Vladimir Lefebvre’s Theory of Two Systems of Ethical Cognition
Stuart A. Umpleby
In his 1982 book Algebra of Conscience Vladimir Lefebvre contended that the dominant ethical systems in the West and the Soviet Union were fundamentally different . However, people on each side usually assume that there is only one type of ethical reasoning. The result is that each side takes actions that are misunderstood by the other side. With the guidance of Lefebvre's theory it became possible for both sides to take actions which, although counterintuitive in their own thinking, could lead to more success in negotiations and a reduction in armaments. Luckily, Lefebvre’s theory was used at the highest levels of the governments of the US and the Soviet Union during the break-up of the Soviet Union. Lefebvre’s theory can be used in negotiations between governments, between businesses, and between individuals. The theory explains some of the difficulties encountered in the transitions in the post-communist countries. It may also prove helpful in negotiating with extremist groups.
 V. Lefebvre, Algebra of Conscience: A Comparative Analysis of Western and Soviet Ethical Systems, With a forword by Anatol Rapoport, Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing, 1982.