of the nine classes may now be briefly characterized and associatedwith the discipline or disciplines to which it applies. 1. General form. This class includes the disciplines that areconcerned with the elaboration of formal patterns of general applicationin the expression of meanings. They comprise the various symbol systems ofordinary language, of mathematics and logic, and of gesture, ritual, andother nondiscursive symbolic conventions. Together they constitute therealm designated "symbolics." 2. General fact. When general forms are related to actuality,they express the kind of knowledge that is the special province of thesciences. These disciplines, designated by the term "empirics," are concernedwith material truth expressed in the general laws and theories of theactual world as studied in the natural and social sciences. 3. Singular form. This class includes meanings perceived inimagination, without any necessary reference to actual fact and asembodied in unique particular objects. This class of meanings is basic to thevarious arts and is designated by the term "esthetics." 4. Singular fact. These meanings arise out of concrete existencein direct personal encounter. They are reflectively elaborated andexpressed in existential philosophy, religion, and psychology, and in thoseparts of the literary enterprise designed to portray the uniquely personaldimensions of existence. Individual psychology and the various types ofindividual psychotherapy, counseling, and guidance also aim at anunderstanding of singular fact. All these disciplines, or parts of disciplines,may be designated by the term "synnoetics." 5. Singular norm. This class comprises particular moralobligations within a given situation where one seeks for knowledge of whathe really ought to do. The discipline of morals is concerned with the methodsof making and justifying such decisions. 6. General norm. Generalizations concerning moral conduct andthe development of moral principles are usually assigned to the discipline ofethics. Knowledge of singular norms and knowledge of general norms arecommonly associated closely since the latter is appealed to in justificationof the former, and the former is considered as the necessary source for thelatter. Both singular and general norms are distinguished by the quality ofobligation, setting them apart from both facts and formal conventions orconstructs. While the ethical realm is not commonly divided into constituentdisciplines, such a division is possible for theoretical analysis. For example,the methods and categories of social ethics differ from those of personalethics. Each of these domains may be divided into ethical disciplines dealingwith decisions in various aspects of life, such as family, business,intellectual pursuits, technology, and political affairs. 7. Comprehensive fact. The study of actuality from acomprehensive standpoint, including both the singularity of the unique eventand the relationships of that event with other events, is the province of thediscipline of history. The historian integrates symbolic, empirical, esthetic,and ethical meanings into a synoptic perspective on what happened in thepast.
38 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE 8. Comprehensive norm. When all kinds of knowledge arecomprehended within a synoptic perspective controlled by the normativequality, the resulting discipline is religion. Religious knowledge is regardedas an apprehension of the Ultimate Good—a Harmony of the Whole, AComplete Truth—that is not contained in any of the more limited ways ofknowing. Religious knowledge is usually thought to require an act of faithby which a total commitment is made to whatever is regarded as ultimatelyworthy of devotion. In this essentially normative act all the variousclasses of knowledge are synthesized. 9. Comprehensive form. A formal consideration of knowledge in all its kinds belongs to the discipline of philosophy. The philosophers task is to interpret meanings in any realm or discipline by the use of concepts of wide generality, thus affording a synoptic view of all the ways of knowing. In the present analysis the two normative classes will be treatedtogether under the category designated "ethics" and the three comprehensiveclasses will be treated together under the category designated "synoptics,"thus yielding six realms of meaning. The resulting logical classification ofmeanings is summarized in Table 1.
HUMAN NATURE 39 Table 1 LOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF MEANINGSGeneric classes Realms ofQuantity Quality Meaning DisciplinesGeneral Form Symbolics Ordinary language, mathematics, non discursive symbolic formsGeneral Fact Empirics Physical sciences, life sciences, psychology, social sciencesSingular Form Esthetics Music, visual arts, arts of movement, literatureSingular Fact Synnoetics Philosophy, psychology, literature, religion, in their existential aspectsSingular Norm Ethics The varied special areasGeneral Norm of moral and ethical concernComprehensive Fact Synoptics HistoryComprehensive Norm ReligionComprehensive Form Philosophy
40 PART ONE: MEANING AND HUMAN NATURE DISCIPLINES ARE NOT ALWAYS ASSIGNABLE TO A SINGLE REALM OF MEANING It is evident that disciplines are not always clearly assignable to asingle realm of meaning. Some disciplines have inner tensions that inclinesome scholars working in them toward one logic of meaning and otherscholars toward another. Part of the confusion in the social sciences is dueto the fact that some social scientists are committed to a rigorouslyempirical program, while others believe they should also be concerned withethical meanings. Some psychologists incline toward the synnoetic realm intheir concern for individuals in their subjective life, while others hold to astrong empirical line. Historians differ as to whether their discipline belongsin the empirical social sciences or in the synoptic class with philosophy. INTIMATE CONNECTION BETWEEN EDUCATION, MAN, AND SCHOLARLY DISCIPLINES In this chapter, an attempt has been made to show the intimateconnection between education, the nature of man, and the scholarlydisciplines. Education can only be conducted effectively on the basis ofknowledge about human nature in its actuality and possibilities. A survey ofthe relevant fields of scholarship shows there are many different criticalperspectives on man. A working philosophical synthesis of these differentperspectives may be achieved by modifying the classic formula that man is arational animal to read that man is an animal that can have meanings. Thevariegated content of meaning is contained in the various distinctive aspectsof human nature exhibited by the many specialized studies of man. Analysis shows the meanings by which human nature is defined areconscious experiences with structural principles, some of which provecapable of elaboration as cultural traditions with corresponding symbolicexpressions. These traditions of significant meaning may be found in the mostrefined and articulate form in the various scholarly disciplines. Forpurposes of education these disciplines may be assigned to six basic logicalclasses, or realms of meaning. The realms of meaning indicate the generalkinds of understanding one must have if one is to function well within thecivilized community. The purpose of the present text is to explicate theseways of knowing and to show how they may be used in the curriculum ofgeneral education. WAYS OF KNOWING1. Why is it important for a teacher to understand human nature?2. Many scholars have written books and articles that have contributed to building and strengthening a solid knowledge base. How does a teacher draw content from this knowledge base?3. What distinguishes humankind from other animals?4. Explain meaning of life.5. Why should the proper aim of education be to promote the growth of meaning?6. How does a teacher establish meaning for living?7. As an educator, how does a teacher help students establish a personal definition of "the meaning of life?"