Concerning new social ontology of ethnos as historical consciousness and self-identity

Arkadiy Lukjanov (Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia)
Marina Pushkareva (Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia)
Zugura Rakhmatullina (Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia)
Leisian Itkulova (Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia)
Rufina Khanova (Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Publication date: 14 May 2018



This paper aims to deal with the social ontology of ethnos with regard to the problem of “neutralization” of consciousness and the method of intuition.


This paper relies on the observation that the epoch we live in has originated the ontology of ethnos as a “cracked subject” connected with the dissolution of “self”.


The results show that the ontology of ethnos by itself as the synthesis of natural, social and universal forces is undergoing the asymmetric synthesis of sensual individuation and the act of thinking. However, thinking as some “fold” of the existence correlates with the extended understanding of subjectivity as the dissolution of the historical consciousness.


This paper proposes that the new ontology of ethnos is eventually connected with the “flickering” subject, with the “flickering” of the historical thinking and with the “masks” of the historical subject itself.



Lukjanov, A., Pushkareva, M., Rakhmatullina, Z., Itkulova, L. and Khanova, R. (2018), "Concerning new social ontology of ethnos as historical consciousness and self-identity", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 213-220.

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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

1. Introduction

The study of the social ontology of ethnos and its functional space is associated with the idea of the “cracked” subject, with the habitus of “self”.

The authors, studying the heuristic potential of the ethnos concept as historical self-identity, try to reveal the multilevel nature of the central concept of “ethnos” that except for the philosophical solution includes the level of exact-methodological solutions.

The idea of social ontology of ethnos is connected with reconsideration of the casualty analysis of phenomena. In this regard, the concept of social ontology of ethnos allows revealing new connections, taking place beyond the casualty description of phenomena. Thereof the idea of “ethnos” is connected with reconsideration of the causality analysis of phenomena. So, the concept of ethnos allows revealing new experimental data. The idea of “ethnos” represents some generalization of the pure ideal of casualty, which allows it to be included into the wide worldview synthesis connected with the generalization of the experimental data and the traditional concepts.

The heuristic potential of the idea of “ethnos” presents in the fact that this idea implies cognition taking place in certain conditions.

In this regard, the idea of “ethnos” requires harmonic and holistic coverage of the entire knowledge. Herewith the idea of “ethnos” overcomes the fragmental nature of the human knowledge. Any object of knowledge from this perspective appears to be complemental to each other.

2. Methodology

The methodological base of the study of the ethnos social ontology is formed by the idea of “complementarity”, which allows harmonizing various “selves” within one person, which exactly forms the foundation for dialog and mutual understanding between different cultural ethnoses.

There are many “selves” within one person (empirical, theoretical and absolute). The mosaic nature of the individual consciousness turns out as the lack of the person’s holistic insight into him/herself. This lack has a bad influence on the modern life conditions, resulting in the increasing of the thought by itself as the “fold” of the existence. This approach, in general, leads to expansion of the understanding of subjectivity to the fact that the holism by itself forms mosaic worlds of many “selves” complemental to each other.

3. Results

Thinking on the essence of ethnos, we may note that ethnos is not only a gnoseological subject, denoting the regulative principle arranging the forms of intellectual activities, but also a wider subject making human consciousness “mosaic”.

Ethnos or people are the subject often not depending on the empirical desires. It does not exist as some “torn” or “fragmental” consciousness, but as the thought, i.e. as “pure” consciousness free of any subjectivism. From this perspective, the ethnos’ view of the world represents an integrative formation of culture, morality and spirit of the people, growing from the presenting human being (Sulyagina, 2013). Ethnos in its social dimension sets the spiritual force of the attitude toward the universe and the potential (power) to live consciously, not disturbing the exact idea of the humans about the value foundations of their existence. At this, the worldview of the ethnos appears to be ethically colored, which reveals exactly the cultural interpretation of the outward things through symbolic cognition forming the basis of the value orientations that sets the historical consciousness and self-identity of the human and epoch.

The reflection on overcoming the disruptiveness of consciousness and self-identity of the ethnos leads us to comprehension of the spiritual potential of ethnos as the unity of natural and social powers from the perspective of comprehension of the international nature of “transcendent philosophy”. According to this nature, “philosophy does not deduce the forms of nature, but only deduces the cognitive relations peculiar to nature, to which it further selects the corresponding intuitions among the natural phenomena” (Preface of Carl Ludwig Michelet to the Hegel’s “Philosophy of Nature”, 1975). In this regard, we need to reconsider the exact idea of social ontology of ethnos transcendentally, i.e. to analyze ethnos as the “fact of consciousness” of a universal nature.

“Self” in the studied context means both the harmonic ensemble of various self-identities inside one self-identity of human and ethnos and various cuts, levels and kinds of self-identity.

This should be followed by the note of H. Girndt developing the idea that the person who adheres to the position of transcendental philosophy is in the “Absolute”, not in the “facticity of phenomenological existence”, but at the point of unity of both (Girndt, 1997), because the human existence by itself means to be and not to be in the “factual existence”.

The reflection on the universalities of culture means the action by means of which different cognitive capacities of the human are implemented, and at the same time, the “critical” capability by itself has nothing in common either with the objects of “intuition” of the ethnos or with the objects of thought. The concepts of “intellect” emerge because of the fact that “pure” concepts of intellectual activities belong to the “things” by themselves, if the use of the purely Kantian term is appropriate here.

4. Discussion

4.1 The thought as the “fold” in the existence of ethnos

Ethnos is a natural form of human existence, where the harmony of corporeal, mental and spiritual principles is implemented. At this, the structure of the ethnos’ view of the world includes both conscious and unconscious forms of human experiencing their adherence to an ethnical unity.

But, the comprehension by the ethnos itself as social and spiritual unity with the common historical destiny of Russia implies the fact that we have already been incapable of thinking the cognitive act itself representatively (Kataeva et al., 2016).

To comprehend how a thought is being originated, it is necessary to understand in what way the human thinking turns out to be a spatial and an energetic act of “self-identity” (Komarov, 2007). From this perspective, Weizsäcker tried to reveal the similarity between the dual status of the “single” (as it is single it does not exist; as it exists, it means it is “multiple”) and the idea of complementarity of cultures that substantiates the thought that “any peculiarity of an object may be observed only due to the fact that the object loses this peculiarity” (Weizsäker, 1971).

Certainly, the spiritual concern of the human about his or her future turns out as not only the loss of narrow pragmatic values but also as overcoming the stability of the human’s inner world. As the latter is the basis of the spiritual world, the ethnic people’s culture increases the degree of human adherence to the spiritual, “general human” values.

However, notably, the human thought itself on the beautiful is nothing less than a creation. The thought that is to a largest extent peculiar to humans always faces the limit or the line of a “bend”. The history of thought shows that the life essence of thought is a kind of a “fold” of existence, some bend or breakage (Komarov, 2007).

4.2 The concept of ethnos from the perspective of the idea of cultural complementarity

The idea of ethnos implies the subject with the rich content expressed in its communicative and existential space. Notably, N. Bohr supposed that the additional way of the phenomena description is some method for the solution of gnoseological problems emerging because of delimitation between the subject and the object. At that, human should turn out to be free in any part of existence. Any “self” does not exclude either smaller or greater spiritual essence of the “person” (Posner, 1962). Neither “transcendental” nor absolute or spiritual can be considered as something “self-sufficient”, setting the “threads” of worldview and the cultural synthesis of ethnos.

Ethnos being the synthesis of cultural and universal forces currently appears in its most prominent form. Nowadays, a human being keeps an ability to observe and analyze the world and is spiritually concerned at this, that all the positive and creatively constructive will not have taken place.

Moreover, N. Bohr tried to see the human forces upon achieving agreement in the sphere of the “spiritual” phenomena. But with the passing time, he refused to form such an interpretation of the phenomena that “does not exist in the true sense of the complementarity” (Rosenfield, 1963) to cultural phenomena.

4.3 The basic intuition of the idea of ethnos

Spatial and temporal coordinates of ethnos become meaningful for its representative only through their consideration in the worldview aspect. The loss by ethnos of its “chronotopos” often leads to the loss of its identity, which means its death as a unique social phenomenon and the unity of the universal and natural forces. This creative intuition is notable in the aspect that it seems to be possible to trace some worldview similarity between the positions of N. Bohr and I. Kant (Alekseev, 1978). Ethnos have always strained for the fact that the “things” of this social universe appeared to be not beyond the cultural phenomena, but “inside” them. And, here we surely face the position of I. Kant regarding the object itself as some condition of “possible” experience (Weizsäcker, 1971).

4.4 The systemic crisis of the ontology of ethnos as self-identity

At the present time when we observe the systemic crisis of spirit, culture and morality, the ethnical subject seems like “dissolving”. Ethnical culture, basically, is connected with the human sense that is set by his or her affection toward the universe and toward the infinite love, flowing to us from the infinite worlds. At this, the sense of such love is virtualized by itself. So, the historical past of the human appears to be represented in the present only by half and also appears to be some “fragment” of its essential forces. The ethnical culture in this regard is no longer represented as the disagreement between different cuts of self-identity in a person. The ethnical event becomes somewhat real, stuck in its potential to remain further motionless.

4.5 Ethnos as an extended idea of subjectivity

The loss by ethnos of its chronotopos gradually leads to the loss of its “identity”, which principally means its death as a unique spiritual event as the unity of natural and universal potentials, forces and opportunities to actualize to the fullest extent.

Ethnos as some “border” of the existence represents something unique, especially from the perspective that the ethnical culture by itself is some “fold” of the existence where its “cultural core” keeps relying on something “other” rather than only on itself. The point is the pure “glow” of human and social soul eager to cat for the sake of establishing universal and terrestrial unity.

Ethnos, thus, becomes a “variation” of the existence. To think over ethnos is the same as “to bend”, to double the world into the universal and the internal personal. The idea that the extension of subjectivity in the scope of the classicists’ activities (especially in the epistemology of Fichte), where the “subjectivity” often appeared to be the time itself, while the process of creation of time category according to Fichte was represented as the process of “splitting” of the subjectivity. Some or the other way, these processes are touched upon in the works of the modern Italian researches, finding in the works by Fichte the points of presence of existential thought, the metaphysics of spirit (Cecchinato, 2013).

4.6 Transcendental subject in the epoch of “strengthening the heuristic potential of the idea of complementarity”

This subject is not either changed into the outer “feeling”, i.e. does not dissolve in the world of things, or appeared to be neutralized by some outer or inner phenomena. “Flickering” consciousness of subject teaches us thinking by the “today” category. At this, the thought is moving, if it is pulsating at each point of thought and action. It is exactly what enforces to move the human capacity of overcoming some “dark”, which is quite peculiar to the present concerned about the direct concept of “being”. Otherwise, the inner world of the subject turns out to be aspiring to something dark and empty (Bloch, 1997).

The spatial and temporal coordinates of ethnos obtain the creative sense for its representative only through their coordination in the worldview aspect. The perception of time and space being the worldview coordinates of the world determines the peculiarities of the ethnos thinking, its self-determination in the universe. The loss by ethnos of its “chronotopos” leads to the loss of its identity, which means the death of both the unique society and the unity of universal and natural forces.

4.7 The problems of reflection and the sense of the ethnical dimension of the complementarity concept

N. Bohr strained after illustrating the problems of reflection over various aspects of human existence (Bohr, 1963; Kuzmin, 2013).

Our thoughts do not provide us with an opportunity to do something. We have to think about our own thoughts, about the situation we are in. We even think about our thinking about the thoughts. It results in dissolution of the thoughts into the “self-identity”, which differs by the focus of the thought on the unexplored and those “selves” aspired to the reality. It happens because as a result of our reflections, such “self” is formed which finally is called upon implementing the moral choice. The human “self” is a kind of looking into the abyss, and is dissolved into many such “selves” that are tangled in each other. As a result, the pure “self”, i.e. the self-identity, turns out to be a kind of “flickering” and thus contributes to the confirmation of ethnos as the universal givenness.

Human thinking is not developed until the period is designed for something useful and its quick achievement. Absolute subject as not only gnoseological subject but also having a wide functional field is far from being connected with the slow rhythm of the ethnos exploring real processes and the ethnical culture, which is really something unstable and flickering.

The subject exploring these processes is referred to the idea of transcendental freedom and to the reconstruction of this idea of Fichte in its connection with the contemporaneity (Kuzmin, 2013).

This freedom first provoked to life by something plain, but initially possible. It surely turns out to be exposed to the initial “shock”. Freedom slightly trembles in its beginning: it falls into oblivion at once, applying to the “core” of the question; can this plainly sounding sound so silently that even for all the plain things in the world can be found the fords for interpretation of the immemorial content? (Onischenko, 2013)

4.8 The principle of complementarity and the ethnic worldview

The idea of “complementarity” could become the first “step” to the single worldview, where the natural sciences achieve their unity with the humanitarian sciences. The “ethnical subject” here actualizes the core of the cognition development process. This subject reaches the state of spiritual “expiration”, when the images of “the unconscious” turn out to be inseparable from the influence of this image on the “complementarity” of thinking of people and ethnoses.

We certainly mean the “archetypical” ideas influencing the formation of the ethnic theories. To investigate the sense of ethnos in the aspect of the idea of “complementarity”, it is necessary to always move forward. We guess that mutual influence on each other of the complemental parties of the cognition process promotes the setting of the problem between the complemental parties of any phenomenon, including ethnical. This setting turns out to be deprived of any cultural sense.

Angelina Nuzzo wrote that the Fichte’s “matter-action” correlates with the dialectics and the spirit of reformation (Nuzzo, 2013). This thought appears to be rather promising from the perspective that ethnos and the spirit of people never happen to be apart from the active action.

“Ethnical subject” expresses its surprise, which is nevertheless not filed up with the holistic worldview caused by the reasons having cultural and practical significance. But, the cognitive shock does not become weaker from the first interrogation of the ethnical subject regarding the existence of the empirical world.

The surprise triggering self-identity keeps its nature. The object of surprise may certainly change, but not in its entire cultural thesaurus directed, to our mind, to what has become (Bloch, 1996). The human surprise nevertheless keeps its nature.

Though the spiritual depth of “surprise” may change, it is certainly directed to something that has occurred. The issue of the heuristic potentials of the “transcendental” subject in general remains open.

Let us first of all think about the fact that the worldview position by itself, the positional nature of worldview in cognition is defined by the positional nature of the worldview, the view of the world. The lack of sense refers us to the object of philosophy (Mues, 2013), in the form of which ethnos may act as the unity of universal and moral forces.

But here, the issue of the beautiful moment where we touch upon the problem of “complementarity” by quite other way is characterized by the young age, i.e. the complementarity itself turns out to be the unity of youth and maturity, time and moment.

“Ethnical subject” should not hide the secret from us, as well as the dreams on the amazement regarding the future of the world, which appears to be complicatedly organized.

What seems to be unusual to a person like entirely involves him or her, but at the same time helps them be careful in handling with the existing concepts. The “ethnical subject” as a purely universal subject (and it reflects the whole volume of content of this concept) is connected with the awareness of the perspectives of the modern era and the ethnical interrelations (Traub, 2013).

The human personality is connected with the ground consisting in the direct semi-transparency of the social relations. A person has never been what he/she was supposed to be. The person is not the way of the being of self-identity. The person is always like something more but having the depth of self-identity. As a result, the “ego” itself appears for the consciousness as “the transcendental within-itself” principle, as existing in the purely human world. From this point, it is nevertheless difficult to conclude that “within-itself” has a pure and simple “selfless” content. Spiritual, personalistic being simply exists. That is why personalism appears not to be connected with the simple reference to the “ego” as to its self. This reference is transformed in the simple centripetal attitude where the “center” is the core of the “non-transparency”. Irreligious personalism is unattainable for the existence, and actually, the personality cannot be defined other way than free attitude toward self.

But, these perspectives are not connected with the fact that a person is in general limited by the narrow nature of his/her cultural and ethnical position. The spiritual perspective by itself does not expand if a person is granted a higher position in the social world. The person, unfortunately, pays no attention to the things he/she often deals with. They struggle with this spirit of unsatisfaction resting under the whole cultural matter. The person is afraid of that “purity”, the nakedness of the existence that almost always accompanies him/her, because “purity” often fades from itself. The attempt of connecting the existence and cognition often causes the fact that the world of the subject becomes more complicated and the real world becomes more contradictory (Ammon, 2007).

At this, the real world itself should correspond with those characteristics that respond to the application of the idea of “complementarity” in biology and psychology (Jordan, 1934).

“Ethnical subject” is aimed at disagreement between the understanding of life as elementary and fragmentary (Grünbaum, 1957). This understanding avoids the way of description of the object as traditional. From now on, the ethnos will be called upon acquiring the thing-object conceptuality, i.e. the certainty of its existence and at the same time the heuristic nature included into the space of the object. To embrace all the sides of ethnos, it is necessary to investigate all its connections and mediations.

5. Conclusions

Historical self-identity as a wider subject from the perspective of content compared to purely “gnoseological” subject has some “ensemble” of multiple “selves”, which turn out to be especially complemental to each other in the epoch of globalization. The idea of “complementarity” could become the first “step” on the way to the promotion of a single general spiritual worldview where natural, social and humanitarian sciences reach their unity especially in their social–historical and humanitarian dimension.

The “ethnical subject” as the subject of its many essential forces cannot be considered beyond the limits of the natural scientific cognition. Such subject in the epoch of globalization needs additional way of description, which is necessary for investigation of the fundamental regularities in nature and society, and which cannot be captured by some single “view” but strive to take a quite certain place in each sphere of social reality.

Understanding “ethnical subject”, the ethnos as the system of multiple “selves” implies the idea of “complementarity”, which cuts its path in various spheres of human thoughts and actions.

The heuristic sense of idea of the “ethnical subject” is deeper revealed on the border of the “phenomenal world” and the spiritual world. It exactly means the reproduction of the sense of the problem of social and moral ideal and of the “practical intellect”, feasibility of human in the epoch of globalization. “Ethnical subject” unites in itself the freedom and moral spirit, which in the epoch of technics appear to be complemental to each other.

The idea of ethnos, the ethnical subject introduces the significant amendment into the discussion of the heuristic sense of the idea of “complementarity” according to which further processing of the history of a thought represents a rich material for formation of the ethnos idea development perspectives. One of these perspectives is the definition of the modern methodology as extremely multilevel. The discussion and its nature, to our mind, are defined by the collision between the understanding of ethnos as theoretical and cognitive subject and its understanding in wider functional sense, i.e. the ethical subject considered in the context of the idea of “complementarity” crystallizes in itself the communicative, cultural as well as theoretical and cognitive senses.

The idea of “multilevel” methodology encompasses, in addition to a philosophical and special scientific text, an intermediate level associated with the realization of a “bridge” between the noumenal and phenomenal levels of analysis of the ethnic subject itself and its cognitive activity.

The discussion over the problem of correlation of ethnical and “complemental” is connected not only with the interpretation of the idea of ethnical subject but also with the idea of “complementarity” in a rather wide methodological and cultural sense.


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Arkadiy Lukjanov can be contacted at: