2020 Jan 09

Good Governance and Ethics

The Human Science Center attaches importance to the “complementarity of anthropological universals and cultural specifics”, what units and what separates human beings.

Prof. Dr. Eva Ruhnau

Good Governance and Ethics: Social-Psychological Aspects and Communication Processes –
Change in Behaviour

The Human Science Center attaches importance to the “complementarity of anthropological universals and cultural specifics”, what units and what separates human beings. With this head line in mind, I propose to consider the following six pitfalls in communication processes:


Every point of view – either by an expert or layman – is unavoidably based on prejudices (premises), i.e. hypotheses as the corner stones of the world view. The detection of these prejudices is not easy because prejudices are necessary human conditions for perceiving and acting.

2.External perspectives

The refusal attitude to thematise these inherent premises leads often to the fixation on external perspectives. Concentration on technical and material problem solutions is taking place, the political, social and human problems are underestimated or repressed.

3.Thinking and arguing in extremes

In discussions and problem-solving scenarios, special situations and differentiations are neglected, metaphorically, there are no colours, there exist only black and white.


In arguing, the idea that there is only one truth is common. This is the world view of naive realism, independent of the perceiving subject, influenced by classical scientific thinking. On the other hand, there is the idea that what counts as relevant world is indispensable related to the structure of the perceiving subject. Therefore, differentiation between truth and accuracy (within a world view) should be taken into consideration.

5.Reflection and decision

The refusal attitude to thematise these inherent premises leads also to a lack of reflection. It is characteristic for us humans that we have the ability that many of our actions can be based on reflection and not only on (conditioned) reflexes. There can be a gap between perception and action. We may have several options for possible actions, there is an “in between” in time. Each truly decision which action should be taken comprises uncertainty about the consequences. To reduce or avoid this uncertainty we produce a gigantic information flood, hoping to be able to deduce our decisions as provable and necessary. This seems to be like a global attempt to regain the paradise of reflexes.

6.Objectification and optimization

Increasing complexity overtaxes human beings in the modern world. Therefore, it is necessary to set standards which were successful in the past and which define normality. For example, like in classical physics, ideas of biological (and medical) normality are pushed through which are determined by optimization. Such standards are globally easier to consume and to follow. And again, the debate about the background ideas of these norms is avoided for the most part.


To achieve better communications and good governance, the following three instructions may be helpful:

A) Scholastic rigor

Reflexion of the six pitfalls should be practiced and also the ability to understand, repeat and endure the tension of controversial positions.

B) Art of acting

The modern emphasis on feasibility, the overproduction of knowledge yield to an overproduction of static artefacts (things) and of information fragments and threatens our ability to act. We are in danger to produce actions like things to avoid this difficulty. Dynamical artefacts could standardize in subtle manners our human ability to act.

C) Discovery of the “in between”

From human ethology and sociology, we know that the “we”, the group is defined by personal relations. In our globalized and individualized world, the solutions of many problems may be reinforced in temporally constructing context dependent encountering areas. In such “in between” zones it may be possible to develop and employ our best human abilities.


With these considerations in mind, we will also discuss the risks and chances of modern technologies, especially the evolution and application of artificial intelligence.


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