The Roots of Decision Making

Unicist Decision Making in Adaptive Environments

Decisions are produced because they are needed. When there is no need to decide, the decisions become just a utopia the individual has in mind to deal with reality.

That is why decisions exist when they are implemented. If not, they are just an alternative that will be considered when time for decision making comes.

Unicist decision-making is a conscious process of an individual or group where the justifications and foundations of possible action alternatives are evaluated to make a decision. It is focused on ensuring that the objectives are possible and not only probable.

The unicist double dialectical approach allows integrating the justifications of the purpose that needs to be achieved, with the justifications of the necessary actions, integrating them with their foundations to ensure the accuracy of the decision.

The foundations of a decision-making process define the causality of the process including the root causes, the triggering causes, and the limit causes to ensure the functionality of the decision.

The dualistic approach to decision-making is based on maximal strategic actions based on justifications that are validated by empirical benchmarks without considering the root causes.

About Justifications

Justifications put the decision-making process into action. Justifications are the reasons why a decision is necessary. There are materialistic justifications, ethical justifications and personal justifications.

Materialistic justifications are the “economic” objectives to be achieved through the decision-making process. They are the active function of any justification process. The human decision process is put into action by materialistic needs.

Spiritual decisions, which are basically based on an ethical justification, also have their materialistic active principle because humans need to survive and that requires a materialistic input.

The individual is creating a parallel world and making a fundamentalist approach when spiritual decisions don’t include materialistic needs.

Ethical justifications define the role the individual is willing to play in the environment. They define the final consequence of the decision an individual is willing to make.

The ethical justification must be aligned with the purpose the individual is willing to achieve in the decision-making process.

Personal justifications are those that are related with subjective needs, psychological conditions and personal plans in the field where the decision is being made.

About Foundations / Groundings

Foundations are reasonable, understandable, and provable arguments. Fallacy avoidance is ensured when foundations are included in a decision-making process. That is why foundations are basic in decision-making.

Foundations define the root causes of things. There are different levels of depth of these foundations: analogical, empirical, logical, causal, and conceptual foundations.

When dealing with a complex adaptive environment it is necessary to access the conceptual foundations, which define the root causes of adaptive systems.

Foundations avoid decisions when the end justifies the means. Foundations establish the reasonable limits of what can be decided.

There are several conditions that have to be given when making a grounded decision.

Foundations must be reasonable: this means that the nature of reality needs to be described in a reasonable way.

Foundations must be provable: which means that they have to be able to be proven directly or through their materialistic aspects. The nature of a reality can only be proven through forecasting its materialistic evolution.

Foundations must be understandable: which means that an individual can only participate in a decision process if s/he understands the nature of the decision.

Maximal and Minimum Strategies in Decision Making

In the decision-making process, there appears to be a paradox that in fact is only a natural counterintuitive behavior. Justifications are the basis of maximal strategies and foundations are the basis for minimum strategies. Justifications make people go beyond the boundaries of foundations, but the groundings of the decision-making process make the process sustainable.

The driver of a decision-making process is that “something” has to happen. The need for some result is the necessary condition to decide. An individual can decide to learn something to be prepared to achieve a defined goal. However, the goal has to be “active” to drive the learning process. Without an explicit action, there is no real decision.

The maximal strategy is put into action by the materialistic justification of the decision. The final goal is given by an ethical justification. It has to be considered that ethics is regarded in its functional consequences.

The energy conservation function is given by the personal justification of an individual. Personal justifications establish the level of minimal consumption of personal energy, which makes the justification possible. At the same time, personal justifications are the catalyst of the minimum strategies of the decision process.

The minimum strategy is given by the groundings an individual has to sustain the validity of a decision. The win-win aspect of the groundings process is given by the capacity to prove the validity of the groundings.

The price to be paid is to build the grounding within the limits of what participants can understand. The minimum strategy of the decision-making process is ensured when groundings become reasonable.

A fallacy free decision-making process can occur when both the maximal strategy and the minimum strategy are integrated. Fallacies are shortcuts to avoid the effort of making an objective decision-making process.

The Ontogenetic Algorithm of Decision Making

  1. Define what has to happen
  2. Describe the legitimacy of the decision
  3. Define the materialistic goals that have to be achieved
  4. Clarify your personal commitment to the goal
  5. Establish the formal definition of what has to be achieved
  6. Describe the logic of the groundings
  7. Describe the analogous and homologous benchmarks to be used
  8. Describe the groundings of the decision
  9. Make a rational decision
  10. Make the necessary destructive and non-destructive tests

Decision-making Segments

Four segments of adaptive decision making have been found:

  • Empirical
  • Logical
  • Subjective
  • Materialistic

Empirical Decisions

Empirical decisions are based on provable groundings. Empirical decision-making uses all the empirical tools to sustain the validity of what is being decided (Statistics, experiences, pilot tests, etc).

Empirical decisions are put into action based on economic justifications within the limits of subjective justifications.

Logical Decisions

Logical decision-making is based on the capacity to understand and reason the arguments that sustain the decision-making process.

Logical decision-making processes use explicit or implicit models to analyze reality to make things happen. Logical decision-making processes are put into action based on subjective justifications and are sustained by the economic justification of what is being decided.

Subjective Decisions

Subjective decision-making is based on the ethical and subjective justification of the individual who is deciding. Although materialistic decision-making is included, it is limited by the subjective boundaries of the individual.

Subjective decisions dominantly use feelings, intuition, beliefs, convictions, and personal goals as drivers. Subjective decision-making processes are put into action based on logical groundings and are sustained by empiric validation.

Materialistic Decisions

Materialistic decision-making is based on ethical and materialistic justifications that are driven by the needs of deciders. Materialistic decisions have a high level of objectivity in order to build a bridge between the objective needs of the environment and the individual.

Objective decisions are based on measurable facts, objective relations among values, benefits, and costs, and the need to grow of all participants. They are put into action based on empirical groundings and are sustained by logical validation.


The unicist decision-making approach is necessary when dealing with adaptive environments because it integrates the definition of the possibilities defined by the root causes and the probabilities, which are approached by defining the justifications of the decisions.

When dealing with adaptive environments, it becomes necessary that the decision-making process be preceded by the decision to really solving the problem that is being addressed. This decision drives the root cause research process that is necessary to define the foundations.

Unicist decision-making in the field of complexity implies first exploring the possibilities and then defining the probabilities. A decision-making process ends when the decision has been implemented. Until the implementation has been done, the decision is a hypothetical idea.

The Unicist Research Institute