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System of education as space of forming of skills of tolerance and ethnic consolidation

In the article the authors explore the nature of tolerance as the most important factor, the principle of interpersonal communication. Particular attention is paid to the questions of the coexistence of various ethnic groups. Such attention of the authors to the issues of ethnic consolidation justifies the need to form new formats of interfaith and interethnic relations in modern society. The worldview understanding of various approaches, concepts, theories, devoted to the issues of tolerance, allows, in the opinion of the authors, to determine the most important, constructive bases of modern social being. The authors offer a panoramic vision of modern problems in the system of interpersonal communications. The authors are confident that these problems are based on weak theoretical and practical grounds. System scientific and practical support, according to the authors, allows to create a clear system of protection against various manifestations of religious extremism and ethnic arrogance and superiority. The authors draw attention to the role of the education system in this matter.

Education, throughout its existence, since its inception and consolidation as a social institution, has provided translation of the meanings generated by the intellectual elite in society. By concretizing this abstract predication as applied to our time, we can conclude that modern secular education translates the codes and discourses of the postmodern worldview. The postmodern worldview, on another hand, has the idea of pluralism as its basic principle, implying not only the plurality of different phenomena, but also their axiological equivalence (value equivalence). That is why the sphere of modern education and the processes taking place in it are the only sociocultural space for the formation of a truly tolerant personality.

When posing the question of how the postmodernist reflection realizes the strategy of the life of a tolerant personality, we risk getting bogged down in a large number of different concepts, the proliferation of which is also a sign of increased worldview tolerance within the scientific community.

On the whole, adhering to the methodological scheme of multi-instrumentalism, the meaning of which is the possibility of a situational choice and application of all the variants of the research approaches available in the scientific assortment, we nevertheless focused on two categories of modern philosophy that aroused deep resonance and gained wide acceptance in social and humanitarian circles. It is about the «her- meneutic mind» of the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo and the «communicative rationality» of the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas.

One of the main reasons for the manifestation of intolerance in modern culture, according to Vattimo, is the diachronic eclectic of postmodernism, expressing itself in the moment of asymmetric contemporality, or, which is the same thing, in simultaneity at a time.

Despite the legitimacy of the fundamental principles of modern philosophy, which first proclaimed «the death of God» (Nietzsche), and then the «death of man» (Foucault), anachronistic meanings and values continue to exist in the mass public consciousness. The discovery of this disproportion between the bearers ofdifferent cultural codes sometimes results in an insoluble contradiction, an open conflict, in a word, in a relation in which there can be no talk of tolerance.

Looking for arguments for reconciling the meanings of traditional (religious) and modern (secular) cultures, Vattimo refers to original theories of the past, which for one reason or another did not receive the proper recognition among contemporaries. For Vattimo these marginal theories of the past are a rich source of searching for opportunities for compromise positions. If the general line of the development of history has come to a standstill and has turned into an era of irreconcilable contradictions, why not to consider the collateral vectors of the historical movement and try not to actualize their cultural and semantic potential that was not realized in the past?

Thus, in particular, Vattimo appeals to the teachings of the medieval Christian mystic Joachim of Flore.

As it is known, the central dogmatic position of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity. Using the symbolism of the Trinity, Joachim of Flora creates the doctrine of the three stages of history.

The first stage, according to Joachim of Flore, is the era of God the Father. It is characterized by the rule of the Law. The state of people in this era can be defined as the state of slaves, because they are moved by the fear of breaking the Law.

The second stage is the era of God the Son. During this period, the indisputable authority of the divine law gives way to divine grace. The state of humanity is also transformed: people from God's slaves become God's sons. Therefore, they are no longer motivated by fear, but filial obedience, which is expressed in faith.

The third stage is the era of God the Spirit. The sign of this era is freedom. People no longer act on the basis of law or faith, but on the basis of love for their neighbor, and Joachim of Flore calls them not slaves, and not even sons, but friends [1].

Vattimo takes the teachings of Joachim of Flore as a conceptual model and applies it to specific cultural paradigms. He correlates the Age of God the Father with Premodern or, what is the same, with traditional society; the epoch of God the Son — with the Modern, that is, with the period that in European historiography is labeled as New Time; and accordingly the era of God the Spirit — with the postmodern, the current state of modern society, which has not been completed yet.

The reason for such an unexpected comparison for Vattimo is the semantic coincidence of the characteristics that Joachim of Flore gives in relation to the three epochs, with the parameters that culturologists give to historical paradigms. So, Premodern is based on observance of strict taboos (laws); Modernity is based on belief in the Logos (and this is precisely the name of Christ in the Gospel tradition), which, in the secular form, from the point of view of Vattimo, is modified into Reason, the harmonious structure of the Universe, and so on; finally, Postmodern is built on the primacy of freedom, understood in the key of the principle recognition of the plurality of meanings and their axiological equality [2].

Thus, Vattimo believes that Postmodern is not a break with tradition, not a denial of the legacy of the past, but their logical continuation.

Vattimo is far from thinking to radically deny the legacy of the past, he only calls for increasing the flexibility of the interpreter's ability of the mind and thereby increasing the degree of variation in value judgments. Tolerantization of cultural space, according to Vattimo, is achieved through the complication of understanding of the usual things.

Unlike Kant's traditional «analytical mind», aimed at discovering the boundaries of phenomena and establishing differences, Vattimo's «hermeneutic mind» is called upon, on the contrary, to identify similarities and fix similarities even between the most seemingly far-off phenomena.

The principal relation of «hermeneutical reason» to reality, in the final analysis, can be described as «hyper interpretation». Such an attitude, in metaphorical language, suggests that the universe is a huge mirror labyrinth in which all things mutually reflect each other. An attempt to discover the last, uncontested, higher, single truth — always ends in failure, because the meaning found is just another reflection.

Giving a somewhat ironic description of the hyper interpreted logic of postmodern reason, the Italian semiotic Umberto Eco wrote: «The plant is not explained in terms of its morphological and functional characteristics, but on the basis of similarity, albeit incomplete, with another element of the cosmos. If it somewhat resembles any part of the body, then, consequently, it refers to this body. But the part of the body has its significance, because it is connected with the stars, and their hierarchy is endowed with meaning insofar as it is interpreted in terms of the musical series, and this, in turn, reminds us of the angelic hierarchy and so on ad infinitum» [3].

The formation of a culture of tolerant thinking on the basis of hermeneutical reason is thus achieved through hyper interpretation, during which people, although they do not change their convictions, still absorb the otherness of someone else's arguments, which inevitably leads to the expansion of their cultural outlook.

In a slightly different vein, the problem of the formation of tolerance is solved by Jurgen Habermas. For him, tolerant thinking is primarily related to the rejection of the positions of traditional metaphysical thinking and the transition to post-metaphysical reflection.

Drawing on the works of the Danish philosopher Seren Kierkegaard, who was one of the first to challenge the universalist claims of Hegelian classical philosophy, Habermas formulated his concept of communicative rationality. The essence of this concept is that in the case of a specific conflict (non-tolerant) interaction, a scheme of procedural reflection should be applied. Procedural reflection, in contrast to classical reflection, does not entrust itself with the authority to deal with matters from the «eternity view». It takes into account only the situational context and therefore the scope of its operation ends when the conflict is exhausted.

The ultimate goal of procedural reflection, in the implementation of which communicative (and not cogital) rationality is manifested, is not observance of the principles, laws and rules of logic, not the building of a correct argument and not even the establishment of truth; the ultimate goal of procedural reflection as a means of implementing a tolerant attitude, according to Habermas, is the achievement of situational consensus.

Habermas, in principle, revises the pragmatic and axiological significance of traditional communication concepts and concludes that a correct understanding of communication today is possible only in a dialogical manner. Dialogically oriented communication requires society to develop a new type of thinking, which Habermas calls «post-metaphysical» [4].

The rigid (metaphysical) thinking of classical culture, based on unshakable ideal principles, Habermas contrasts the flexible (post-metaphysical) thinking of the present, based on specific cultural practices (in which modification is entirely permissible).

Thus, in his theory of communicative rationality, Habermas practices an exemplary synthetic approach: on the one hand, he takes into account the basic philosophical pluralism of postmodern (modern) culture, on another hand, he uses modern (traditional) tools to solve the problem of non-tolerant relations resulting from the fact of pluralism, adapting it to the conditions of current realities by translating it into the plane of the post-metaphysical paradigm.

If Vattimo's formation of tolerance is connected with the need to «weaken» analytical thinking and create a «hermeneutic mind» that involves the substantial transformation of the subject of social interaction, Habermas's work is limited to the external pragmatic side of the question: the communicative rationality skill allows solving conflicts without conflicts, without requiring deep self-change from the actor himself.

After carrying out all the necessary explications, the conceptual scheme of our research, at last, acquires quite visible features. We have defined tolerance as an acquired ability to understand and admit other worldview positions. We clarified the system-forming function of education, consisting in the translation of actual intellectual codes into society. We noted that the actual code of modernity, understood as a set of discourses, is now predominantly concentrated in the postmodern paradigm. Finally, we have concretized the categorical content of postmodern philosophy in the aspect of solving the problem of the formation of tolerance within the educational environment. To the question «which concepts of postmodern thinking should be broadcast through educational processes into the public consciousness in order to promote tolerance of indi- viduals?» We answered with reference to «hermeneutic mind» of Gianni Vattimo and «communicative ra- tionality» of Jurgen Habermas.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the refinement of the theoretical description inevitably comes to an end when research approaches the projective part. The main obstacle to the realization of the educational potential for the formation of a tolerant personality (which, as we have shown above, is identical to the realization of the postmodern education strategy) is the inertia of the traditional outlook that has developed over the centuries and entered the nation's genetic memory.

In this regard, it is necessary to note the inadequacy of the actual conditions of the educational environment for the full-fledged achievement of the task set for the formation of a socially active tolerant personality. This shortcoming, it seems to us, can be compensated by strengthening the post-modernization of education in accordance with the concept of the French philosopher Jean François Lyotard [5].

The social legitimacy of education, traditionally based on the authority of the underlying scientific discourse, Lyotard proposes to expand by including in it previously not considered significant micronarrations. Traditional scientific knowledge, which served as a reference for education, Lyotard proposes to replace with a new type of knowledge, which he in different places calls that «knowledge-usus», then «competence».

Lyotard uses a fairly clear criterion for distinguishing these types of knowledge. Scientific knowledge is a collection of utterances that refer exclusively to the objective reality (to what is). At the same time, these statements must necessarily be supported by a system of proofs, consisting either in attracting other already verified statements, truth of which is so obvious that it no longer causes doubts, or in sending directly to the referent, which is actually speaking.

Drawing on the terminology of the late Wittgenstein, Lyotard defines scientific knowledge as a denotative language game. This game assumes the existence of certain rules, knowledge and ability to observe and guarantee the qualification of the subject (more precisely, the participant). The problem is that the denotative language game repressively refers to other types of language games, excluding them from the field of socially significant discourse. She regards them as inferior, primitive, incapable of argumentation and therefore as unrelated to truth in the scientific sense (correspondence of the utterance to the denoter).

Unlike scientific knowledge, Liotar's proposed fundamentally new type of knowledge — «knowledge- usus» (or, which is the same, competence) is a language game that is loyal to a variety of non-rational settings and unverifiable statements. In other words, competence knowledge includes representations of the broadest profile, as well as all possible value orientations. Actually the very word «usus» is translated from Latin as «use», «application». It indicates not what «should be» (the idealistic setting of Modernity), but what «takes place» (realistic postmodern installation). Thus, competence knowledge is exclusively functional (describing), and not normative (prescriptive) character.

The need to replace the normative knowledge with Lyotard's functional competencies is justified by a change in the nature of social integrity. According to Lyotard, the hyperinformatization of society led to the fact that it was transformed from a «dialectic organism» (Modern society) into a «cybernetic machine» (the society of Postmodern).

Modern Society possessed the quality of substantial identity. It formulated positive ideals and values that determined its «whatness». The main goal of modern society was self-development. The functioning of such a society was provided by the work of the so-called metanarratives, system ideologies, which set the teleological paradigm and the regulatory matrix of social life.

The Postmodern Society emerges as a reaction to suspicion of historically failed metamorphoses (Christianity spawned the Inquisition and the Crusades, Islam — bloody wars and terrorist actions, fascism — the Holocaust, communism — massive repression of dissidents, etc.). Therefore the Postmodern society rejects global positively meaningful ideologies. The only goal that it puts to itself is to maintain its own sustainability. Stability is a purely functional concept, therefore the society of postmodern functions by analogy with the machine. And because of its current value orientation, it is informational; Lyotard calls it a cybernetic machine.

The integrality of the machine, as Mamford showed [6], is provided exclusively by the functional unity of its elements. This means that each element must perform its function effectively and do not interfere with doing the same to others. To effectively support the operation of the machine, the element does not necessarily need to know what functions other elements perform; it is enough for him to perform his own. Applied to a social machine, the function is equivalent to owning competence.

Thus, according to Lyotard, the integrity of the postmodern society, its sustainability is ensured by the production and circulation of competence knowledge (micro-narratives), between which there are no hierarchical relations.

The change in the nature of knowledge entails a change in the function that it performs in society. If traditional scientific knowledge acted as an instrument for criticizing social contradictions, then modern knowledge-usus is called upon to harmonize these contradictions. The stability of the social system of the postmodern type is achieved through the participation of various social groups in the production of various discourses.

Tolerance in this vein can be regarded as a harmonious relationship of elements within the system. Accordingly, its implementation becomes a priority task of modern society. Otherwise, in the absence of tolerance (which is identical to the absence of harmonious relations between social elements and their functions), according to Lyotard's prediction, we are waiting for the growth of entropy, the intensification of deregulation and, ultimately, the disintegration of the social system. That is why Lyotard insists on a radical reorganization of the principles of education, calling for making it more relevant to the needs of modern postindustrial society.

Concluding the introductory-projective part of our research, we propose the following methodological orientations aimed at enhancing the potential for personal tolerance in the educational process:

  1. Increasing the properties and qualities of the student's personality by adding the flexible tactics of usurping competences to the fundamental strategy of scientific knowledge, what the German philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer called «Vorurteil» (prejudices). In the context of postmodern education, it means not the rejection of rationality, but, on the contrary, its strengthening, when the rationale as such is subjected to analytics. The cultivation of the notion that the process of including each individual person in the communication process is a spiritual complex of «preconfiguration» in relation to any subject, matter, phenomenon and another person about which we make any kind of judgment and will allow us to understand more deeply and realize the socio-historical character of the individual's life and, accordingly, begin to treat him more tolerantly.
  2. The pluralization not only of the contents of the academic disciplines, but also of the ways in which they are taught. This orientation is a practical embodiment of the theoretical postulate of the fundamental diversity of the world, which will allow students to be convinced of the possibility of coexistence of opposites and contradictions within the whole (university, college, school – as a micromodel of society).
  3. Cultivation of the axiological priority of the installation of understanding before the installation of criticism. As a methodological recommendation, this item means disavowing the moment of condemnation, which is implicit in the analysis operation. Traditional analyst, analyzing the phenomenon in parts, took in relation to him, as it was the dominant («knowing») position. Postmodern synthetic as an alternative to traditional education suggests starting from a priori parity position regarding the phenomenon being studied.



  1. Stam, S.M. (1959). Ucheniia Ioakhima Kalabriiskoho. Vkn.: Voprosy istorii relihii i ateizma [Teachings of Joachim of Calabria. In the book: Questions of the History of Religion and Atheism]. (Issue 7). Moscow [in Russian].
  2. Vattimo, G. '(2007). Posle khristianstva [After Christianity]. Moscow [in Russian].
  3. Eko, V. (2000). Paradoksy interpretatsii [Paradoxes of Interpretation]. Moscow [in Russian].
  4. Habermas, J. (1992). Postmetafizicheskoe myshlenie: filosofskie ocherki [post-metaphysical thinking: Philosophical essays]. Cambridge; L. [in Russian].
  5. Liotard, J.F. (2016). Postmodernistskoe hosudarstvo [Postmodern state]. Moscow [in Russian].
  6. Mamford, L. (2001). Mifo mashine [Myth of the machine]. Moscow [in Russian].