Reduction of Violence in the Course of Recent History Civilization Theory and Theory of Situational Logic in Comparison
- 1 Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Germany
Ten years ago, Steven Pinker demonstrated on a broad empirical basis that in the course of the history of the last centuries violence has massively decreased in purely quantitative terms. He bases his explanation of this phenomenon on Norbert Elias' theory of civilization, which claims that humankind has developed an ever decreasing willingness to use violence due to psychogenetic development. In the background is the claim that pre-modern humankind was more violent because of its psychological stage of development. Here it is now shown that Elias had considerable difficulties in proving his theory. In fact, it seems that Elias was right in his thesis, but could not actually prove it. However, there are possibilities to prove his theory of the link between psychogenesis and violence empirically afterwards. For this purpose, however, it is necessary to switch from psychonalysis to developmental psychology. Elias, in fact, had developed his theory of psychogenesis on the basis of psychoanalysis. Developmental psychology has been tested cross-culturally and has provided the relevant evidence. It is now indeed possible to prove that man has entered higher stages in the course of historical development. It is also possible to analyze historical examples of the use of violence in such a way that it becomes clear that Pinker and Elias were correct in their assumptions.
Copyright: © 2022 Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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- Psychological Stages
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Civilization Theory