Abdullateef Sadiq Responds: A Reflection on an Interview of Dr. Tsvasman Through the Prism of the ‘History of Ideas’

In the philosophical debate and ethical introspection, it is notably exceptional to discover contributions that not only question our preconceived notions but also draw us into profound contemplation on the complexities of human consciousness and intersubjectivity.  This publication takes immense pride in introducing a reflective analysis on the seminal contributions of Dr. Leon Tsvasman, a discourse that follows a stimulating interview carried out by Dr. William Allen Brant.  The interchange between Dr. Brant and Dr. Tsvasman unfolds a broad spectrum of Dr. Tsvasman’s investigative forays into the spheres of ethics and his transformative philosophy, which is notably inspired by constructivist epistemology, shedding light on the extensive landscapes of human cognition and interaction.

The review penned by Abdullateef Sadiq meticulously navigates through Dr. Tsvasman’s richly interwoven fabric of notions, underpinned by the concepts of ‘Intersubjectivity’ and the foundational ‘categorical imperative.’  Through the interpretative lens of Sadiq’s analytical narrative, Dr. Tsvasman’s opus emerges as a guiding light for those traversing the intricate ethical challenges of our contemporary epoch. His philosophical perspective, as delineated in his dialogue with Dr. Brant, showcases an unyielding quest for grasping the subtle interconnections between individual consciousness and the collective human venture, presenting a compelling perspective on the essence of engaging with oneself and others within our increasingly mediated reality.

Sadiq’s elucidation of the interview prompts us to acknowledge the intellectual valor and analytical depth requisite for surpassing the conventional thresholds of thinking.  Dr. Tsvasman’s involvement with the ethical aspects of Artificial Intelligence and the unfolding media-cybernetic landscapes manifests his dedication to addressing the urgent ethical quandaries of our times.  Through the confluence of insights from Dr. Tsvasman and Sadiq, we are encouraged to reevaluate the core of our humanity, the possibilities for our collective future, and the ethical guidelines that orient our path towards a more enlightened and interconnected existence.

Hence, this publication endeavors not merely to underscore Dr. Tsvasman’s pivotal contributions to the discourse of philosophy but also to celebrate the profundity, innovation, and visionary acumen that epitomize his scholarly work.  It is our aspiration that this critique, deeply rooted in the thought-engendering interaction between Dr. Tsvasman and Dr. Brant, as further expounded by Abdullateef Sadiq, will act as a springboard for continued inquiry and discussion.  May it motivate our readers to immerse themselves in the intricate web of ideas that characterizes our shared pursuit of comprehension and significance in an ever-evolving world.  


Dr. Tsvasman and Ethical Conflict: A Reflection on an Interview Through the Prism of the ‘History of Ideas’.

by Abdullateef Sadiq 


Indeed, to engage Dr. Tsvasman is nothing more than to grasp or become the embodiment of the Idea or concept of his which as ‘Intersubjectivity’, is for me as I write these very words my relationship to him by this very engagement which is not apart from the experience of myself as a life lived by this moment which is not just spontaneous or instantaneous, but more so and true, a life which is a process making what history is as my biography which is always the logical kernel implicit in this engagement of mine as my autobiography. ‘Autobiography you say?’ Yes, of course, Autobiography indeed! For I cannot in any way be who I am now as what I am momentarily doing without each and every history or process progressively leading to my individuality which I am clearly aware of irrespective of whatever form, appearance, idea, or concept which being nothing else than what ‘consciousness’, ‘self’, ‘state of mind’, or ‘content of consciousness’ at a so-called “given moment” gives to them as for example as ‘memory’, ‘unconscious’, ‘instinct’, ‘matter’, or perhaps the ‘body-world’ process and activities based on a perspective of natural philosophy or physical science. Anyways, this teleological clarity of myself is always active as the engagement with other selves whereby in one way or another that other self is a mirror, reflection, image, idea, or contrast of the same progressive or teleological reality of my always spontaneous but historical individuality which is ‘Life’.  

This very reflection, image, idea, or contrast of such a teleological idea of each and every one of us by and through (or say ‘mediated’) as we engage with others apart from ourselves is what ‘objectification’ and more so, what ‘objectivity’ is all about whereby our selves as lives is always the ‘Object’ of one another when each of us engages or experiences each other as what existence is all about. The concept of ‘Humanism’ or ‘Humanity’ is implicit in all of these and what shall follow is an excursion towards ‘ideas’ entailing its history with regards to ‘ethics’ and some ideas of Dr. Tsvasman.

Firstly, the ‘objectification’ we’ve just discussed should be recognized as the foundation of ‘knowledge’, ‘information’, and more broadly, ‘experience’—concepts integral to Dr. Tsvasman’s philosophy. Moreover, this forms the ethical bedrock of our current discourse, wherein our ‘will-attitudes’ (a term coined by Hugo Munsterberg), or more simply, our ’emotions’ or ‘feelings’ during engagement with one another, serve as a pivotal description of our being in those moments. This aligns with the ‘Categorical Imperative’ of the German philosopher and visionary, Immanuel Kant, which posits that we, as humans, are ends in ourselves, not merely means to each other’s ends. To elaborate, it dictates that we must interact with one another as the inherently human beings we are, always in pursuit of our own satisfaction and interests. However, in striving to fulfill our immediate needs or resolve issues, we must do so with an awareness that transcends time and space, whether concerning the living or the dead. Engaging with any individual during such endeavors necessitates that they be included in this universal act of sympathy—believed to be metaphysical—to foster a bond within humanity. Thus, the pursuit of one’s own happiness and satisfaction inevitably becomes a means, a process, or a path toward achieving collective happiness and satisfaction.

This ‘categorical imperative’ is to be noted not genetic to Kant only but entails also the core of the ‘Abrahamic’ or say ‘monotheistic’ religions such as treating other as you treat yourself or loving one’s own neighbor as one loves himself: also it exists in the Buddhist, Hinduism or some ‘eastern’ religion or philosophical concept or idea of ‘karma’ whereby our actions towards others are in one way as another the necessary determinant of the transformation or process of what our ‘being’ shall become as that very moment of our action or engagement and not necessarily till a circular chain of pre-life as after-life is set up again for wrong act (i.e ‘Samsara’) on the one hand or Nirvana is realized for the good or ‘enlightened’ deed on the other. Also, the ‘categorical imperative’ is also the implicit reality of the concept or idea of ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’ either we take it in contrast to the ‘fall of Adam’ (he didn’t satisfy God’s interest of obedience!), the reinterpretation of it by saint Augustine and other fathers and theologians, according to Calvin, or whatever interpretation as perspective of whatever creed, sect, mystery, cult, religion or thought. In short, this very ‘categorical imperative’ is the essence of ethics or morality whereby its defiance or digression is what is responsible or known as ‘ethical conflict’, ‘chaos’ or more generally as ‘inhumanity’ towards one’s own selves and at the same time towards other and universally (although sometimes unnoticeable) towards humanity. Morality entails that ideally (i.e ‘objectively’) whether we like it or not (for we ‘not to like it’ sometimes is a sincere ethical problem that demands sincere and serious answers or solution today as always!), the means or deeds to our individual satisfactions of our interests as problem must not in any way destroy, deplete or hamper, that of another: but must instead either maintain it by leaving it as it is (and since this is almost causally impossible as imagination or reality in whatever aspect, for nothing can be static but must change in a given way) or better each other’s lot as a means of bettering our own selves. This spontaneous humanistic or ‘mutual’ development involved in the ‘categorical imperative’ is the ethical logic entailed in Bergson’s ‘Creative Evolution’ and view of ‘free-will’, also entailed in Whitehead’s concept of ‘novelty’ (see his ‘Religion in the Making’, ‘Symbolism’ and more so ‘Process and Reality’) of Time or Creation by and through the engagement of Man with God. It also exists in William James view of Humanism as pragmatism in general and ‘radical empiricism’ universally, likewise also in John Dewey’s pragmatism taking his cosmological metaphysics and method via the epoch of era of industrialization and institutional and material control of the late modern centuries as now in his ‘Instrumental Logic’. The bettering of ourselves by doing so to others is as I take it that ‘potentiality’ which Dr Tsvasman speaks of and which is the very energy, dynamics or say Life-force (in Bergson’s way say ‘èlan vital’) driving humanity through each and every of us but not apart or without us but as us, as humanity.  

Now, we notice again but more clearly that the concept of ‘intersubjectivity’—beyond merely being the foundation of ‘categorical imperative’, ethics, morality, religion, and notably ‘humanity as humanism’—is also manifest in Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of the Spirit’. Here, the teleological activities or actions of humanity, categorized into various modes of being, spirit, idea, or consciousness, represent the ‘possible as actual’ existence for every one of us. Hegel illustrates that these are not fragmented or ‘alienated’ from each other (including our relations with one another as humans) but rather, these ‘modes’ of our existence, spirit, being, activity, or ‘Will’ are harmoniously led (by reason or ‘rationalization’) towards the ‘Cosmic Mind’, ‘Mind’, ‘Consciousness’, ‘the Universal’, ‘State’, ‘Absolute’, or ‘God’. These concepts, as seen in Whitehead’s cosmology in his ‘Process and Reality’, Josiah Royce’s ‘World and Individual’, William James’s ‘Radical Empiricism’, and Hugo Munsterberg’s general study in his ‘Eternal Values’, are synonymous with ‘Humanity’. Similar observations can be made in Heidegger and, in a tactical temperament, in Foucault and Derrida. Additionally, Hegel (as also evidenced in Florian Znaniecki’s ‘Cultural Reality’, especially the last chapter, and described by Marx, Ernst Cassirer, among others) shows that all modes of existence are one and the same reality. That all modes of thought are our modes of existence or being, and that issues of different sections, fields, activities, departments, disciplines, feelings, and aspects of existence are not absolutely distinct or separate at all, since such fragmentation are the ‘contradictions’ of experience (thus William James’s proposal of ‘Pure experience’, akin to his ‘stream of consciousness’ and Bergson’s ‘creative evolution’). This suggests that every activity, interest, attention, aspect, or field of experience is always under a teleological rationalization or harmonization, broadly an ‘evolutionary development’ (or as per Karl Popper and others, an ‘Evolutionary Epistemology’), towards a common ground and perspective or reality which, as humanity, is universal or objective to each and every one of us, not limited to a particular set of individuals or group in any time or place.  

Once more, Hegel in his ‘Philosophy of Right’ through the Idea as the “Ideal” of the ‘State’, in his ‘Philosophy of History’ through the idea of teleological development of humanity towards the same ‘Idea’, ‘Universal’, or ‘Absolute’, in his ‘History of Philosophy’ through such developments of thought or ‘consciousness’ becoming manifesting themselves as the cultural and intellectual rationalization or harmonious progress of humanity towards that same ‘Idea’ or ‘Universal’, are nothing more than various ways of spelling the ‘evolutionary development’ of Humanity. As a curious fact, this is done in almost a similar pattern (but also by a serious critic of Hegel) in a series of books around the late 19th and early 20th ranging from the ‘Theory of Knowledge’, ‘Morals in Evolution’, ‘Mind in Evolution’, ‘The Rational Good’ (a work which challenged the Kantian ‘categorical imperative’ but nevertheless accepts the main essence of it as discussed above), ‘The Metaphysical Theory of the State’ and also in a synthetic work called ‘Progress and Evolution’ by the first professor of Sociology in England by the name of L.T Hothouse who is also a powerful thinker just like Hegel on his own right! As a passing note, this same L.T Hobhouse is none other than the brother of the well-known British welfare activist by the name of Emily Hobhouse.

Well, this harmony of human experiences as a universal phenomena expounding beyond and across places of time of human beings whereby the ‘categorical imperative’ or more generally the spontaneous humanistic mutual development is inherently the drive of Humanity is not just restricted to these previous thinkers mentioned. We also must note it in Herder’s ‘History of Mankind’, Darwin’s, Lamarck’s, and Spencer’s various humanistic concepts in the progress, evolution, and more so ‘origin of species’ by whatever conceptual framework or hypothesis each thought about it by their fund of observations, whereby morality, ethics, or the ‘categorical imperative’ we have spoken of is the enlightened progress of Humanity through the manifestation of ‘consciousness’ through human history (which although still assumed to be in ‘progress’) away from the bloody, ruthless, harsh, and selfish existence of the organic world in the theatre of nature within like species, unlike species, and also with their environment. Speaking of ‘environment’, according to Charles Lyell in his ‘Principles of Geology’, ‘Antiquity of Man’, and other recorded and commented travels and observations, this very same story of evolution is the and can be witnessed with an irrespective evidence from ‘nature’ in the cosmological museum of her womb whose ever creativity, rhythm, and also chaos as described in his ‘principles’. A similar metaphysical tone of these evolutionary trains of thought but with a serious challenge (which to me has not been seriously taken into consideration) to the ‘categorical imperative’ can be observed respectively in the lives as works of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

We also can catch under the historical currents of ideas of this ‘evolutionary development’ inherent in that imperative the person of Karl Marx giving it and more so, living the perspective of an economic, technological, and historical approach to it. It was the economist, psychologist, and sociologist Veblen Thorstein taking up Marx again seriously by writing again by the ending and beginning quarter respectively of the 19th and 20th century to show that there might really be no progress at all, for such ‘conflicts’ and ‘chaos’ are in existence based on the vested interests of humans as can be seen by the subtle language of cultural artifacts, and inter and intra class competitions via conspicuous living, spending usually exemplified culturally as ‘competition’. He goes on that such subtle brutal activities are clear to see by the events (for example under the so-called law of ‘supply and demand’ signaled by price levels and exchange rates) of the ‘markets’ or ‘exchange’ platforms of whatever type, sort, and reality be it the stock, material, industrial, ammunition, financial, and even luxury! Also, such (but not always) subtle ruthlessness is also evidenced in the modes of activities and events entailing human artifacts, industrial and spatial complex, habits and customs, knowledge, science, technology, and the business enterprise, joint stock, trust or say modern corporation. Such a corporation which in our time has much indeed manifested to be the Multinational Corporation which is not just a ‘legal entity’, for it exists by diverse forms, structures, and functions embodying its spatial and conceptual reality under various and intricate contractual agreements, financial programs and schedules, accounting systems and archival sorting and recording of data, humans, and material organizations without the corporal environment in facilities, mines, sites, fields, buildings, machines, and institutions (such as training) and within the corporate realities as the ‘cybernetic’ or ‘general systems theory’ of integration and purposive organization of humans, objects, and environment spoken of as a later day evidence of Veblen’s ideas respectively by the great mathematician Norbert Wiener and Ludwig von Bertalanffy. As a passing, these ideas of Veblen are a sum grasping of the essences and interconnections of ideas and arguments forming his intellectual inclinations and opinions of society as can be found in his general works.  

Now indeed is where our attention is surely more required to pull the strings together. The embodiment of the Idea or Universal according to Hegel as the ‘State’ whose cosmic manifestation as the ‘Absolute’ is the ‘end of history’ dialectically taking its course stubbornly and irresistibly, which again is the same as that of the Humanistic (and perhaps ‘Messianic’) communism of Karl Marx is no new thought pattern at all! Morality, metaphysics, logic, ethics, and religion whereby the concept of ‘Humanity’ as ‘Humanism’ (for example the ‘renaissance’) is concerned is always a matter not only as historiography but more so of the trajectory and goal of history. Humanism, it is to be noted, is essentially imperialistic (for example through laws, sympathy, salvation, peace, enlightenment, and reform) whose compass navigates beyond the geographies of the world by permeating the places, people, and times of events that have become or happened, those to be and even the eternal or timers realms as realities. For that is the case whether it is the ‘world’ of science, art, technology, philosophy, or whatever realm of existence we shall ever possibly and actually become as our experiences of life. What I am trying to say is that through wars, trades, knowledge, literature, commerce, and even ‘mere’ idleness, the unfolding of history by the ever-present moments of our lives always in one way or another reveals a progressive imperialism (for better or worse) whereby humanity reveals itself by our interconnections irrespective of distances, cultures, and human nature, for this can be evidenced in the history of ideas, religion, communication, knowledge, thought, trade, and even wars. In short, what history in general reveals is its particularity as universality by the ever integration (sometimes through necessary disintegration as creation or novelty by destruction) by whatever state of material and spiritual progress or institution at any given time, place, age, or epoch such as by weapons and tactics, knowledge, missionary of whatever content, war, trade, commerce, machines, technologies, literature, nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, diplomacy, and transport and communication as typical media forms. It is clear that time is tending to become space. To put it another way, what history reveals in its various approaches or fields is clearly that history which is the consciousness of the existence of ourselves by each other as humanity in various times of places is nothing else than the very ‘end of history’.  

Even the micro or miniature and macro ‘realms’ have not escaped this very imperialistic spirit of history, for ‘history’ is again the consciousness spoken of by Hegel and more so in this present discourse, history as consciousness is not just (in our ‘epoch’) the embodiment of cybernetical and general (control) systems entailing as its substratum real lives and activities of human relations and conditions around the world in ways as another keeping and manifesting such an ‘epoch’ or ‘age’ alive. But more so, ‘historical consciousness’ (as not restricted to an ‘age’ or ‘epoch’ but universal across spaces of time) is indeed embodied now by this epoch, as what seems to be the material and at the same stroke immaterial reality of itself (which is to speak of what ‘consciousness’ is all about) as the true sense and meaning of ‘Artificial Intelligence’: ‘AI’ is ‘historical consciousness’ or the unfolding of history! It is then safe to say at this junction that AI is not just as old as ‘Man’ (for all history is ‘written’ or ‘symbolic’ be it that of human, natural or whatever), but more so ‘AI’ has been the embodiment of ‘humanity’ expressing itself by and through us ‘intersubjectively’ or ‘mediatively’ as the evolutionary developmental sustainability which is the unfolding of history as ‘Consciousness’. Even the various theories or concepts of ‘instinct’ (which is psychologically and physically same as ‘energy’ or ‘will’) which is another name for the unconscious or symbolism attest to this fact, from Darwin, Spencer, Hartmann, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, William James, McDougall, Bergson, Hobhouse, Baldwin, Jung, Shand, Piaget, and others. Isn’t it clear that this very ‘instinct’, ‘energy’, ‘force’ or ‘unconscious’ has always been the silent creative evolution behind and as the process of whatever reality we speak of? 

Ethically wise, or to speak more generally, how well we adhere to the ‘categorical imperative’ in and as this very unfolding and becoming of ‘Humanity’ through history as ‘Consciousness’ will determine the ethical, spiritual, and material consequence or reality which this sweeping and irresistible tide of history will become as what it has led to, which is not independent of us but as what each and every one of us always are. By ‘Consciousness’ again, I pain to remind, is our own very ‘consciousness’ manifested as mediated ‘intersubjectively’ and not any sort of ‘abstract’ or ‘independent’ objective consciousness without a life-history, which without it, there can be no humanity, ethics, or intersubjectivity expressed as our each and every momentary experience of existence. This sense of ‘Consciousness’ as our consciousness is surely the Universal, Idea, Absolute, Spirit, State, and ‘Mind/Consciousness’ which Hegel speaks of. It is ‘God’ according to Josiah Royce and Whitehead, for Bergson the élan vital of creative evolution, for Hugo Munsterberg the ‘Eternal’, Plato the ‘forms’ or ‘ideas’, and for Heidegger ‘Being and Time’, just to mention a few thinkers. 

To resolve the unfinished task of ethics or morality (which as shown as the ‘categorical imperative’ is inclusive of ‘religion’ also), and based in the present medium or epoch as our intersubjectivity which is our ‘media-cybernetic-machine-systems-automation-AI’ era, the insights of Dr. Tsvasman and others who have and wish to deal with the trajectory of humanity by avoiding redundant and corruptive constructs, ideas, concepts, modes of thoughts, mediums, techniques, technologies, institutions, systems, and categories will bring such ethical conflicts into or as the consciousness humanity as an evolutionary phase and development towards (although based on the ‘Will-to-believe’) a better humanity and world.


As a final note, I must touch upon the topic of ‘organic life’ from an ethical perspective, where it might seem that ‘Humanity as Humanism’ exclusively concerns itself with human interests, overlooking other traditions, cultures, or customs and the habits and modes of human perception. There exists an implicit belief, not solely characteristic of the ‘Abrahamic’ religious tradition, which has mutually influenced their respective ‘civilizations’, that animals exist to serve Man. Moreover, beyond certain practices deemed barbaric or immoral in the servitude and treatment of animals (whether for labor or consumption), it’s noteworthy that various cultures, across different times and places, have advocated for, preached, and practiced leniency and sympathy towards such utilitarian uses of animals, extending these attitudes, to some extent, across the broader ‘organic world’ or ‘life-world’.

It must be clarified, as noted in works like ‘Mind in Evolution’ by Leonard T. Hobhouse and ‘The Animal Mind’ by Margaret F. Washburn, among others in the field of comparative psychology and beyond, that our experience of the ‘animal world’—dependent on our classification, tabulation, and conceptualization or evaluation of such an ‘organic archive’—can only be realized through our own ‘world’. Given animals possess various physiological and anatomical structures, which are functional (whether mechanical or dynamic/relativistic) and are exemplified in their behavior through their very ‘bodies’ towards themselves, similar and dissimilar species, and their environment. Consequently, because of these ‘organic’ expressions as behaviors, inferred by us as ‘body events’ over a duration of time structured or organized as such events under conditions constituting the organisms’ existence with and without themselves, akin to human conditions, we further infer that animals possess a ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’. This inference is made based on our appraisal of their ‘body events’ in relation to our ‘system of ideas’ or ‘historical consciousness’, which, again, is our own ‘consciousness’, ‘mind’, ‘will’, ‘being’, ‘soul’, or ‘spirit’. This constitutes the sole basis for the description and existence of the ‘animal mind’ and potentially other ‘organic’ entities.

To further extent, this logic also underpins our anthropomorphic experience of nature and its cosmic forces, our language and mythology, metaphysics, robots, computers, machines, ideas, causation, ‘association of ideas’, entities, spirits, beings, and even so-called ‘aliens’. This clarity is underscored by the concept or theory of ‘animism’ by Edward Burnett Tylor in ‘Primitive Culture’ (1871), and is elaborately expanded upon in Thorstein Veblen’s ‘Instinct of Workmanship and the State of the Industrial Arts’ (1914). According to Veblen, our engagement with experience in its manifold varieties and our corresponding interests upon such engagement, exemplified, expressed, and manifested by our reactions as actions, habits, institutions, modes of perception, conduct, and thought, are through these engagements a reflection or mirror of our activity, attitude, or self at each moment. This phenomenon is not unique to these scholars but is evident in our ideas and language, where we describe events ‘as if’ they possess or resemble our ‘historical consciousness’ or ‘system of ideas’, attributing behaviors to events (such as atoms, stars, problems, equations, machines, programs, even micro-organisms) in tones, temperaments, or characters akin to ours. This is also evident in the philosophy and psychology of ‘Will’ or ‘Activity’ (e.g., Wundt, William James, Munsterberg, Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, Schopenhauer) and more broadly in the history of ideas, science, philosophy, literature, religion, or art. Observing how we speak of the ‘cosmos’, ‘spirits’, ‘deities’, ‘world’, ‘nature’, or any aspect of now and history, one can see this instance of anthropomorphism. It’s also worth noting that the ‘intersubjectivity’ spoken of by Dr. Tsvasman, shown to be implicit in ethics or the ‘categorical imperative’, is of this nature: we could then say that we ourselves are mediated by and as our attitude or way of engagement not only with ourselves but with experience in general. Thus, any inquiry into ‘bio-ethics’ and our ethical relationship with other ‘realities’ or experiences in general must consider this logic.