Научная статья на тему 'Subjectness as Possibleness'

Subjectness as Possibleness Текст научной статьи по специальности «Философия, этика, религиоведение»

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Ключевые слова
causa sui / subjectness / possibilities / omnipotence / possibleness / possibleness optimum / rational subject / acquisition / appropriation / mono-personality / binary personality / ternary personality / multi-subject organization of personality / L. Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory / causa sui / субъектность / возможности / могущество / состоятельность / оптимум состоятельности / рациональный субъект / присвоение / высвоение / моноличность / бинарная личность / тернарная личность / мультисубъектная организация личности / культурно-историческая теория Л.C. Выготского.

Аннотация научной статьи по философии, этике, религиоведению, автор научной работы — Petrovskiy Vadim A.

The author understands the subject in general as the cause of oneself and determines the subjectnessof an individual as their ability to be both the source and the result of their own activities.In the present work, the author answers the following question: What is the subject of reproductionin an individual? In comparison with an earlier interpretation of subjectness, the scope ofrevealed causa sui is specified: possibilities of an individual are discerned which are implementedand acquired by them in the process of activity. The Subject is not the one who has achieved butthe one who does everything to achieve. Being the Subject means to produce possibilities ofachieving. The criterion of subjectness is the correspondence between the opportunities investedin the process, and the opportunities accumulated in the process of achieving. This way subjectnessis determined as the art of dealing with own current possibilities, thus ensuring their extensivereproduction. In the meantime it is postulated that the total amount of potential possibilitiesof an individual is unlimited (the metaphor of an infinite-dimensional cube is taken). Possibilitesare appropriated (M. Heidegger) in the process of an individual’s interaction with environment.They not only contribute to achieving of any other purposes, but they themselves form the goalsguiding the activity. There are various possibilities, internal and external, obvious and hidden,newly acquired and actualized, opportunities of support and opportunities of desire. The followingis accepted: the higher the level of obvious (manifested) possibilities (I can), the stronger theurge to implement them (I want) (thus not only I want causes I can, but I can challenges I want).The dynamic unity of I can and I want forms the essence of what the author determines asPossibleness of an individual; we mean the possibilities that an individual does not only have butexperiences them as existing in him. Possibleness is an experienced feasibility of possibilities.There are conditions of the Possibleness optimum that are based on the mathematical model ofPossibleness combining ideas of the variety of possibilities. In this context, subjectness is definedas the Possibleness that meets the optimum criteria (“Get your investments repaid”, “Be efficient”,“Save up”, “Do not skimp on efforts”). An obvious consequence of accepting the Possibleness model is the transition to multi-subject models of personality: they allow to realizethe Possibleness optimum conditions in those cases when the one-to-one with the world interactionimpedes revealing of subjectness (limited resources of the environment, lack or surplus ofdesires). There are several models of subject assemblies: self-employed farmer, author — expert,leader — partners, and master — worker. There are some numerical examples given illustratingthe effect of achieving the Possibleness optimum in various forms of subject assemblies. In accordancewith the law of development of higher mental functions (according to L. Vygotsky) ahypothetical attempt is made to describe the structure of an individual’s personality as a resultof interiorization of various subject assemblies. From this point of view we have considered somemanifestations of an individual’s self-regulation (taking such forms as volitional, semantic, target-oriented, and operational) when solving a problem to one’s taste. The empirical researchshows that in the process of solving such problems each of the inner subjects included in the personality(Autocratic I, With One Other, I Myself, and Capable I) reaches a compliance of theindividual’s ambitions and the acquired possibilities. Three variants of the subject organizationof personality are described: mono-personality, binary personality, and ternary personality. Bothhypothetical and real-life examples of functioning of the individual’s Possibleness model aredrawn for different variants of the subject organization of personality. The models presented arethe model of an ideal negotiator (Trust, but verify! — How much?), the model of hope and disappointmentin love, the model of the triumvirate of subjects, the reinterpreting model of risktakingby J. Atkinson. The culture presented to an individual in the form of symbolic interactionsbetween different Is (as society in one’s head), is interpreted as a condition for achieving thePossibleness optimum which implies a different level of subject complexity for every personalityconstruction (binary, ternary, tetrary etc.).

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Текст научной работы на тему «Subjectness as Possibleness»

Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics. 2015. Vol. 12. N 3. P 86-130.




Petrovskiy Vadim A. — professor, School of psychology, HSE, D.Sc. E-mail: petrowskiy@mail.ru

Address: 20 Myasnitskaya str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation


The author understands the subject in general as the cause of oneself and determines the subjectness of an individual as their ability to be both the source and the result of their own activities. In the present work, the author answers the following question: What is the subject of reproduction in an individual? In comparison with an earlier interpretation of subjectness, the scope of revealed causa sui is specified: possibilities of an individual are discerned which are implemented and acquired by them in the process of activity. The Subject is not the one who has achieved but the one who does everything to achieve. Being the Subject means to produce possibilities of achieving. The criterion of subjectness is the correspondence between the opportunities invested in the process, and the opportunities accumulated in the process of achieving. This way subjectness is determined as the art of dealing with own current possibilities, thus ensuring their extensive reproduction. In the meantime it is postulated that the total amount of potential possibilities of an individual is unlimited (the metaphor of an infinite-dimensional cube is taken). Possibilites are appropriated (M. Heidegger) in the process of an individual’s interaction with environment. They not only contribute to achieving of any other purposes, but they themselves form the goals guiding the activity. There are various possibilities, internal and external, obvious and hidden, newly acquired and actualized, opportunities of support and opportunities of desire. The following is accepted: the higher the level of obvious (manifested) possibilities (I can), the stronger the urge to implement them (I want) (thus not only I want causes I can, but I can challenges I want). The dynamic unity of I can and I want forms the essence of what the author determines as Possibleness of an individual; we mean the possibilities that an individual does not only have but experiences them as existing in him. Possibleness is an experienced feasibility of possibilities. There are conditions of the Possibleness optimum that are based on the mathematical model of Possibleness combining ideas of the variety of possibilities. In this context, subjectness is defined as the Possibleness that meets the optimum criteria (“Get your investments repaid”, “Be efficient”, “Save up”, “Do not skimp on efforts”). An obvious consequence of accepting the

Subjectness as Possibleness


Possibleness model is the transition to multi-subject models of personality: they allow to realize the Possibleness optimum conditions in those cases when the one-to-one with the world interaction impedes revealing of subjectness (limited resources of the environment, lack or surplus of desires). There are several models of subject assemblies: self-employed farmer, author — expert, leader — partners, and master — worker. There are some numerical examples given illustrating the effect of achieving the Possibleness optimum in various forms of subject assemblies. In accordance with the law of development of higher mental functions (according to L. Vygotsky) a hypothetical attempt is made to describe the structure of an individual’s personality as a result of interiorization of various subject assemblies. From this point of view we have considered some manifestations of an individual’s self-regulation (taking such forms as volitional, semantic, target-oriented, and operational) when solving a problem to one’s taste. The empirical research shows that in the process of solving such problems each of the inner subjects included in the personality (Autocratic I, With One Other, I Myself, and Capable I) reaches a compliance of the individual’s ambitions and the acquired possibilities. Three variants of the subject organization of personality are described: mono-personality, binary personality, and ternary personality. Both hypothetical and real-life examples of functioning of the individual’s Possibleness model are drawn for different variants of the subject organization of personality. The models presented are the model of an ideal negotiator (Trust, but verify! — How much?), the model of hope and disappointment in love, the model of the triumvirate of subjects, the reinterpreting model of risktaking by J. Atkinson. The culture presented to an individual in the form of symbolic interactions between different Is (as society in one’s head), is interpreted as a condition for achieving the Possibleness optimum which implies a different level of subject complexity for every personality construction (binary, ternary, tetrary etc.).

Keywords: causa sui, subjectness, possibilities, omnipotence, possibleness, possibleness optimum, rational subject, acquisition, appropriation, mono-personality, binary personality, ternary personality, multi-subject organization of personality, L. Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory.

Subjectness: What does it mean?

A quarter century ago, in Soviet psychology there was no debate about subjectness. The adjective subject (which typists and typesetters persistently confused with subjective) was not burdened yet with the suffix -ivity. So, when the author of these lines was defending his doctoral dissertation (“The Phenomenon of Subjectness in the Psychology of Personality”) (Petrovskiy, 1992b), the first opponent,

for all his benevolence, greeted the birth of the term, lamenting not without irony: “Oh, again this -ivity and similar! They would always come with not ‘worth’ but ‘worthiness’, not ‘person’ but ‘personhood’, and now no longer ‘subject’ but ‘subjectness’...” The expert’s words sounded something like this. His name was Igor Kon, whose authority I have always looked on as indisputable1. In my mind, I keep talking to my opponent, stating that the term subjectness is indispensable, that it

1 It is interesting that long before writing my doctoral thesis, I read in an article by I. Kon that V. Petrovskiy had proposed a concept of supra situational activity where for the first time the emphasis is made on subject but not only on the object determination of activity. The feeling that I had been


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is intended to point out at what is inevitably missed when the word subject is used frequently and indiscriminately, while the specificity of the subject as such is replaced either with some vague notions of the individual, the person, or personality, or with what nowadays, in the western way, is called the agent of activity (or, raising the rank of generality, the agence (from Latin, agentis))2.

But the quarter of a century has passed. The attitude of psychologists to the problem of subjectness has changed. There are conferences on subjectness held; there are journals published, special issues of which are constructed under the symbol of subjectness; there are theses defended with titles including the term; there are monographs written on subjectness. The number of

mentions of the term subjectness is growing from year to year (we shall not draw a diagram proving that here, although the picture is convincing that subjectness cannot feel as an intruder in the science). Today eLibrary.ru contains data on more than 6000 publications centered around “subjectness”.

However, this does not mean that the idea of “subjectness” has been sufficiently clarified in theory and properly correlated with other aspects of the individual’s existence in the world. Obviously the starting point of defining the term should be certain understanding of the subject as such — a pure subject, not shaded by empirical forms of its manifestations.

The abstract understanding of the subject (which is basic for us) is that the latter is the cause of itself (causa

heard and understood “by Kon himself” gave some strength to me, a future doctoral student, in an effort to, as they now say, “position” the idea of subjectness as referred to problems stated within the psychology of personality. Citing these memorable to me, but possibly excessive from the point of view of the reader, autobiographical details, I can’t help mentioning my second opponent, the brilliant Oleg Konopkin. His review (a text on 16 typewritten pages, the abridged version of it was later published in Voprosy Psikhologii (Issues of Psychology) Journal (Konopkin, 1994)) stated that the problem of the human personality “in terms of its subject characteristics, its true subject potentials and real-world phenomena of subjectness ... is the key one in the study of the laws of individual, private forms of arbitrary human activity.” “In psychological science,” wrote O. Konopkin, “we more and more clearly feel and are aware of the need to overcome inconsistencies and disparities between the general methodological provisions of the individual as of the real subject of his activity, of the freedom of effective will expression by man, of the creative potential of personality in all its subject manifestations etc., on the one hand, and the apparent depletion and reduction of these provisions in particular the concepts of specific forms of subject activity (and, especially, in the applied research of specific activities), on the other...” A particular point was made on the “substantial novelty of baseline positions, approaches and research aspects dealing with “the phenomenon of subjectness in the psychology of personality”, which implement in their entirety the original concept, which substantively justifies and reveals the phenomenon of subjectness as an essential characteristic of the human personality, of his personal existence”. O. Konopkin noted that in this way, “a special subject area of psychological study of personality” is discovered” (ibid, p. 148).

2 A detailed analysis of logic and semantic aspects of the problem of subject is available in the book by V. Descombes (Descombes, 2004).

Subjectness as Possibleness


sui), i.e. something that is both the source and the result of its own existence in the world. With regard to the human individual, the subject is the source and the result of the individual’s thoughts, feelings, moods, wishes, conscious and unconscious attitudes, produced actions, as well as his bodily integrity, performed social roles, spiritual quests and deeds. There is no doubt that this list of forms of the human individual’s existence can be continued. But not for a moment should we lose sight of the fact that the subject is the cause and effect of all the above, and thus subjectness is a special property of the individual, not identical and not equal to other forms of his existence.

The problem, however, is whether there is the subject in reality (and not only as pure something that dwells in culture marked as the subject). Or — more accurately — whether the human individual can claim to bear the proud name of the subject? At this point, there are grounds for doubt. Earlier we have presented some critical arguments (how holistic the individual is as a subject? How feasible his goals are? How free he is? Is he evolving? But answers to these and other questions, as we have shown, are ambiguous (Petrovskiy, 2010b, pp. 462-502).

We should mention some more reasons for doubt. For example, let us take a fact of the birth of a human child, its biological maturation and growth: is the child born the “cause and effect” of itself or, after all, have there been some other people, “in a certain way” involved in its birth? Or, let us say, is an individual the cause and effect of all his thoughts and feelings? Or, perhaps, there is something else that is involved in his thoughts and experiences independently of him? And what about the appearance? Income? Social status? Is all this only a function of the individual’s own activity? Should we say the ancient Greeks were in a way right as they believed that a person gains, with after being born (I would say, as his dowry), something, which he cannot afford to cancel in himself3? Finally, was the uncompromising and passionate Ehrhardt, the founder of the EST training, right in his statement, addressed to one and all: “You are God in your universe!”? In fact, all these are some rhetorical questions with the predetermined answer “No.”4

What is subjectness as such if we assume that its bearer is a human individual? We believe that it is an individual’s involvement in the production, accumulation and use of his own possibilities of existence in the world5. Once

3 Epictetus recommends to treat oneself the following way: “If you want to be a warrior, look at your shoulders, hips, lower back. For one person has a natural predisposition to one and another — to the other” (Laurent, 2012, p. 40).

4 However, when a scientific romantic youth the author used to think (or, rather, wanted to think) that the human being in all respects is “the reason for itself”. I would like to think like that now too, but I cannot, as both all known achievements in the field of psychogenetics, as well as my personal experience of counseling significantly limit my faith in the all-embracing idea of causa sui applied to the individual. If we take it totally and accept causa sui, then only in a historical perspective.

5 The amount of mastered possibilities can be compared to a settle-in space, to the total area belonging to man and the world. In a mathematical sense it is a multidimensional cube. Due to a number of


V.A. Petrovskiy

again, we are talking about possibilities of thinking, feeling, perceiving, lasting one’s life, staying healthy, being embodied into others, and as we will see later, having possibilities as such, present in the sense “I can” (= “I can do everything”6). “I” of an individual is a “bundle of possibilities implemented outwardly”; “the basic need of human existence is to develop these possibilities”; “The Subject of activity is a bearer of possibilities embodied outwardly” (Petrovskiy, 2009b, pp. 25-43).

Possibilities: instrumentality and self-value

It is implied that people cannot directly program their thoughts, manage their feelings, control their flow of life, etc., but they are able to produce and reproduce possibilities for all that to happen. Things, that must be dealt

with, usually exist packed as opportunities and these opportunities are to be opened. This is an instrumental function of possibilities.

But the opportunities make up part of our power, and in this respect they are not only means of achieving something different than they are themselves, in other words, they are not just instrumental, but they have value, they are valuable in themselves. The feeling “I can”prompts to action, hence it has a value in itself.

Thus, phenomenologically, we

clearly differ possibilities to ensure something and possibilities to implement (those seeking implementation). The feeling “I can do it” and its companions (“Can I do it?”, “I could not do it then, I can now”, “I’ve done it”, “But no, that’s not all”) form a dynamic fabric of subjectness7. And from this point of view, subjectness is an exclusively

consecutive attempts to acquire external possibilities and to master internal ones of the individual this “cube” can be understood as the infinite one (“Hilbert cube”). The allowable number of its measurements is dynamic and is determined by the number of attempts made. This amount is a product of already developed possibilities by an opportunity provided by the environment, and what is produced is combined with known reserve possibilities. And each successive tried possibility reveals its new dimension.

6 According to R. Ackoff and F. Emery, “power” is the ultimate (though unattainable) goal of human existence (Ackoff & Emery, 1972). We believe that in an experience (even if it is a fleeting one) we overcome the feeling of the ideal being unattainable; some of our experiences have the quality of trans-finiteness (the actual infinity) (Petrovskiy, 1996a, 1997, 2013a). In this case, we mean a situational “I can do anything”. Being situational, it is the source of supra situational activity (“I have solved all the problems”; Descartes, after discovering the coordinate system, now called the Cartesian: “Today I am a genius”; A. Blok: “With that kind of money I have everything, I need” — a student’s thought after receiving a special scholarship; in connection with the last example, I remembered a story: the Russian poet Mikhail Svetlov phoned the actor Zinovy Gerd very late at night: “Do you have by chance a friend who is a notary? As I have got a ten rouble note so I would like to make a copy”).

7 “To be an I” for people means to exist in a dimension of the possibilities they are aware of. That is, to live through themselves, enrich themselves with phenomena of their life spread into the being of the significant, to part with themselves, to move towards another meeting with themselves, to achieve themselves and to slip away from themselves into the unknown future to a new significance”

Subjectness as Possibleness


human characteristic, a special sphere of an individual’s existence: a testing field, or, as the A.N. Leontiev said, “trials of oneself”; an arena of battles with oneself; risk (and the risk intoxication); transition through the flutter8; “riding into the unknown” (Mayakovsky defined poetry this way); throes of creation; balancing on the edge, in short, everything that can be called a field of manifestation of supra situational activity (Petrovskiy, 1975, 1976, 1992a, 1992b, 2010b, etc.) (see Note 1 to the article).

The idea of the possibility per se as of a special, independent source of human activity has been progressively clarified by modern science. The idea of the possibility in works of philosophers, psychologists and psychotherapists increasingly appears beyond the traditional pragmatic interpretations, and thus a special counter-adaptive interpretation of possibilities is born. First of all, in the context of such investigations we shall mention the original “Philosophy of the Possible” by M. Epstein (Epstein, 2001), the project of “Possibilistic Personology” by D. Leontiev (Leontiev, 2011), the concept of the fundamental motivations by A. Langle (2009) (we address works of these authors in Notes 1, 2, 3).

Correlating our own ideas with these theoretical developments we can

reveal a different meaning for the term “excessiveness” in relation to the possible 1) the pseudo-possible (the value of play, beauty, laughter as a condition of constituting the person’s inner world); 2) the problematically possible (the value of cognition and creativity); 3) the really possible (the value of free will). In all these cases (“a rollback from reality”, the reality overcoming, the reliance on reality) possibilities are produced and reproduced in the process of activity; they are mediated by activity in their movement.

Furthermore, from the position of the subject as “a producer of possibilities” not only things exist “in the envelope of possibilities”, but possibilities do exist in the envelope of things. This, of course, is not only about the instruments and products of labor (though about them as well), but also about signs, symbols, texts, through which people communicate to each other their feelings, thoughts, intentions, and meanings. We cannot directly pass our feelings (our emotions, ideas, senses), but we can pass on to others the possibility to experience these, by entrusting them things. It is important to note that things in themselves are only means and no more than means of translating possibilities. We say that things “serve” us. This means that they pass on the

(Starovoytenko, 2013a, p. 76). “Experiencing ‘I can’ a person acquires, asserts themselves as the subject of own life that allows to consider such experiences as ‘points of amplification of subjectness’” (Stankovskaya, 2012, p. 127).

8 Effect of flutter (spontaneously occurring vibrations of the aircraft, usually at a critical velocity) is used by coaches as a metaphor describing the conditions of personal growth of people. My colleague, I.M. Shmelev, considers the phenomenon of “passing the flutter” to be of particular importance when studying “the coping behavior” which is not identical either to copings or to defense mechanisms revealed in difficult life situations (Shmelev, 2015).


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possibility to feel, to think, to act, to desire.

In processes of communication people’s possibilities are united into something real, established (and again moving, implementing, transmitted as a possibility). Through this translation of possibilities mediated by things chains of inter-subject connections function (“subject assemblies” (about them below)).

And thus, the problem of the subject — more precisely, the individual seeking to establish himself as a subject — is twofold: to release the possibilities inherent in himself and to extract the possibilities provided by the world (“appropriation”); both processes are generally addressed to possibilities, to their development. And, as we would like to point out, they do not just “serve” anything that inspires them but they have value in themselves.

Possibleness of desires as the criterion of subjectness. This understanding of subjectness is developed in the model of Possibleness of an individual (the concept of Possibleness, as we shall see further, implies possibilities available for an individual as a condition for the production of new opportunities9).

In our model (Petrovskiy, 2008a, 2008b, 2013a), that brings together the states “I can”, “I want”, “I have” and “I achieve”, there are representations that characterize the dynamics of the individual possibilities in successive moments of time. In this process, the internal possibilities of an individual (“I can”) turn into his wishes (“I want”); his wishes are turned to external resources (“I have”) interacting with which they condition results (“I achieve”) the latter serving as a source of new coils of activity (a new “I can” becomes a new “I want”, etc.).

Let us consider in greater detail what Possibleness means. The need to introduce this new term into psychology is due to the fact that in science there is no word that combines two meanings presupposing each other: resources and requests (possibilities and urges) of an individual. Of course, the term “potency” might seem appropriate, but in Russian, alas, this term has a specific connotation that limits a wider contextual use.

In a qualitative description the Possibleness is well-being and favour -able disposition; happiness and the ability to experience it; a satisfaction with oneself and striving for new

9 In this paper we do not consider the origins of the construction of this model presented in models of the subject being ready for a bipolar choice developed by V. Lefebvre (Lefebvre, 1996, 2003, 2004) and in the multivariate model of normalized behavior of T. Taran (Taran, 2000, 2001). We undertook this analysis in some previously published works and, in particular, in the monograph (Petrovskiy, 2013a), dedicated to V. Lefebvre and T. Taran. I should only note that in the model of self-establishment presented here by the author we discuss rather not a reflective picture of relations developing between the subject and the world, but ways of describing the dynamics of behavior of the subject in the environment, as well as mechanisms of purposeful behavior in the field of internal and external possibilities-resources. In this context, the author has tried to understand the fundamental concepts of the reflexive theory of V. Lefebvre as a source of important heuristics in the study of the motivation of behavior and the multisubject phenomenology of personality.

Subjectness as Possibleness


achievements; delight in what you strive for, and, equally, the strive to what you enjoy; the feasible ways and efforts to manage those ways. Generally, Possibleness is a totality of the manifested possibilities of an individual which are experienced as “I can” in union with “I want”; it is a core of possibilities inducing activity; in one word, it is a state of active well-being.

In a formal description, based on the mathematical symbols, Possibleness, w (of well-being), can be defined as the sum of newly acquired possibilities (xy) and actualized reserve possibilities (1 —x), where x stands for available internal possibilities, and y is the possibilities offered by environment. We shall explain what the product of xy means. As it has already been said, x represents an individual’s available possibilities (“I can”). We postulate that the strength of “I want” (the desire to implement the available internal possibilities) is relevant to the level of “I can” (the amount of these possibilities). This way, x in the product xy can be interpreted as an incitement to the use of available internal possibilities (since it is quantitatively equal to the amount of these possibilities, to make the narrative simpler, we shall say that the strength of incitement is indicated by the same symbol as the amount of possibilities). When the motivating possibilities are implemented in contact with the possibilities offered by the environ-

ment, the reserve possibilities (the amount of which equals 1 — x) become actualized, or known. All variables in the formulas are positive and do not exceed 1, symbolizing the maximum of both possibilities and requests. So,

w = 1 —x + xy

An implicative form of writing can be used when describing Possibleness:

w = x 3 y = 1 — x + xy

It reads: “The request x is implemented revealing additional internal resources, 1 — x, while relying on an external resource y”. We shall also give another formulation which will be more concise: “support of x drawing on y” (see a more detailed account of the model in the book (Petrovskiy, 2013а) and also in Note 3).

The concept of Possibleness allows the definition of Subjectness as the individual’s desire to new possibilities which are acquired and appropriated by them. Such an understanding of subjectness, as we can see, is based on the general idea of causa sui, which, in relation to an individual, means both the source and the result of the opportunities potentially inherent in the individual and actively explored (believed) by him10.

Terms the Possibleness optimum. We shall first describe the optimal balance

10 There is another view stipulating that the subject is a kind of integrity combining in itself all that is possible to combine, while the word “subjectivity”, which is gaining more and more popularity, loses its specificity dissolved in a sea of words that describe human personality. Against the background of a thoughtless use of the word “subject” (which is transforming into a tradition), as V. Zinchenko wrote, views of the authors who have contributed both a special understanding and critical reflection of the term by reference to “person”, “individuality”, “I”, are becoming more and more significant. To this end


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between requests and resources of the subject on the basis of the following simultaneously implemented conditions of optimality (the optimum criteria): 1) The subject’s achievements w are not less than the requests-efforts invested into the achievement: w > x, which corresponds to the motto “Get your investments repaid”; 2) The newly acquired xy to the maximum extent exceed the reserve possibilities 1 — x, i.e. the ratio xy : (1 —x) reaches a maximum, which corresponds to the motto “Be efficient”; 3) A minimum of external possibilities y is involved, which corresponds to the motto “Save up”11 12; 4) The strength of the requests x, inducing the effort, is maximum, which corresponds to the motto “Do not skimp on efforts”.

The requirement for the simultaneous compliance with all conditions of the Possibleness optimum can be reduced, for example, by maintaining a combination of “Get your investments repaid” and “Save up”, or “Get your investments repaid” and “Do not skimp on the efforts”, or “Get your invest-

ments repaid” and “Be efficient” (the condition “Get your investments repaid” is regarded as common to all variants of the Possibleness optimum). It can be shown (the proof is given in my book (Petrovskiy, 2013a)), that when all the above mentioned conditions of the Possibleness optimum are simultaneously complied, the level of the request is x ~ 0.62, the level of external resource is y ~ 0.38, the acquired Possibleness is w ~ 0.6212. That is, in this case, the request x is equal to the acquired possibilities: x з y = 1 — x + + x-y = x (in fact, 0.62 з 0.38 = 1 - 0.62 + + 0.62 x0.38 = 0.62). The special case when in a situation all four specified conditions are implemented (we will come across such a situation!) should be called a privileged point of the optimum.

Now the terms, as we would say, of an ordinary point of the optimum should be defined. We shall note that the requirement introduced earlier for the simultaneous compliance with all conditions of the possibleness optimum can be reduced, for example, by maintaining a combination of “Get your investments

we should mention such philosophers, methodologists and psychologists as B.G. Ananiev, L.S. Vygotsky, A.N. Leontiev, V.N. Myasischev, S.L. Rubinstein, D.N. Uznadze, V.S. Bibler, A.V. Brushlinskiy, L.M. Vekker, M.K. Mamardashvili, O.A. Konopkin, A.V. Petrovskiy, K.A. Abulkhanova-Slavskaya, V.M. Allahverdov, A.G. Asmolov, V.G. Aseev, V.K. Zaretsky, V.V. Znakov, A.V. Karpov, T.V. Kornilova, A.N. Krichevets, D.A. Leontiev, V.E. Lepsky, K.S. Lissetskiy, V.I. Morosanova, Y.A. Mislavsky, A.S. Ognev, A.G. Osnitsky, V.N. Porus, T.M. Ryabushkina, V.A. Tatenko, E.V. Saiko, E.A. Sergienko, I.G. Skot-nikova, E.B. Starovoytenko, V.V. Stolin, V.D. Shadrikov, and B.D. Elkonin (this is with all my being that I feel how incomplete this shockingly long list is!). I could also mention in this list the names of some foreign scientists, among them: Henri Bergson, M.Foucault, R. Ackoff, F. Emery, D. Dennett et al., but I have to stop myself because each of those thinkers, like, however, both mentioned and not mentioned here Russian authors, does not deserve the fate of being “just on the list.”

11 “The world is not so sunny and friendly” (Sylvester Stallone, Rocky 6); “Better not feel your mouth watering!”(an unambiguous offer not to expect too much.)

12 This ratio of values corresponds to the famous “golden section” when dividing a single segment into parts: 0.62 and 0.38; here the equality is: 0.62 + 0.622 (= 0.38) = 1.

Subjectness as Possibleness


repaid” and “Save up”, or “Get your investments repaid” and “Do not skimp on the efforts”, or “Get your investments repaid” and “Be efficient”. In all these cases we mean a point of the effort optimum (some other expressions can be used that carry the same meaning: “the implementation of the optimum effort”, “rational strategy of activity”, etc.). As you can see, the requirement of “Get your investments repaid” is considered here in combination with other conditions of the optimum. It can be shown (and this is very important), that in all these cases, the condition x з y >x turns into the relation of strict equality x з y = x. This means that the subject’s requests are not less than the actualized and acquired resource (that is, one cannot by a fluke acquire something more than one has invested) (Petrovskiy, 2010b, 2013a).

Speaking of the Rational Subject (the subject as such), we mean the individual who reaches the possibleness optimum, which means

w = x з y = x

(Possibleness corresponds to urges)

Along with the rational subject, we distinguish two forms of the irrational subject.

• Over-adaptive subject spends re -latively little effort, gains more than

spends (x < w). The gained good is the result of actualizing mainly the backup resource, not a newfound experience (the efficacy of activity is low).

• Active-non-adaptive (“supra situational”) subject spends relatively more effort than he counts on gaining (w < x), but he is effective: the newly acquired experiences dominate in the structure of the accumulated possibilities13.

The formal definitions which allow us today to differentiate between “rational”, “over-adaptive” and “active-nonadaptive” subjects are given in the books (Petrovskiy, 2o 10b, 2013a). Separating the different forms of subjectness and raising the question of the conditions for the possibleness optimum, we have to leave the space of a single subject’s being and address multi-subject constructions constituting the prerogative of the psychology of personality. This forced shift of the focus is determined by the fact that the single subject is not always capable of achieving the possibleness optimum of its own: it needs someone else to do so (another, others).

A single subject and merging of subjects

People come together when conditions of environment do not allow anyone

13 The idea of the active non-adaptiveness as related to people for whom such manifestations of activity are typical generates images of “non-adaptants” as opposed to “adaptants” (Asmolov & Guseltseva, 2008). Non-adaptiveness is not, unequivocally, dis-adaptiveness. Active-non-adaptive people (“non-adaptants the heroes”, “non-adaptants the explorers”) do not prosper but they are fundamentally different from the unsuccessful, immature, helpless — the so-called “unadapted” people. The irrationality of their behavior is that they are not guided by the criterion of momentary well-being; their efforts are redundant with respect to the expected acquisitions. Perhaps the desire to spend and gain is more important to them than the desire to save effort. And this trait, in my opinion, may be an additional explanation for the stability of the phenomenon of “active non-adaptiveness” (supra situationality) in the society: “non-adaptants”, “rising above the situation”, can see farther and achieve more in the future than those who “adapt.”


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of them to achieve the Possibleness optimum on one’s own14. However, we cannot exclude the case when one person is still able to achieve the desired without entering into cooperation with others (i.e. in our terms, establish himself as a subject). This is certainly possible if the environment, as if tuned to the individual, is prepared to allocate for him any resource, and in particular the possibility of reaching the desired state at the level of 0.38, while the individual himself is able to vary the strength of their intentions, getting to the level of 0.62. At first glance, this situation seems too artificial, to consider it important (imagine how unlikely it is that the random events — x = 0.62 and y = 0.38 — have come together). However, we still distinguish this special case, and define it as an example of the functioning of a single subject in the environment. We shall specify this individual as a self-employed farmer (other appropriate terms are sole proprietorship, private person, etc).

Self-employed farmer (or one’s own master). His position is as follows: “Everything is up to me.” It means: “I do not have business relations with anyone”; “I am my own master”; “I achieve my goals myself”; “I rely on my internal possibilities and act with full dedication”; “I personally solve every problem.” This can be shown as follows:

self-employed farmer з environment15

The mathematical model that can describe the optimum conditions to achieve Possibleness, suggests how hard in this case I have to seek to act, and what is the proportion of the possibilities offered to me by the environment. If we want the achievements of the selfemployed farmer to comply with his wishes, in the formal language this means:

w = x з y = 1 — x + x-y = x

Generally speaking, if a given individual really wants to win a situation

14 The phenomenological analysis of what we call possibilities could convince us that they combine dependence on someone (someone, not something) who can choose the one and only trajectory from a variety of them, and — the independence of this choice from any intervening causes. Possibilities, unlike probabilities to which chance is inherent, are determined by someone, not something. A “hidden subject” selecting one of the many implementations, originally does not represent a person known to us, it is completely anonymous and is not recognized, or rather it as a personified figure does not exist. “And by the light house, feeling anxious, I was alone with the darkness. The impossible was possible, but the possible was a dream.” Blok’s “alone with the darkness” accurately expresses the essence of possibilities as including unrecognized subjectness. Phenomenologically it can be depicted as the presence in a situation of a “general subject”, which combines efforts and achievements of private subjects in achieving the goals of the subject-protagonist. “Having detected a trace of such a “collective I”, the person realizes himself as a potential place of meeting, of transformation, of implications, of expanding the existence of countless “Is”. It becomes possible for the personality in the horizon of life to join the active power of the transcendental I to realize a self-transcendence” (Starovoytenko, 2013b, p. 192).

15 We use underlining to show who is the protagonist (the main character, or the customer in interactions); underlining in the expressions, which contain the sign з (for example, I want з I can = I achieve) will also indicate what elements are eventually matched (here the latter are “I want’ and “I achieve”).

Subjectness as Possibleness


by achieving the desired (i.e. his desire is x > 0.5), then, as we have said, in theory he always has such a possibility (we can always choose a resource y, allowing to solve this task, that is to turn “I want” relying on “I can” to “I achieve” (which is equal in strength to the original “I want”). When in compliance with the conditions of optimality, we have x = 0.62; y = 0.3, w = 0.62 (“the golden section”). In this case 0.62 з 0.38 = = 0.62.

Earlier we said that such a situation may seem too artificial. But some empirical studies (we will discuss them below) show that a single subject in a situation of solving problems of a certain class (“problems to one’s taste”) generates the incitement to succeed at the level of 0.62. And if we assume that he himself is his first “partner” in the interaction, then the “environmental’ factor here is presented by his own reserve possibilities at the level of 0.38.

Considering the idea of a single subject, we, in terms of the theory, can do without distinguishing between the objective and subjective aspects of reviewing an individual’s life; we leave the subject one-to-one with the world. In this sense there is no one who would build an image of what is happening different from reality that is embodied in the image. The world is not split into the “world in the mind of the subject”

and the “world as it is.” There may be two options:

• Behavioral approach. Following the examples of J. Watson or I.P. Pavlov, (who, contrary to opinions of naive students, when studying behavior, were never obsessed with the idea of the lack of consciousness (i.e. subjective experiences) of living beings), we do not insist on “non-reflectiveness” of the subject. It is just that the reflection is not included in the scheme of interpretation of his actions and reactions16.

• Introspective approach. In this case, we do not leave the sphere of consciousness. Possibilities and requests relevant here are perceived or imagined possibilities and requests; they are experienced by an individual as “I can”, “I could”, “I feel the strength”, “I want”, “I get”, or “I achieve”. Also, as in the description of the subject from the outside, in the behavioral paradigm, the world of introspection does not split into subjective and objective. The subject is left alone with the world, actualizing his hidden possibilities, combining them with newly acquired assets of experience, forming new requests, etc.

In both cases, it appears that such a subject, as if simplified, flattened, and “reduced”, is of great interest for the study, allowing us to see in its example, in terms of L.S. Vygotsky, the “unit” of analysis of Possibleness.

16 The reduction of subjective phenomenology (not to be confused with “phenomenological reduction”!), to some extent simplifying the situation, also makes it more complicated for understanding and giving a verbal description. Everything that happens can be described here in the dynamic terms (“power”, “tension”, “resource”, “energy”, “focus”, “movement”, etc.) instead of the expressions of a psychological thesaurus (“activity”, “need”, “request”, “drive”, “satisfaction”, “hunger”, “state of satiety” etc.). Although these phenomena can be ultimately understood without the involvement of subjective psychological categories (like “I want”, “I can”, “I get”, “I strive”, etc.), we take the liberty, in the interests of clarity, of using words of general language to explain the essence.


V.A. Petrovskiy

Illustration 1. “Trust, but verify! — But how much?”

Imagine negotiating with contractors. It is believed that negotiating parties find it important to follow the principle of “trust, but verify.” But the question arises: what, for each of the parties, shall be like the ratio of the levels of control x and trust y, so that the four conditions of optimality (“Get your investments repaid”, “Be efficient”, “Save up”, “Do not skimp on efforts”) are followed?

Answer: The efforts needed to be in control should be 62% of the maximum possible (hypervigilance, x ^ 62%, is irrelevant), while the level of trust in the counterparty should be 38% (at a substantially lower level of trust (y ^ 38%) is better not to sit at negotiating table unless there is a choice). Indeed, it is easy to check that in the ideal case

0.62 (level of control) з 0.38 (level of

trust) = 0.62 (level of reliability)

Vigilance manifested by a negotiator is rewarded with his confidence in the reliability of the person at the other side of the table, or, in other words, the control efforts are best combined with trust to the other side.

Illustration 2. Hopes and disappointments in love.

Suppose someone is in love. He has fallen in love with a pen-friend, and wants to see the object of his love — the beautiful lady — every day, seven days a week. Alas, she is ready to meet up with him only on Thursday evenings, and there are no opportunities in her future other than that (as he is told at the first date).

So his desire at the start of dating equals x = 7:7 = 1; her “gifts” are y = 1:7 ~ 0.14.

The Possibleness of his desires (the experienced satisfaction) as a result of their first contact is as follows:

w1 = 1 з 0.14 = 1 - 1 + 10-14 = 0.14 (“disappointment”)

Of course, judging from the experience of the first date, there is too little to expect; the incentive to action, determined by the not too successful experience of the first date, equals only 0.14. But the lover does not despair! After all, he has retained the energy of unrequited love! These unclaimed (we shall call them ”reserve“) possibilities are equal, obviously, to 1 -0.14 = 0.86. If they are put in action (realized, actualized), then they will “join” the success of a future date as a source of hope for the future. In this case, Possibleness of the lover’s desires as a result of the second date will be:

w2 =0.14з 0.14 = 1 -0.14 + 0.14-0.14 ~ ~0.86 + 0.02 = 0.88 (“encouragement”)

But the encouragement that has visited the lover, alas, does not last long. New contacts on the same terms of rare meetings bring new disappointment, but it is, however, not as great as at the first date (due to a certain adaptation):

w3 = 0.86 з 0.14 = 1 -0.86 +

+ 0.860.14 ~ 0.14 + 0.12 = 0.26

This process can be continued on ... Hopes, crashes, ups and downs... Where does it all end up if the lovely lady is as adamant? The diagram of the Possibleness dynamics (satisfaction) with the contacts is given in Figure 1.

As you can see, the frustration experienced by the lover during the first

Subjectness as Possibleness


The dynamics of love: “hopes — disappointments”

Figure 1

week (“flop” as they sometimes say) leads to a certain correction of motives: the amplitude of the emotional oscillation decreases and the satisfaction with the contacts reaches the mark “fifty-fifty”. Within 4-5 months the Possibleness of the amorous desires becomes consistently above 0.5 (> 50% of the satisfaction with the relationship) and by the 9th month they almost freeze in the area of 0.54 (which might give lovers the following lesson: keep some optimism in love, even if this feeling is not shared; it will be over (= continue) more or less smoothly.

In contrast to the first example (the negotiator has the possibility to choose with whom to negotiate matters), here the man, at least at the beginning of his relationship with his beloved, “has no choice” (as they say, “passion drives

him”). “The Negotiator” is able to carry out an optimal choice according to the exposed above criteria: in contact with the other side a proper level of trust and control is set. The lover is only gradually getting to one of the points of the Possibleness optimum (“I get what I want”).

But what to do, if both internal and external resources available preclude the possibility of variation? Or, say, if you cannot, as in the previous example, approach step by step a coincidence of requests and achievements?

We assume that in such cases it is possible to start cooperation with the other subject (for example, the lover can win a special favour with a friend of the object of his love, having in the face of the friend a “continuation” of the contact with the beloved)17.

17 Here is another, this time empirically grounded example, from the article by E.A. Sergienko (Sergienko, 2009). Criticizing the model of “exhausting” of the resources in the course of self-regulation proposed by B. Schmeichel and K. Vohs (Schmeichel, Vohs, & Baumeister, 2003), the author writes: “The use of individual resources in a situation of bearing a child, suggesting an increase of efforts,


V.A. Petrovskiy

So, the problem is that a person coming into a direct contact with the environment not always has a chance to reach the Possibleness optimum, i.e. to realize themselves as a subject. However, in such life situations certain salvational compositions of subjects (various “Is”), can be created forming a multi-subject space of being of the personality and in coordination with each other become capable to achieve the optimum18.

Author — Expert. The relationship of the author with the expert, and through him with the outside world can be described as follows:

(author з expert) з environment

In numerical terms, thanks to the activity of the expert, the Possibleness optimum corresponds to the following situation:

necessarily includes the interaction between a woman and her family. According to the model (of the authors mentioned), the situation would have to lead to an ego depletion. However, as shown by our results, the woman begins to use not only her resource but also her own family’s resource as the safe childbearing is a common goal. The formation and implementation of the behavior control are associated with the subject characteristics of partners involved in the situation, especially of the family environment (attitudes of her parents, spousal support and participation. Analysis of the link of the situation partners behavior control allows us to consider the family as a collective subject which has its own specifics related to complex system processes aimed at maintaining the integrity of the family A correlation analysis the performance of the spouses shows that their individual personal and subject indicators are either consistent or compensate each other in accordance with the peculiarities of the situation, in this case the situation of gestation.

18 L.A. Karpenko offered an important construct that describes the effects of stimulation of an individual in terms group-forming activities — “movement of the motive” (the motive is defined by the author as “the activity of a specific strength directed at an object”). “In the process of interaction and communication,” says L. Karpenko, “one subject as if “broadcasts” his activity to the other, raising the other’s oncoming activity, while the second subject can transform the meaningful and/or emotional-evaluative aspect of the perceived motive and then “broadcast” it to a third subject (or to return it to the first if they are in a dialogue). The idea of “movement of the motive in a group acting together allows us to understand the mechanism of assimilation by an individual socio-cultural experience, that is, the mechanism of internalization-externalization.” (Karpenko, 2005, pp. 125-126). The idea of movement of the motive is of interest to us both in terms of the analysis of inter-individual interactions (“subject assemblies”), and functioning of multisubject personality, within which various “Is” become carriers of the moving motive” (which will be considered by us further). “Movement of the motive”, in our opinion, could be compared with passing a ball from one fielder to another, with the “message stick” etc., but the analogy is incomplete, since passing the ball or the baton to another member of the competition, they remain without a ball or stick. But movement of the motive is different, it is like a fire transferred from one object to another: it does not disappear, but continues to burn. The passing while transmitting a resource does not lose it, it continues to possess the information and feel the rise of forces, informing and inspiring the other participant of the interaction. In economic terms, it is an example of what I would call cost-free transactions. For this reason, we can use an information resource counting on a copy and keeping the original intact. This is what happens when we rely on ourselves committing an act of volition (about this — below).

Subjectness as Possibleness


w = (x з x’) 3 y = x

The expert is the subject supplying the author a resource x’, necessary to the latter in order to achieve the desired Possibleness optimum. He simulates the prospect of possible meeting his (the author’s) original request x; although it is only a possibility of satisfaction, this fantasy is justified by the fact that, ultimately, a correspondence is set between the original request of the author and his Possibleness (satisfaction).

Let us, for example, assume that the request of the author is 0.7, and the external resource equals 0.2. Accordingly, the Possibleness is as follows: 07 з 0.2=03 + 0.14 = 044 (which, as we can see, less than the original request 0.7). It is not difficult to calculate the resource supplied by the expert providing an adequate implementation of the request, namely x’ ~ 0.11. Let us verify: (07 з 0.11) з 02 = 07. Thus, due to the conditional (“artificial”) reduction of the request from the level of 0.7 to the level of 0.7 з 0.11 ~ 0.38 the desired consistency is reached between the original request and the achievable level of Possibleness. The author accepts the recommendation of the expert to take a less accessible target and thereby achieve the desired.

Leader — Partners. Let us consider another type of situations in which the protagonist acts this time on behalf of two subjects: himself as the bearer of a primary request x, and another subject, we shall call him a partner, whose y resources he relies on (this could be another team member, a co-executor in a project, an employee, a colleague, a friend, an associate, etc.). An essential point here is that the leader does not

only rely on his partner in his activities (getting a chance to acquire the latest information, important landmarks, assessments, or to come up with some creative solutions), but also takes care of achieving a common result of their joint efforts. Under such circumstances the leader has a new request, that of continuity with the original one and at the same time dependent on the amount of the resource supplied to him. The structured place of both participants is shown below:

(leader з partner) з environment

Unlike the expert that allows the author to carry out his interests changing the level of experienced desires to an object, the leader and his partner together form a new request. The value of the new request is x з x’, and this request must be adequate to the possibilities of its implementation:

w = (x з x’) з y = x^xxjnt x)

In our previous example, the following must be satisfied: (0.7з x’) з 0.2 = = 07 з x’. Calculations show that in this case the resource presented by the partner should be equal to about 0.37. Let us verify: (0.7 з 0.37) з 0.2 ~ ~ 0.559 з 0.2 ~ 0.553 (the error in six thousandths (0.559 — 0.553 = 0.006) is due to the chosen level of the measurement accuracy).

It is important that the leader, leading the process, also represents interests of the other partner, as well as interests of the team as a whole. He often feels being in the process of collective action, part of the common “we”.

But this feeling of community could be lost. This (the loss of the “we” feeling)


V.A. Petrovskiy

often appears post factum, when the joint activity is over, and everyone in the team recovers in memory the traces of their own involvement in the case. Why does this happen? A possible answer: because in the product of collective efforts not only the process “dies” (as Hegel and Marx wrote), but also the dynamic possibilities of producing the product wear off, and they, as we remember, encompass in themselves the presence of the universal “I”.

An illustration to that can be found in a work by A. Krichevets (Krichevets, 2010). The researcher sharply draws the contours of a solution of one of the deepest problems of the psychology of subjectness: namely, “interaction and sovereignty of consciousness.” Revea -ling the nature of “immediate presence of inter-subjective” in psyche, the author does not reduce his narrative to phenomenological statements; he is concerned with a question which has not become outdated over two hundred years: “how possible” the existence of certain phenomena, seen in the disclosure, is. Thus, feeling all the paradox of the plot, he fully describes feelings once experienced by him in the course of a joint work with some colleagues. At some point in common activity: “I realized that the picture was clear to me and began to describe it to my colleagues who immediately accepted my idea and started to develop it... At the next meeting we were given a printout of the previous meeting transcripts... A foreign reader, perhaps, would not be able to restore the solution which we had found by reading the text. I was particularly surprised that no trace of my authorship of the basic idea was contained in the transcript, even at a very biased view. To my consolation, it

was also impossible to attribute the authorship to any of my interlocutors... The documented reflection does not allow to allocate and separate positions of participants in a dialogue even in hindsight... Actually such joint activities would be wrong to be called a dialogue. This joint thinking, in which the participants partially abandon their autonomy in favor of strengthening of thinking due to the interaction, in which words are only guidelines supporting the movement of thought (in our terms, we are talking about a possibility. — V.P.), they improve its course but do not set explicit content” (p. 128).

Master — Worker. The master the protagonist, in this case, relies on results of the worker’s labour who comes into direct contact with the environment (which is the object of the protagonist’s needs). Now we have the following scheme of the subject assembly:

master з (worker з environment)

Here the master symbolizes a person who is interested in someone i.e. the worker performing for him some part of the work required instead of him; the result of this work substitutes a fragment of the environment for him. These are the relations between an employer and an employee, a landlord and support staff, an officer and an orderly, a master and an apprentice. Let us suppose that an original request of the master is implemented into an adequate outcome of achievements. Let the request, as before, be equal to 0.7, while the resource provided by the environment is 0.2. The master’s Possibleness in this case is 1 —0.7 + 0.7-0.2 = = 0.44 (< 0.7). It can be shown that the request of the worker necessary to

Subjectness as Possibleness


achieve the Possibleness optimum in this case must be ~ 0.54, while the resource provided must be 0.54 з 0.2 ~ 0.57. Now we see that under these conditions the master’s Possibleness corresponds to his desires: 0.7 з (0.54 з 0.2) ~ ~ 0.7 з 0.57 ~ 07. Obviously the worker provides the master with a far greater resource than the environment originally does (cf. 0.57 and 0.2).

Concluding this section, we shall note that references of the parties in an interaction may be different. What counts is the essence of ongoing interactions from the perspective of a protagonists. It so happens what a formula says is clearer than the talking about it. We shall afford, by way of illustration, to leave open the question of “how to rename” positions of the spouses in an Odessa joke recently heard by the author:

“Syoma, I heard you got married?”

“Well yes.”

“Congratulations! Are you happy?”

“Sarah says yes.”

Here is how it looks in the “formulaic recording”: x^ з (у^л з x^ = 7yoma-

Let us explain. It seems that in this family ySara.h з x^ = 1, i.e. Sarah feels quite happy with Syoma, and if so, then Syoma, based on his conversations with Sarah, should feel happy: xSyoma з 1 = 1; Syoma’s sad cunning in his reply to a friend is due to the fact that even if Sarah was unhappy with Syoma, and moreover quarrelsome (ySarak =0), while Syoma has got hardly any energy and desire to live with her, xSyoma = 0, we

have: 0Syoma з (0Sarah з 0Syoma ) = 1Syoma. As

we can see Syoma’s position cannot be considered a subject one: he does not want to live with her, 0Syoma = 0, but he has to feel happy, 1^.

Vygotsky’s “Formula” and

the multi-subject organization of personality

Based on an abstract understanding of the subject and its Possibleness, we highlight several forms of existence of personality: the reflecting subject and the subject of internal communications. In all these cases we have to deal with personality as a multi-subject formation which has a different level of subject complexity) (Petrovskiy, 1996b).

In the previous section we discussed the subjects entering into external interaction with each other. In a sense, each was a part of the environment of each other’s existence. However, it is permissible to assume that each of the subjects included in the ensemble of the activity participants and hence “part” of the collective subject, can exist not only in the inter-subject space, but also within the personality, be a special part of it, enter into dialogue with itself and with other subjects, to act together with them or resist them, etc. (Petrovskiy, 1981а, 1981b; Petrovskiy & Petrovskiy, 1982; Petrovsky, 2014). It is understood that the internal compositions we are speaking about are derived from the external ones, formed by real individuals who enter into communion.

What is the basis for the accepted assumption? For a psychologist who is familiar with the cultural-historical theory of L. Vygotsky, the answer is obvious. It is a general law of development of higher mental functions of the person, as L. Vygotsky saw it: “Any higher mental function in the child’s development”, wrote the creator of this theory, “appears on the scene twice: first as a collective, or social, activity,


V.A. Petrovskiy

the second time as an individual activity, as the child’s inner way of thinking.” (Vygotsky, 2005, p. 355). In other formulations of the law it is emphasized that originally this is a function of socio-psychological adaptation as a form of interaction and cooperation between people, as an interpsychological category; later — as a form of individual adaptation, as a function of the psychology of personality, as an intrapsychological category... “It is about voluntary attention: memory etc., etc. This is a law... The individual is “not contra but the highest form of sociality” (Vygotsky, 2005, p. 54)19.

Vygotsky’s formula of development is often cited, but it is rarely used by psychologists as a basis for formulating hypotheses and setting experiments. The wonderful promise to implement this theoretical intention of Vygotsky, expressed in the works of A.N. Leontiev (there is a well-known example with a beater whose purpose is not the same as his motive), would encourage researchers to trace the birth of an individual activity of the collective one, but the momentum has not yet been sufficient-

ly implemented. The exceptions are some dramatic works of Russian psychologists focused on the problems of education and development (Rubtsov, 1996; Panyushkin, 1979; Elkonin, 2001; Karpenko, 2005; Krichevets, 2010). In these papers, there are theoretical and methodological prerequisites of the research of subject, and in particular motivational, aspects of collective distributed activities within the individual; but the empirical development of this direction is still at the beginning (which, incidentally, is true of the author of these lines).

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Among the developments made away from the construction of the genius Russian scientist-psychologist we could mention some developments (close to them in their methodological premises) made by Eric Berne the creator of transactional analysis. In his original writings and the works of his followers the same idea of the presence of social in the individual human psyche is developed. Berne himself attributed his approach to “social psychia-try”20. “The actors” of a social drama executed by internal positioners in this

19 Some more quotes of L. Vygotsky: “The scheme is as follows: first, a person is screaming and fighting, an imitating one is doing the same, then one is shouting but not fighting, the other is fighting but not shouting: an employer and a subordinate...” “All the higher functions and their relationship are based on genetically social relations, real relations between people. Homo duplex (‘a double person’, Lat.). Hence the principle and method of personification in the study of cultural development, i.e. the separation of functions between the people, the personification of functions: for example, voluntary attention: one possesses — the other is possessed. The division again in half of what is merged into one... an experimental deployment of a higher process (voluntary attention) into a small drama... all higher functions developed in phylogeny not biologically, but socially... their mechanism is an impression of the social. They are transferred into the individual, internalized attitudes of the social order, the foundation of the social structure of personality. Their composition, genesis, function (mode of action) — in a word, their nature — are social. Even being transformed in the personality into psychological processes, they remain quasi-social...” (Vygotsky, 2005, pp. 1021-1022).

20 Taking the risk of being subjective, I still think that, bearing in mind the prospects of social therapy in the world, Eric Berne is the Vygotsky today. The analysis of psychopathology of development

Subjectness as Possibleness


system were declared Adult, Child and Parent — the so-called Ego states, which represent phenomenologically distinct patterns of thoughts, actions and feelings of an individual.

In the works of another prominent theorist, V. Lefebvre, we deal with the reflective subject, that is, an individual who acts based on reflecting of the environment and himself in the environment (Lefebvre, 1996, 2003, 2004). The individual in this theory is as if doubled, tripled, etc., building a selfimage, the image of self-image, etc., as well as images of other individuals with self-images of themselves and others inherent to them. In this theory, we deal with a mathematical model of the subject in two perspectives of consideration — from inside and from outside, subjective and objective. The honor of combining the two forms of manifestation of subjectness within a single scheme of analysis and, in particular, conditions of (subjective) intentions of the subject and his (objective) willingness to follow these intentions, belongs to V. Lefebvre. He has undertaken some research that yielded results so impressive that I will allow myself (and I suggest that my colleagues do the same), a reference to the reflective subject, to say “Lefebvre’s subject’, relating, thus, with the whole area of research, produced by the creator of reflexive theory. Lefebvre’s subject is able to reflect on

not only itself in the environment, but also on other subjects, while they can also be endowed with reflection, hence complex (multi-stage) models of subjectness are born. We shall note that the mathematical models proposed by V. Lefebvre are highly heuristic. The principles of their construction, variables and operators that appear in the models (“the positive and negative poles”, “intention”, “pressure of environment”, “the image of the pressure of environment”, “intentional choice”, “implication” etc.), may be diversely interpreted in terms of the psychology of motivation, attitudes, activity, consciousness, and personality (see the materials of my conversation with V. Lefebvre — Petrovskiy, 2013b).

From the correlation of these approaches a distinct trend in the development of problems of personology of the subject appears: the analysis of the multi-subject organization of personality and in particular of the internal interactions between subjects forming personality. For each of these internal subjects, we can say, “I” (though, entering into a relationship with each other, these various “Is” acquire various forms: “my I”, “my “you”, “he” (“she”) in me”, “I and you”, “I without you”, “you without me”, etc., etc.; as well as: “autocratic I”, “private “I”, “cross-individual I”, “superior I”, “situational I”, etc.)21. This opens a picture of diversity (“united

at the intersection of the object relations theory, the activity theory and the cultural-historical theory is presented in the work by A. Ryle (Ryle, 1991), where the author quite reasonably interprets them as compatible, complementary and, combined, contributive to the integration of psychotherapy.

21 Language games with “I” open quite serious prospects for the use of a spectrum of epithets and transformations of this term in the personology of subjectness. They allow to describe adequately the multisubject structure of consciousness (Petrovskiy, 2009b, 2013b), the vital relationships of personality (Starovoytenko, 2013a), interindividual interactions in the process of therapeutic and counselling work


V.A. Petrovskiy

multiplicity”) of various “Is” that have complex relationships with each other. The personality viewed from this perspective is a totality of subjects (the united multiplicity of “Is”), each of which is both the source and the result of their own dynamics in the world; and this integrity has characteristics of the subject: it reproduces the very possibility to maintain the integrity.

We distinguish such forms of multisubject organization of personality as a mono- personality (the mono-subject organization of personality), a binary personality (the dia-subject organization), a ternary personality (the tria-subject organization), a tetra personality (the tetra-subject organization), etc.

We shall consider the motion to the Possibleness optimum for the first three of the above-mentioned forms of subjectness. The distinct types of self-identity will appear in our field of vision.

Mono-personality, or One’s own master

For such a personality it is typical to have a will power level of self-regula-

tion (“commitment”). The prototype of this process is the activity of a selfemployed farmer. However, the “environment” presented earlier in the formula self-employed farmer з environment must be understood here in a new way — as a characteristic of the inner world of an individual. In one of our works, an image of the mirror reflection of an individual in himself was proposed. We believed that, based on this image, the individual is able to solve the problem of self-realization (Petrovskiy, 2009b). At such moments, a man turns into Munchhausen, pulling himself out of the swamp by the hair22.

So, we assume that the set of internal possibilities for solving a problem is divided into two classes: the aspiring possibilities (urges) and the supporting possibilities (pillars). About the aspiring possibilities, we could say: “I want what I can”; about the supporting possibilities: “I can what I want”. It is assumed that the aspiring possibilities are the available possibilities prompting an action. These possibilities seek outwards containing impulses to implement (the more obvious the experience “I can”,

(for example, the work focused on the problems of personal autonomy within the framework of personal existential analysis (Stankovskaya, 2014)).

22 Here is the famous story of Baron Munchhausen: “Once, fleeing from the Turks, I tried to jump over the marsh on horseback. But the horse did not make it to the other bank, so we slapped in the mud. I had to choose one of the two: to die or to somehow survive. I decided to survive. But how? There was nothing near at hand. But the head, we always have at hand. I pulled my hair and thus pulled myself and my horse out of the swamp, squeezing the horse with both feet like forceps.” One of the bloggers on Google offers to look on this as an exception to the laws of physics, and call it “the law of Baron Munchhausen”: “the first law of Munchhausen’s thermodynamics is the criterion of capacity at the present frequency level of the Earth and society: if you got into a swamp, be so kind and take your plait, pull yourself out and put yourself on solid ground.” “There was nothing near at hand. But the head, we always have at hand.” In essence, it is about imagination, that it is an effective factor in human self-realization; at the start of selfrealization, we build up a copy of our implied possibilities; based on it, we rise above the situation.

Subjectness as Possibleness


the stronger the desire to act — “I want”). However, this desire is realized based on the past: through actualizing some not previously involved, reserve, possibilities. In an effort to test yourself, we reproduce (simulate, copy) in the mind what has not been previously realized, and relying on the possibilities (“I can what I want») we solve the task. They, the implied possibilities, do form the “environment”, which the subject of a will power act uses for support.

Further, assuming that a person is acting at the limit of his own possibilities, (which means expressing his will) (a volitional action implies a maximum commitment), it is possible to predict the level of the aspiring possibilities, the implementation of which leads to success: this is the point of the golden section, x ~ 0.62, while the supporting possibilities y are complementary to the aspiring possibilities here, “constructing” them to 1: y = 1 — x ~ 0.38.

Considering the self-employed farmer as a subject interacting with the environment, we did not endow the environment with some subject qualities (although that might be possible, and we even dealt with such representatives of the environment — the negotiator and the subject of mental anguish). But now, referring to the mono-personality, we can say about him that he is his own master. The mono-personality feels that he is not only independent, but also quite consistent, strong-willed “I”, when, in

response to his own wishes, he foresees their feasibility.

Let us talk about such a subject — the autocratic “I”, stressing that it itself initiates and ensures action. This would not be possible without the support of another part of the same “I”, which completes the former one the whole. In our terms, it is a relationship between the open “I” and the latent “I”.23

Thus, the autocratic “I” is a subject of activity at the volitional level of selfregulation. The open “I”, as the part of the autocratic “I”, ensures progress towards the goal by relying on itself — its latent “I”.

Binary Personality

Staking on prudence. The value level of self-regulation. In Christian art, “prudence” is depicted as a woman with two or three heads, holding in her hands either a mirror and a snake, or a sieve, while Solomon is at her feet. The sieve, in turn, means “rain clouds and fertility, an act of purification by sifting husks and, therefore, self-knowledge, criticism, conscience... This is the capacity of conscience to accept and to reject’. We use the italics for words comprising the main idea of a dialogue, relationship, or contact in the subject-subject system (whether between people “in the flesh”, or separated from each other, or within one person — between his own subjective “I” and the other’s “I”, my “I” and my “you”24, etc.).

23 The terms “autocratic “I” and “latent “I” are introduced here for the first time. However, the logic of the development of concepts behind these terms was described in our previous articles and books (for the first time in Petrovskiy, 2010a).

24 The dyad “my “I” — my “you” was given a definition earlier (Petrovskiy, 2000). “My “you” is the one to whom I turn in an empty room.


V.A. Petrovskiy

Prudence is the good in the eyes of common sense, good, equally acclaimed by all, the benefit from the perspective of everyone. This also applies to myself, if to compare my current victories and future gains, short-term and long-term interests.

If we try to generalize what has been said about prudence, we will see two closely related characteristics of this principle of conduct. The first one, as has already been said, is common ground of many people at a benefit gained by someone. Due to this reason prudence on the scale of a single person is so freely associated with the common good25. What is acquired in prudence, is equally valuable for everyone who would be able to appreciate it, who is involved actually or potentially into it. As Hegel wrote, “Prudence consists in this: that one does not interfere with the inclinations of others but acts in their interest.” Here, incidentally, it is appropriate to mention the ironic paraphrase — “prudence in reverse”: “To be in the balance: neither to run with the hare nor to run with the hounds” (Yu. Leontiev).

Moderation, or rationality, is the second principle of prudence. It is “such a state of mind, when we are in sound mind and able to suppress the influx of emotional feelings for the sake of inner tranquility”; “A rich table is provided by luck, but a sufficient one by wisdom” (Democritus).

Both principles are united by a scheme of the internalized interaction (leader з partner) з environment. Man acts so that his behavior meets considerations of reasonableness, as if someone else could watch from aside confirming or disputing the legitimacy of his actions. The result of the activity is evaluated according to the criteria of common sense: acting in my own interests, I feel the approval of the Internal Other, as if someone nodded to me, saying: “Yes, I like (I feel good about) what you did.” And the requested (and gained) good can vary in size from the original desires of the subject. In our case, the power of the request is not 0.7 (as in the examples from the author and the master), but (0.7 з 0.365) ~ 0.555. Note that the total value of achievement is 0.555 з 0.2 = 0.556, here — less than the own original request of the personality; but the person feels his actions are justified (as they say, “is not going to extremes”, “is not trying to take more than necessary/appropri-ate”): a skilled and conscientious person strives to share a team success with others. They say: “We should not demand from life what exceeds our abilities” (S. Ramishvili). Let members of the “internal team” call you to common sense: “We should sometimes slightly scold things that fascinate us. This grumbling is called prudence” (Victor Hugo). Or, Mark Twain’s admonition, sounding in a manner of a

25 The main effort of modern philosophers is “directed at criticizing the ideas (which are commonplaces of philosophy and everyday consciousness) determining prudence as a selfish following of selfinterest necessarily to the detriment of others. The rehabilitation of prudence in modern moral philosophy also includes the restoration of its value as a practical wisdom, that is, as the ability to act in the circumstances at one’s best. At one’s best means so that you are focusing if not on a morally sublime, but at least on a morally justified purpose” (O. Artemieva, Wikipedia).

Subjectness as Possibleness


two-stage implication (“a pillar is supported by a pillar”): “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”

The rest we should do is to give names to the internal subjects in which the characters of inter-subject interaction live on (leader з partner) з environment. The structural place of the first subject is now substituted a subject about which we say: “I am the one who is with you.” Accordingly, another subject position is replaced with: “you are the one who is with me”. These are reflected (internalized, introjected) significant others (real colleagues, coworkers, relatives and loved ones, or “I myself” in certain circumstances). They are all those for who I am responsible, about who I care, with whom I identify myself and from whom I am willing to accept help). In the Russian language there is a phrase hardly used, but it marks the very community — one for two — in question. This is the phrase With One Other (sam-drug in Russian), that is, I am together with someone else. It is therefore quite acceptable, along with the terms befitting for this case (inter-subjective “I”, cross-individual “I”26, etc., to use as a synonym this phrase of the Russian origin.

Finding the optimum of Possibleness, cross-cultural “I”, with one other give us a sense of community with oneself and the ability to say “yes” to oneself, reaching as followers of personal existential analysis of A. Langle say, the “inner consent”. This is how personality manifests itself at the value level of selfregulation: feeling both the value and the rightness of what it does27.

“Justified self-deception. ” The target level of self-regulation. Let us draw our attention to an unusual function of goal-setting that the ordinary consciousness, as a rule, prefers to ignore: this is a function of setting imaginary goals so that real goals are achieved. In order to get over “to the other side of the river,” we have to take further upstream. Referring to Leo Tolstoy, who wrote about such goals, we are reminded of them in speeches of B. Bratus (when he is defending the thesis that “goals should be high”). We are talking about imaginary goals, stressing that these are the goals for which it is not only known in advance that they are unattainable, but it is also known that they should not be achieved (the achievement of these goals is certainly not desirable, i.e. totally advis-able28). It is this hidden side of relationships, “jeopardy” and “old scores” with the world, that have an inter-subject basis expressed by the scheme (author з expert) з environment.

26 Between the two expressions — “inter-subjective” “I”, and the one introduced by us here — “cross-individual” “I” we give preference to the latter, since it contains the idea of not only “inter”-indi-vidual status of “I” but also a certain vector of intentionality from one “I” to another “I” in a pair.

27 We call valuable something which is not just significant, but has supra individual significance; it is also important to note that the word “to regulate” is derived from the Latin regula (rules, regulations).

28 Imagine that you have achieved the goal upstream: is this what you really wanted?!


V.A. Petrovskiy

In our example, the expert suggested that the author set a more difficult target than the previously adopted (availability 0.11 vs. 0.2), and only this way could the author expect to achieve something he originally sought. It is like that inwardly: we are a bit cunning with ourselves, accepting unrealistic obligations, then we abide by them, and as a result we have what we wanted to have.

Representatives of the Leontiev’s psychological school (the tradition emphasizing the distinction between motives and goals), I think, would find it interesting to know that the motive in the expression (0.7з 0.11) з 0.2 = 0.7 can be associated with the number 0.7; further, the imaginary goal (a new term, but without it — no way!) — the number of 0.11; and the goal as such — the numerical value of the implication (0.7 з 0.11), equal to 0.38. The motive, the imaginary goal and the true goal here are not the same, and it is for this matter that the achievements are adequate to the motive.

Author’s position in the previously described subject assembly (author з expert) з environment in terms of the intra-individual aspect matches another form of existence of my “I”; we say in this case “I myself”, stressing that it is about an individual’s own position, his private interests urging action. The position “I myself” is opposed to what might be called superior “I” of the individual (the expert’s introject). That is, in this case, the form of my “you”mediating requests of my “I”, claiming success.

“I myself” is a subject of the activity at the target level of self-regulation: “I myself” relies on superior “I”, correcting thus its claims that makes it possible to achieve the desired.

«Adjustment.» Operational level of self-regulation. The prototype of this process is the scheme master з (worker з environment). In this case, the individual acts in a dual role: it is still pursuing its goal (to achieve the desired without changing their claims), but it is searching for its own style of activity, it is adjusting to the situation. The activity takes place on two levels: there is a motivational target level (here the motive and goal are completely fused) and an operational one in which the task is simplified, the satisfaction with achievements equates to requests. Let us recall that in our example the original unfavorable ratio 0.7 з 0.2 = 0.44, is replaced by a quite acceptable 07з (0.54з 0.2) ~ 07з 0.57~ 07.

The analysis of the types of personality pathology and levels of development of the personal organization, types of adaptations, as well as age regressions in terms of impossibility to cope with a situation opens a possible perspective for clinical and experimental research in the study of adjustments.

Thus, the narcissistic personality, according to H. Kohut, needs to be supported by “self-objects”, experienced as part of the “I”. They are usually described as providing maintaining, restoring or transformation of the “I”. This term is applied to the subjective, intra-psychic experience of experiencing the presence of the Other. What role does self-object take while establishing a connection of the narcissistic “I” and the world? Who is that in terms of its function and place in the inner life of the person: an adviser? a colleague? an employee (servant)? This question requires a special analysis, and so far we do not have any clear-cut answer. But in this case, as with other personality

Subjectness as Possibleness


disorders, it is possible to bring to the analysis the logic of “subject assemblies” that could explain how an impaired person gains the sense of wellbeing, although, as it would seem, it has no apparent reason for it.

The trend of decreasing the age of mental response in a situation of inability to solve the problem constitutes a specific problem. In this regard, A. Pankratov uses a special construct proposed by L. Szekely — “infantile presentations” (“the original, or at least in case of the dominant form of a child’s attitude to the environment”) (Pankratov, 2003, pp. 9-10). “For a newborn child to meet any need means to express to another their dissatisfaction, in fact, to ask, to demand help. This explains the formation of mythological thinking in ordinary consciousness”, writes A. Pankratov “Caught in an unsolvable personally meaningful problem situation, a person goes from top to bottom all the layers of his cognitive experience until he “gets stuck” into the fundamental subject formations. The function of mythological thinking is exactly opposite to the functions of scientific thinking. The latter aims to rigidly distinguish the cognized from the unknown, the comprehensible from the incomprehensible. The task of mythological thinking is to make the world a comfortable and interesting, understandable and predictable place” (ibid). In my view, the author is quite right in his intention to find the source of “comfort” in the child’s early interactions with adults. But we should clarify the status of mythological thinking, in contrast to the scientific thinking. In my opinion, this is a change of focus of achievement. Scientific thinking is the

search for truth as such, for the completed vision, for the discretion of the “point” at the end of the process (as opposed to the “point of view” when the object itself has yet to be disclosed to perfection). In contrast to the scientific thinking, mythological thinking gives off to people the experience of opportunities, and we thus find ourselves in the area of the subject as a “purchaser of possibilities”; Berne’s Child (the infantile part of the person) is here the “customer” while the allpowerful Bewitching Parent is the supplier of experienced and providing the feeling of comfort possibilities of solutions (but, of course, not necessarily the solution itself).

Positions of the master in the subject assembly master з (worker з environment) in the subjective, intra-psychic aspect, correspond to what might be called capable “I”. But, of course, it is one thing to be a capable manager but another matter is to perform. The figure of the worker may have different representations in the individual consciousness. This may be an internal experimenter, a conductor (a stalker, a contactee) and even a medium. When we say, “Intuition tells me,” we seem to have in mind this subject’s “voice” in us. In any case, my “you”should be held accountable for its discoveries and insights before the capable “I”. Therefore the internalized (introject-ed) figure of the worker we shall call the executive “I” (we come across the same term in Eric Berne’s works; it is likely that there is no contradiction in the discourse, moreover, it appears that the executive “I” as an introject as a person serving a child’s interests (the worker’s interests), corresponds to the


V.A. Petrovskiy

executive ”I” in Berne’s construction (Berne, 2001))29.

The capable “I” is a subject of activity in the operational level of self-regulation. His desires are realized based on the executive “I”, which comes into a direct contact with the environment.

“A problem to one’s taste”: four levels of Possibleness

Obviously there are problems which are stated not to find some utilitarian solutions but they are a way for a person to test own capabilities. We call such tasks “a problem to one’s taste”. These are the problems which the person does not have to solve. They are stated and solved by him by his own volition. At the same time personality as if tests its own Possibleness.

Here are some hypothetical features typical for a problem to one’s taste:

• “Commitment, but neither fuss, nor success...” These words, defining the purpose of creativity by Boris Pasternak, give a clear picture of a problem to one’s taste. The solution of such a problem requires a full-time commitment (otherwise how to check what you can do?). We remember that this situation corresponds to a privileged point of the optimum of commitment, or self-sacrifice, — action to the limit.

• Novelty. This problem is new; a person has no objective reasons to feel confident about being able to solve it. If such reasons were available, then the subjective probability to solve the problem would be superior to the alter-

native probability not to cope with it, and in this case we would rather talk of proving one’s abilities rather than trying them out. So, there is no guarantee that the problem can be solved. It can be said about such a problem, if it is selected, — “valuable in itself” (the value in the problem itself, i.e. in the search of a solution, while it is not known beforehand, whether a solution exists at all, and whether it can be realized by the individual).

• Non-predetermined success. This is a problem with a non-predetermined outcome of a solution. The lack of certainty of the subject that the problem can be solved, does not mean that the problem is unsolvable in his eyes. Otherwise he would not have chosen this task to test his capabilities. That is why we believe that the a priori probability of the solution must be no more and no less than what the individual senses. Indeed, if I know in advance that the problem will likely to be solved by me, why would I solve it? What new will I learn about myself having solved a problem predictably solvable for me?! If it is less likely that the problem will be solved by me, does it makes sense to test my skills, solving it (because it is predictably unsolvable)?! In short, the choice of such a problem should have, as we say, an “active-non-adaptive” nature which is impelled by the result being non-predetermined.

• Persistence. Solving such a problem, a person must show persistence. This means he is ready to face the risk of failure to confirm its positive intuition, but, nevertheless, the expected

29 E. Berne spoke of the existence of two “Is”, leaving the question of “how is this possible?” at the

mercy of philosophers.

Subjectness as Possibleness


effect of his actions corresponds to the mobilized efforts (one might say, on the one hand he acts “recklessly”, on the other hand — “using his head”).

Shaping hypotheses of the research we assumed the following general premise: choice and solving of a problem to one’s taste allows an individual to feel its Possibleness in several respects:

1) relying on his own strength, to anticipate success; 2) forming adequate claims, to cope with uncertainty; 3) to have reasonable prospects for the future; 4) to take the risks of failure to confirm his intuition while hoping for the better. In other words, it is assumed that in the solution of a problem to one’s taste, the condition of subjectness of self-regulation is fulfilled at all levels of goal-setting, when desires of an individual meet his expectations.

An empirical research was aimed at assessing the adequacy of these assumptions on the basis of the technique developed by the author for assessing the individual’s level of subjective Possibleness in the process of solving problems to taste30. Thirty seven subjects (aged 18 to 33 years) were asked to answer a series of questions which are listed below (the reader will see the brackets with the numbers 1 and 0 on the right to the questions, but in the questionnaire these brackets and their contents were not available).

Fifty subjects (aged 18 to 33) were proposed to describe their feelings,

thoughts and actions in the process of solving a problem, which was of interest to them giving the opportunity to test themselves, to try out their abilities. They chose which task would be to their taste. Below is a list of questions used. The reader will see to the right of each of them “1” or “0” in brackets. They mark the presence or absence in the statements of such things as “intention to act” (the first element), “foreseeing a positive outcome” (the second element), and “a forecast of a positive outcome” (the third element). In the questionnaire, of course, the brackets with the properly labeled semantic aspects of the question were absent.

It was necessary to put an “x” on the scale of “rare — often”, answering the general question How often, when solving a problem, do you:

1) check yourself again trying to ascertain the correctness of your guess and ideas (as if testing their strength)? {1,0,1};

rarely ——————————— often

2) consider it necessary to wait for “the very” happy occasion when the situation itself will tell you what to do next (rely on good luck, as if leading you to a discovery)? {0,1,1} (the grading scale is no longer displayed in the text);

3) assume the need to “put to rest” versions that seem dubious to you? {1,0,0};

30 The master's thesis of R. Okhlopkova (Okhlopkova, 2011) there are significant correlations between the level of self-establishment of the person while solving a problem to one’s taste and levels of “psychological well-being”, in the majority of scales and at the overall assessment of the level of psychological well-being (K. Riff) (The scales of psychological well-being), as well as the level of self-efficacy using the self-efficacy test questionnaire of Maddux and Sherer (Maddux J.E., Sherer M., The selfefficacy scale) adapted by A. Boyarintseva.


V.A. Petrovskiy

4) think: it would be good if someone would come and tell me what to do next (but, alas, this won’t happen)? {0,1,0};

5) believe that you will not make a mistake by acting this way and not some other way? {1,1,1};

6) refuse to solve the problem following an old way, keep aloof from the situation and inwardly get prepared for a new solution (“switch”)? {0,0,1};

7) do not want to do anything, you have no ideas, you do not feel anything other than a sense of total futility? {0,0,0};

8) think: “I must try!”, though you feel that it is absolutely in vain? {1,1,0}.

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When processing the materials the leftmost position of the “x” on the scale “rare — often” was given the value of 0, and the far right — the value of 1 (all other values were regarded as proportional to the distance between the location of the cross on the scale and the extreme left point on the scale).

After the processing of the responses of the subjects (the method of working with the material was described in the article (Petrovskiy, 2009b)), we could identify the following:

• The power of the original call to action: “diligence” {1,0,1}; “skepticism” {1,0,0}, “I can’t lose anything, but what if?” {1,1,0}, “victory will be ours!” {1,1,1})

• The forecasted availability of the solution: “luck” {0,1,1}, “straw” {0,1,0}, “victory will be ours!” {1,1,1}, “I can’t lose anything, but what if?” {1,1,0}

• The foreboding (desires): “diligence” {1,0,1}, “luck” {0,1,1}, “victory will be ours!” {1,1,1}, “this way or another” {0,0,1}.

We calculated certain derivative characteristics (“non-pragmatic risk” as a value opposed to foreboding, and others).

The following are the results of testing of four empirical hypotheses of the research:

Hypothesis 1. Intention to success (“I want to try out what I am capable of”), the stake on oneself (readiness to succeed with a support on some underlying forces), and a premonition of success (“I will do it”) match each other in strength and are quantitatively equal to the golden section (0.618):

x = x з (1 — x) = s = 0.618,

where x is the power of “I want”, x з (1 — x) is “the will to succeed” (“I want” supported by some underlying forces”), and s is a premonition of success (“I will do it”).

If the first hypothesis is correct, then the equality should be right31:

x* = x* з (1 —x*) = s* = 0.618

First, we checked the normal distribution of x* and s* and calculated the empirical average of x* and s*.The data show a normal distribution of x* and s*. The value of x* = 0.623, which corresponds to the hypothetical value of 0.618, predicted by the model of Possibleness (the difference of 0.623 and 0.618 is insignificant, a = 0.01). It was also found that the value of s* was equal to 0.596, which, although somewhat different from the empirical x* (0.623) and the empirical average of the distribution of x* з (1 — x*)

The empirical data cited in the formulas hereinafter are marked with an asterisk “*

Subjectness as Possibleness


(0.612), is not statistically significant, accounting for, respectively, 0.022 and 0.027 (a = 0.05).

The hypothetical average value of the “stake on oneself”, x з (1 —x), shall be equal to 0.618. The checking shows that the values of x* з (1 —x*) are normally distributed, while the average value of the sample is equal to 0.612 (the difference from 0.618 is insignificant, a = 0.01).

Thus, the hypothesis 1, which characterizes the will while solving a problem to one’s taste, is confirmed: the power of “I want”, the stake on oneself, and a premonition of success are adequate to each other and quantitatively equal to the golden section 0.618.

Hypothesis 2. Claims correspond to the intuition of success:

(xз y) з 0.5 = x з y

We shall explain that in this expression y means the forecast of success; the two-stage implication (x з y) з 0.5 — is the intuition of success (an intuitive belief in success); x з y is the level of claims; the number 0.5 is the subjective probability of the solution possibility in complete uncertainty. Let us recall that in solving problems to one’s taste a subject does not know in advance how the problems can be solved in principle, or/and by him personally. In this case, using the language of everyday speech, we say that the subjective probability of solving these problems for the subject is fifty-fifty (0.5). We should also add that the implicative record can be understood as an attempt of the subject to realize their desires, mediated by the forecast of their feasibility.

If the second hypothesis is correct, then the equality should be true:

(x* з y*) з 0.5 ~ x* з y*

We have:

(0.623з 0474) з 05 = 0672 з 05 ~ 0664 (the hypothesis is confirmed, a = 0.01).

Thus, the hypothesis 2 is confirmed: in the process of solving the problem to one’s taste the belief in success corresponds to the level of claims; the person dominates the chance in the conditions of complete uncertainty about the outcome of action (which characterizes the value level of self-regulation).

Hypothesis 3. The prospect of success corresponds to the intention:

(x з y) з z = x = 0.618

Here a new symbol z is introduced. For us it symbolizes what can be called the risk of not confirmed premonitions (in technology it is equivalent to the term “tolerance”, in this case it is about the maximum permissible deviations of the results of the activity from the individual’s premonitions). Formally, z is defined by the equality z = s з g, where g is a guarantee of success. It is important not to confuse guarantees and probabilities of anything. There are only two kinds of guarantees: the guarantee that exists and the guarantee that does not exist: g = 1 or g = 0. There are no intermediate degrees for guarantees. In the context of solving a problem to one’s taste, g = 0, and thus under these conditions, z = s з 0 = 1 - s. The prospect of success, as we can see, includes a certain “tolerance”, the risk


V.A. Petrovskiy

of not confirmed premonitions (we will name it briefly “the risk of non-confirmation”). This is a kind of Archimedes “fulcrum” which can turn a seemingly favorable situation (1 з 1 = 1), transforming it into a hopeless one (if s = 1, then z = 0) and vice versa — to bestow good fortune when the prognosis is seemingly hopeless (1 з 0 = 0) (if s = 1, then (1 з 0) з 1 = 1).

If the third hypothesis is true, then the equality must be confirmed:

(х* з y*) з z* ~ x* ~ 0.618

We have:

(0.623 з 0474) з 0404 = 0.601 ~ 0.618 (the hypothesis is confirmed, a = 0.01).

Thus, in solving problems to one’s taste, there is a relation between the intension, prognosis and the risk of non-confirmation in which the opening prospects of a solution meet the individual’s intentions (the target level of self-regulation).

Hypothesis 4. In solving a problem of taste, intentions are mediated by the risk of not being confirmed, and the effect achieved corresponds to the intentions:

x з z = x

Expression x з z should be called persistence. We say “persistence” meaning that the efforts mobilized by the individual, are mediated by the risk of not confirmed premonitions (the openness to a negative experience).

If the fourth hypothesis is correct, then the equality should be right:

x* з z* ~x*

We have:

0.623 з 0.404 ~ 0.629 (the hypothesis is confirmed, a = 0.01).

So, solving a problem to one’s taste, the person is willing to face the risk of not confirming his apprehensions, but the expected effect of his actions corresponds to the mobilized efforts (the operational level of self-regulation).

So, four hypotheses have been empirically confirmed.

The general conclusion to which we come in this part of our research is that in the process of solving a problem to one’s taste — a supra situational problem — each “I” living in the person reaches its secret purposes, be it autocratic “I” (the introject of a selfemployed farmer, with his slogan “Omnia mea mecum porto” and who works with full dedication), “With one other” (the introject of a leader who believes in control over chance), “I do it myself” (the introject of an author who is in charge of perspectives), “capable “I” (the introject of a master who controls the situation). Everyone has their own approach to constructing their actions, their options of internal interactions between my “I” and my “you”.

An active presence of the “Other” (Petrovsky, 2014) allows the person being a multi-subject integrity to achieve the Possibleness optimum at different levels (volitional, value, target and operational) of self-regulation. Each of the poles of the pair of my “I” — my “you” corresponds to a specific phenomenology grasped by such words as: open “I” — latent “I” (the level of will); I am with you — you are with me (the level of values), I am for myself — you

Subjectness as Possibleness


are for me (the level of goals); capable “I” — executive “I” (the level of resources)32.

An individual choosing and solving a problem to one’s taste, shows signs of subjectness in each of the four selected levels: volitional, value, target and operational desires of the individual (I want) are embodied, respectively, into a feeling equal in the intensity of the possibilities of their implementation (I can do it).

Ternary Personality

There is a simple (or, at least, recognized by many) example of a ternary personality: the transactional-analytical model of personality developed by Eric Berne. We are talking in this case about the “triumvirate of subjects”. In terms of Possibleness of desires, with such constructs as Adult, Parent, and Child being involved, in a number of works, we have proposed a personolog-ical interpretation of the bipolar choice model by V. Lefebvre (Lefebvre, 1996, 2003) and based on it “reflexive model of the normalized behavior” by T Taran (Taran, 2000, 2001). A version was developed that allows to explain one of the phenomena of psychology of motivation that causes continuing interest of researchers (Petrovsky, 2006).

J. Atkinson, who has studied the motivation of free preferences of problems of varying degrees of difficulty (the level of the person’s desires), offered an elegant mathematical model of “risk-taking”, designed to predict the level of difficulty of a task selected depending on what motive is dominant: either the desire for success or the one to avoid failure. According to this model, individuals whose desire for success prevails over the desire to avoid failure, would choose tasks of a medium level of difficulty (and if dominated by fear of failure, then they would choose either the easiest or the most difficult tasks). Years of psychological research have shown justification for predictions concerning the behavior of subjects with a dominant desire to avoid failure. However, subjects motivated by success, behaved somewhat differently than it was predicted by the model of risk taking. They chose the tasks, the difficulty of which was higher than the average (in the range between 0.6 and 0.7, instead of the calculated level of difficulty equal to 0.5). The phenomenon of displacement of preferences has created different versions (H. Heckhausen discusses them (Heck-hausen, 1980)), adapting the model to facts by the price of making its nature more complex.

32 It is interesting to trace in what mental formations the tracks of activity which we have described — value, volitional, target and operational — occur. I believe that a productive opportunity for that is provided by the model of the stratigraphic analysis of consciousness by F.E. Vasilyuk who points out the following modes of functioning of consciousness: reflection, awareness, experience, and unconscious (Vasilyuk, 2008). The author of the model offers an elegant metaphor of a stave allowing to “record” notes of some experienced states in their synchronic and diachronic unity. We shall note that in this case in all strata of the psyche an individual manifests himself as a subject four times for at the same time a consonance between efforts mobilized and achievements acquired is set at each level of the “stave”.


V.A. Petrovskiy

We offer a simple solution. The meta-implicative scheme (Adult з Parent) з Child under certain assumptions generates two forms of interaction between the Ego states. First is the agreement between Parent and Child: (хAdut з (1 -х)^ з (1 - х)лш= х. In this case, the test subjects should choose the problems, the level of difficulty which is located in the golden section (0.618). The second form of interaction is Child’s rebellion against Parent (xAdult з (1 -x)pareJ з хши = хШи-In this case, the test subjects should choose either the easiest or the most difficult problems (here is no discrepancy with J. Atkinson’s model of risk taking). You can read more about it in the following works (Petrovskiy, 2006).

How the subject can attain Possibleness?

All this allows the possibility of seeing a new aspect of the problem of subjectness (the ability of an individual to be both the source and the result of their own actions). This question brings us to the idea of goal-setting and goal-achieving processes being mediated by society. Initially, the relationships with the world of others are realized in the external plan (some mediation chains were reviewed in this article), and then they plunge into the inner space of a person’s existence (actually this is what the person is built upon). Hegel formulates the fundamental concept of the “Cunning of Reason”, emphasizing that mediation disposing to the natural influence of some objects to others, leads to the solution of problems, no matter how difficult they may seem: “The drive lets nature consume

itself, watches quietly and guides it all with only the slightest effort. [This is] cunning.”

But we shall note that in this “stealth” there is a hidden risk for human illusions when we “run”, it would seem, a natural mechanism of interpersonal interaction, where some cunning people affect other cunning people. Sometimes we allow others to “outwit” ourselves. “Ah, it is easy to deceive me!... I long to be deceived myself!” — we read Pushkin’s lines. Maksim Gorky’s Luka, a Russian itinerant philosopher, recites in a flop house (how he happens to know the verses by Beranger is a mystery):

All honor and glory to the madman who arouses

Humankind with a golden dream!

The world of George Herbert Mead (the world of symbolic interactionism) is still unknown Gorky and his characters. But the fact that people live in the world of symbolic and not only tangible interactions, that values of our existence cannot be objectified and recorded from the outside, by the “eye”, that will never be built the Chamber of Weights and Measures to measure and weigh man’s achievements, his sense of well-being in the world, his capacity, all that we call Possibleness, — this fact was beyond doubt for the writer. As well, however, as the fact that the path of truth is a sacred matter, and those who have turned off this road, are certainly mad. The civilization and culture make up the eternal dispute between Gorky’s characters Satin (“Man is free, he pays for everything himself”) and Luka (“What you believe, does exist”).

Is the culture of goal-setting, in some cases the only way to reconcile

Subjectness as Possibleness


man with himself, since he is committed to the optimum of prosperity and capacity then and there, when and where it is almost impossible?

Assuming, following L. Vygotsky, that in the process of personal development the internalization of culture is not only the assimilation of “sign-tools”, but also the immersing of interindividual relations into the inner space of the person, within which these tools operate, we can interpret this process as a condition for achieving the Possibleness optimum. The internal culture, “inward society”, other subjects reflected in us, along with their own worlds in which we ourselves are presented, — all this is the stealth that allows us to be on a par with the situation, and sometimes rise above it (Petrovskiy, 2010b, 2013b).


Note 1. We shall briefly define the three meanings of the term “self-value” in relation to the “possible”. The first meaning (seemingly the least familiar) emphasizes a special status of the possible: it cannot be reduced to any of the moments of the current being (Epstein, 2001). Any possibility within Epstein’s “Philosophy of the Possible” is not seen as fully implemented, there is always an excess characterizing it as a possibility (which, we shall note, is quite fair! Possibilities not only do not coincide with the poles of “being — non-being” but even cannot be fully described in terms of the development linking the poles, although at first glance this assumption inevitably comes to mind). M. Epstein refers to the cultural critic and social philosopher Slavoj Zizek who said that in a possibility there is

more than just a possibility (Zizek, 1993, pp. 159, 160) and comments on that: “In other words, the possibility comprises an inability to fully realize it” (M. Epstein). This puts an emphasis on the value, we would say, of the unfeasibly possible.

But we say that there is not merely one answer to the question of excessiveness. The value of the distance that exists “between” the possible and the actual is not limited to the sovereignty of the former in relationship to the latter. The “clearance” can provoke activity aimed at overcoming it. The author of these lines often recalls the words of his teacher, poet, literary critic and public figure A. Jacobson about the early and mature poetry by B. Pasternak: “I love the early Pasternak so much that it is impossible to love more. And I love his later poems even more: through the impossible!”. In this case the impossible which symbolizes the actual is overcome by the excess of the possible being implemented into reality. In other words, the excessive “I can” born in activity encourages the individual to commit acts that implement an excess of possibilities and result in appearing of a new “I can”. In the meantime, a second wind of the possible becomes available.

Finally, possibilities themselves may be experienced by people as implemented (based on a mathematical analogy, let us imagine a function relating the coordinate axes). In this case, man himself experiences the possibility of going beyond the current being which is given to him in intuition and anticipation, in the sensation of being open to the world, of belonging to themselves, of certainty in the future. Pushkin’s “peace and freedom” embodies this.


V.A. Petrovskiy

As we can see, the dynamics of the possible is not confined to potentiation (the term of Schelling’s philosophy which is successfully used by the author of the “Philosophy of the Possible”), but it includes also an embodiment of the possible.

Recognizing various aspects of values of the possible, we can ask ourselves: What is a positive meaning of the possible? Our answer is that it is the possible as a source of the desirable. We could illustrate it with a sequence of questions and answers that describe a correlation of the possible and desirable:

“...the desirable — of what?”

“Of what is possible.”

“But what is possible?”

“The possible as such!”

If it comes to activity (and this notion is included in our model of subjectness as possibleness), the self-value of the possible means the unity of “I want what I can” and “I can what I want”. Thus the circle of self-causality is closed the latter determining subjectness: potentiation ^ implementation ^ potentiation.

Note 2. We share D. Leontiev’s idea of creating “possibilistic” psychology focused on the problems of human existence which normally flows between necessity and chance (Leontiev, 2011). This project seems not only intriguing, but also deeply motivated. The author quite correctly names it personological (as the interests of the academic, fixing given, and the practical, dealing with possibilities, psychology of personality, intersect in the new personology) (see Petrovskiy, 2003, 20l3a; Petrovskiy & Starovoytenko, 2012; Starovoytenko, 2012). An important point related to

developing the “possibilistic” psychology is the focus on the fact that human beings sometimes act automatically in response to stimuli, and sometimes they do it consistent with their capacities, that is, they make a choice. We would say, that “the human situation” is always between the logic of the “stimulus-response” and the logic of the “call-choice” (read more on the opposition of the pairs “stimulus-response” and “call-choice” in Petrovskiy, 2010b, pp. 79-82). However, the main question is who makes the choice, i.e. what is the mysterious “something” exercising self-determination. This is, indeed, a difficult, and we would say, key question of the theory! D. Leontiev, speaking almost with delight of self-determination theory by Edward Deci and Richard E. Ryan (Ryan & Deci, 2002), by his own admission, felt “when looked at it in detail”, “some unavoidable contradiction...”: “Is it not a paradox there”, quite rightly says D. Leontiev, “to argue that autonomy and the ability to own, not causally conditioned choice, result from a causally determined process? This theory lacks an answer to the main question of why man needs autonomy and self-determination, that is, the question of their meaning” (p. 19). Let us continue: even if an answer to the question Why? is found, the old Kantian question will remain unresolved: How self-determination is possible, what is this self in relation to discrimination of natural and free causes? We will not dwell here on a detailed discussion of this issue, not only philosophical but also a specific academic one, but we do not rule out that the answer will be associated with the understanding of “I” as a bundle of internal possibilities (or a cascade of

Subjectness as Possibleness


sensual pulses distributed at random trajectories, subjectless in their basis, but configurable by the cultural patterns of “I”), which encounter on their path a flow of impulses from the environment (Petrovsky, 2011; Petrovskiy, 2012, 2015).

Note 3. Considering possibilities, (production and reproduction of which, from the point of view of the author of this article, are defining characteristics of the subjectness of an individual), it makes sense to refer to the concept of four fundamental motivations suggested by Alfried Langle who has developed the personal existential analysis. Without expounding the concept itself (its essence is described in a capacious article by A. Langle translated from German into Russian (Langle, 2009)), in this context we will cover only one theme prompting contemplation — on the value status of human capabilities. Alfried Langle is certainly right when he considers the questioning “Can I be?” not a manifestation of one of many but the fundamental motivation of human existence (and he names it, by the way, the first one). But it should be noted that the question of the possibility of “being” needs to be supplemented: do these possibilities as the conditions of existence mean anything else? The answer is at the tip of the pen of the person who suggested a definition for “existence”. We can read the definition in this paper by A. Langle. And it appears that in the definition there is everything, or almost everything, to enable us to come to a decision. “Existential Analysis”, says Langle, “got its name from the central concept — that is, of the existence. In this direction of psychotherapy existence is understood as a creating possi-

bility (a challenge, a task) of every situation...” (ibid, p. 4). The idea of “creative possibility, as we see, makes up the definition of existence. In this definition of existence we should note the shared by us understanding of possibilities as a source of an individual’s desires (“excessive possibilities as a source of activity”, “I can” as another “force” against the background of desire and duty”, “not only I can do what I want, but also I want to do what I can”) (Petrovskiy, 1976, 1977, 1992a, 1996a, 2010b, 2013a). But we shall take note that the value status of a creative possibility is not given in detail in the definition of existence suggested by the concept’s author’s (in contrast to the delicately traced “ontological”, “axiological”, “ethical” and “praxeological” statuses (“levels”) of the four basic conditions of the “fulfilled existence”). There are two circumstances due to which the question of the value status of a creative possibility needs to be discussed.

First. “The essence of existence,” says Langle, “is in an interactive exchange between the Person and con-tingencies/limitations (outward and inward).” In this regard, there may be a false impression that the creating possibility carries itself precisely in the interests of the Person (and it is important to reject this interpretation in preventive purposes, as it alludes to some special interests, supposedly inherent to the Person “on the other side” of the movement of possibilities).

Second. The creating possibility at a more particular examination does not reveal itself directly, it drifts out of sight when the existential analyst describes the meaning of the four fundamental motivations. In the first fundamental


V.A. Petrovskiy

motivation (“to be able to exist”), it acts as a condition of being, but not as a singular existential value. When describing the other fundamental motivations (“the attitude to life” (the 2nd fundamental motivation), “the attitude to being oneself» (the 3rd one), “finding personal meaning” (the 4th one)) the “creative possibility” finds for itself other words, it merges with them and is dissolved therein.

But we shall, however, hold to the point that the creating possibility has its own value (for all definitions of existence prevailing in philosophy and psychology, it is “life itself”). Or, in a different formulation, we shall assume that existence, as possessing an absolute and immutable value, is a self-creating possibility. This characterizes existence from the subject point of view (from the object one it represents the production and exchange of things, but in terms of its subject manifestation it is given in the experience “I can”; its objective image is presented by super-sensible processes of actualization, production and accumulation of possibilities).

So the first fundamental motivation (“to be able to exist”, and therefore — to create possibilities) is presented in each other fundamental motivation. And being the “first”, it is also the “last” one among the others, thus closing the circle. It must be also recognized that the second and third fundamental motivations are imbued with the selfvaluable feeling of “I can”: an active sensation of a “self-creating possibility”. It is no doubt that the very sense of pleasure derived from “I can” is present in the second fundamental motivation (“to say Yes to the World”). Besides, the right to dispose of own capabilities is contained in the third one (“to say

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Yes to the Person”). And finally the freedom of choice from the spectrum “I can” is part of the fourth motivation (“to say Yes to the Meaning”).

Note 4. Let us examine closely the construction of the proposed model (its components, relations between them and the major assumptions).

1. “Variable” models are possibilities, urges and achievements of the subject. We also say, respectively, “resources”, “requests” and “results”. The first set of terms is, rather, psychological. The terms of the second set have a more general nature. “Possibilities” (“resources”) are experienced by the subject conditions of achieving any benefits (food, money, information, love, status, etc., etc.). We should emphasize that in this case we mean not the good as such (calories, the contents of one’s wallet, knowledge, the number of “strokes”, powers), but the conditions required to attaining the desired or owning it. For example, the subjective value of money is determined not by its amount in roubles or euros, but by the units of relevant attractive goods that can be bought with the money by the person. In addition, it can be assumed that there is, apparently, an “extra” money’s worth: a hypothetical delta value determined by the possibility of free choice between the goods of the same price (this hypothesis was verified in a joint study with the I. Toktarova).

2. The symbol 1 indicates the maximum level of the variables manifestation (possibilities, wishes and achievements); wherein all variables — x, y z... — vary from 0 to 1.

3. We differ between manifested and unmanifested possibilities, expressed, accordingly, as v+ and v— ; v— =1 — v+.

Subjectness as Possibleness


4. We determine successive moments of time: before, now, later; the lower characters “before”, “now”, “later” are used in the records.

5. We define the subject’s Possibleness (at any time) w as a collection of currently manifested possibilities: w = v+.

6. We accept that Possibleness in the past moment of time becomes an incentive for action at the next moment of time: xm = wht,f„e.

In other words, the magnitude of current incentives is equal to the amount of internal possibilities that emerged at the previous turn of activity (the principle “I can” begets “I want”).

7. We consider the newly acquired possibilities xy (lower characters are omitted here). This means that the share of the resource provided by environment is used by the subject to the extent of his interest in this resource. Thus, xy is a level of the subject’s request being satisfied (at this level, he gains a possibility to taste something delicious, to make money, to learn something important, to achieve love of another person, to enjoy the power and so on). This can be experienced by the subject as a personal achievement (a success when xy ^ 0.5, a failure when xy ^ 0.5).

8. We determine Possibleness of the subject in the present, wnow, as the sum of the previously unmanifested and now actualized possibilities, as well as fulfilled requests in the present:


= 1 X,

ю 15 m

The left part of the sum, 1 — xmw, we interpret as previously unmanifested possibilities v—, actualized now (we remember that v— = 1 — v+ = 1 — xnow). The right side represents newly acquir-

ed possibilities (the same as fulfilled request in the present).

Let us also mention here the implicative form of the model recording (it was proved in some works (Petrovskiy, 2002, 2010b, 2013a; Petrovskiy & Taran, 2002). The record:

w = x 3 y = 1 — x + xy

in the strict reading means “the full implementation of the share x of the request 1 is mediated by the share y of the full external resource 1”. In short, “the request x is mediated by the resource y”.

The dynamics of Possibleness is described as follows:

wnow = 1 —wbefore + wbefore'llnow.

This initial Possibleness w0 is defined as equal to 1 (“I can” = “I want” = 1).


1. Based on the understanding of the subject as “the cause of itself” (causa sui) the possibility to “be the subject” is considered in relation to the human individual.

2. A specific area of human life is outlined, in which subjectness interpreted as self-causality, becomes a reality: the production and reproduction of an individual’s possibilities.

3. The criterion of subjectness of an individual is introduced: it is a correspondence between the possibilities invested in the process of achieving, and the possibilities accumulated during the process.

4. There are two groups of possibilities: instrumental and valuable in themselves (“not only I can do what I


V.A. Petrovskiy

want, but also I want to do what I can”).

5. The concept of Possibleness is given a definition as a dynamic unity experienced as “I can”, “I want”, “I achieve” (the focus of subjective possibilities that encourage activity and are produced by it).

6. On the basis of the previously developed mathematical model of Possibleness the criteria of the Possibleness optimum are suggested (“Get your investments repaid”, “Be efficient”, “Save up”, “Do not skimp on efforts”).

7. In this context, subjectness is defined as the Possibleness that meets the criteria of the optimum.

8. It is shown that when it is impossible to fulfill the optimum conditions in the interaction of “one-to-one with the world” (the limited environment resources, the deficit or surplus of desires), the individual is forced to enter a coalition with others. Some models of such coalitions (“subject assemblies”) are proposed and illustrated using numerical examples: self-employed farmer, author — expert, leader — partners, and master — worker.

9. In accordance with the law of higher mental functions development (according to L. Vygotsky) a hypothet-

ical attempt was made to describe the structure of an individual’s personality as a result of “interiorization” of various subject assemblies; from this point of view manifestations of an individual’s self-regulation were considered (volitional, meaning, target and operational forms).

10. Within the framework of an empirical research it was shown that in the process of solving self-check problems chosen freely by the participants (“problems to one’s taste”), each of the internal subjects within personality (Autocratic I, With One Other, I Myself, and Capable I) reaches a consistency between their desires and acquired possibilities.

11. Three variants of the subject personality organization were considered: mono-personality, binary personality, and ternary personality.

12. Hypothetical and real-life examples of “work” of the model of an individual’s Possibleness were given for different variants of the subject personality organization: the model of an ideal negotiator (Trust, but verify! — How much?), the model of hope and disappointment in love, the model of the triumvirate of subjects, and the reinterpreting model of risk-taking by J. Atkinson.


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Субъектность как состоятельность


Субъектность как состоятельность*

Петровский Вадим Артурович

Ординарный профессор НИУ ВШЭ, профессор кафедры психологии личности департамента психологии НИУ ВШЭ, член-корреспондент РАО, профессор, доктор психологических наук.

Контакты: petrowskiy@mail.ru


Понимая под субъектом вообще «причину себя» и трактуя субъектность индивидуума как его способность быть источником и одновременно результатом собственной активности, автор отвечает на вопрос: что в индивидууме выступает предметом воспроизводства? По сравнению с более ранней трактовкой субъектности, круг проявлений causa sui специфицируется: рассматриваются возможности индивидуума, реализуемые и обретаемые им в процессе движения к цели. «Субъект» — не тот, кто достигает (не всё во власти того, кто действует), а тот, кто делает все, чтобы достичь. «Быть субъектом» — это значит: производить возможности достижения. Критерий субъектнос-ти — соответствие между возможностями, вкладываемыми в процесс, и возможностями, аккумулируемыми в процессе достижения цели. В таком понимании «субъектность» есть искусство обращаться со своими возможностями, обеспечивая их воспроизводство. Постулируется, что общий объем потенциальных возможностей индивидуума безграничен (принимается метафора бесконечномерного куба). Возможности «высваиваются» (М. Хайдеггер) в процессе взаимодействия индивидуума с окружением. При этом они не только обслуживают достижение каких-либо сторонних целей, но и сами формируют цели, побуждающие активность. Различаем возможности: внутренние и внешние, наличные и скрытые, новоприобретенные и актуализированные, возможности-опоры и возможности-устремления. Принимаем: чем выше уровень наличных (проявленных) возможностей -«могу», тем сильнее стремление воплотить их — «хочу» (таким образом, не только «хочу» вызывает «могу», но и «могу» бросает вызов «хочу»). Динамическое единство «могу и хочу» образует суть того, что автор называет состоятельностью индивидуума -средоточием возможностей, побуждающих активность. Формулируются условия оптимума состоятельности, основанные на математической модели состоятельности, объединяющей в себе представления о многообразии возможностей. В этом контексте субъектность определяется как состоятельность, отвечающая критериям оптимума («Окупай вклады»;«Будь эффективен»; «Экономь»; «Не скупись на усилия»). Очевидным следствием принятия модели состоятельности является переход к мультисубъектным моделям личности: они позволяют реализовать условия оптимума состоятельности в тех случаях, когда взаимодействие «один на один с миром» препятствует обнаружению

* Русскоязычная электронная версия статьи опубликована на сайте журнала «Психология. Журнал высшей школы экономики». Некоторые темы, затронутые в данной статье, раскрываются также в работе В.А.Петровского «"Субъектность" в пространстве культуры и наяву» (Мир психологии. 2015. № 3, с. 14-37).


В.А. Петровский

субъектности (ограниченность ресурсов среды, дефицит или избыточность устремлений). Предложено несколько моделей «субъектных сборок»: «единоличник», «автор — эксперт», «лидер — партнеры», «хозяин — работник». На численных примерах проиллюстрирован эффект достижения оптимума состоятельности при разных формах субъектных сборок. В соответствии с «законом развития» высших психических функций (по Л.С. Выготскому) предпринята гипотетическая попытка описать строение личности индивидуума как результат «интериоризации» различных субъектных сборок. Под этим углом зрения рассмотрены проявления саморегуляции индивидуума (волевая, смысловая, целевая, операциональная формы) при решении им «задачи по вкусу». В рамках эмпирического исследования показано, что в процессе решения таких задач каждый из внутренних субъектов в составе личности («самовластное Я», «сам-друг», «я сам», «распорядительное Я») достигает соответствия между своими устремлениями и обретаемыми возможностями. Рассмотрены три варианта субъектной организации личности: «моносубъект», «бинарный субъект», «тернарный субъект». Приведены гипотетические, а также реальные примеры «работы» модели состоятельности индивидуума при разных вариантах субъектной организации личности: модель идеального переговорщика («Доверяй, но проверяй! — Насколько?»), модель «Надежды и разочарований в любви», модель триумвирата субъектов, реинтерпретирующая «модель принятия риска» Дж. Аткинсона. Культура, явленная индивидууму в виде символических интеракций между разными Я («социум в голове»), трактуется как условие достижения оптимума состоятельности, что подразумевает различные по уровню субъектной сложности личностные построения (бинарность, тернарность, тетрарность и т.п.).

Ключевые слова: causa sui, субъектность, возможности, могущество, состоятельность, оптимум состоятельности, рациональный субъект, присвоение, высвоение, моноличность, бинарная личность, тернарная личность, мультисубъектная организация личности, культурно-историческая теория Л.С Выготского.

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