The Tumor’s Normativity: Normative Structures, Action Norms and Decision Maxims as Therapeutic Targets for Tumor Therapy

  • Albrecht Reichle
  • Joachim Hahn


Are normative notions, i.e., normative structures (morphology, and topology), action norms (including the hallmarks of cancer), and decision maxims (hubs, nodes) physically rationalized, functionally established, and even protected? The inseparable relation between rationalization processes and normative notions may be shown at three observational levels. (1) For many reasons, normative notions do not constitute a posteriori classifying phrases or dummies that hide a broad variety of arbitrary tumor-associated phenomena. On the contrary, normative notions are a source of the ‘metabolism’ of evolution, supplied by the substance of all rationalization processes mediating normative structures, action norms, and decision maxims. (2) Furthermore, the catalytic role of normative notions in composing rationalization processes of the ‘metabolism’ of evolution can be systematically highlighted from historic aspects and from a therapeutic point of view. (3) Finally, the origin of rationalization processes deriving from normative notions explains the context-disrupting explosive nature of a concrete ‘utopia’ realized in a normative notion. This condition turns on the general distortion of rationalization processes in tumors (inconsistencies, deformations, and Achilles’ heels) as well as on their radical substance (corrupt rationalizations), which is best outlined by its observable robustness towards external (therapeutic) disturbances. The study of normative notions and respective rationalizations in tumor systems including their systematic classification needs to be institutionalized to constitute evolution-adjusted tumor pathophysiology as the novel language of tumor biology and to facilitate biomodulatory therapy approaches.


Normative notions Rationalization Tumor pathophysiology Convergent evolution Biomodulatory therapy Acute myelocytic leukemia 



This work was greatly facilitated by the use of previously published and publicly accessible research data, also by communication-theoretical considerations of J Habermas. I would like to thank all colleagues who contributed to the multi-center trials.


Background knowledge

The communicative substance of a systems object is dependent on the communicative presuppositions, which determine the system’s object validity and denotation within an evolutionary compliant systems stage. Background knowledge constitutes the validity of informative intercellular processes, which is the prerequisite for therapeutic success. Background knowledge about the tumor’s living world is subjected to other conditions of scientific comprehension: Intentional ways fail to describe risk-absorbing knowledge, in which context-dependent knowledge about commonly administered reductionist therapy approaches is rooted. After this second objectifying step (physicians as operators of tumor systems), the network of the holistic communicative activities turns out to be the medium through which the tumor’s living world is mirrored and generated in rationalizations [26].

‘Metabolism’ of Evolution

Generally, communicatively linked biological systems are interweaving the nude identity of their systems’ objects, or the arrangement of compartmentalized knowledge (on the observer site) with situative biological stages, or with communicative arrangements of systems’ objects validity and denotation (on the participator site) by allowing implementation of internally or externally derived modular knowledge according to rules, which are present in modularly arranged and rationalized systems’ textures, equitable with the metabolism of evolutionary systems, and which purport the frame for evolutionary multiplicity [22]. As the ‘metabolism’ of evolution may be redeemed in specified rationalizations, the expansion of rationalizations shows a Janus face, which is simultaneously directed at the ‘metabolism’ of evolution and at the communication-derived norms (rules) for constituting rationalizations.


In the present context, modularity is a formal pragmatic communicative systems concept, describing the degree and specificity to which systems objects (cells, pathways, proteins etc.) may be communicatively separated in a virtual continuum and recombined and rededicated to alter the validity and denotation of communication processes in the tumor.

Normative notions

Normative notions comprise defaults in biologic systems, which are realized by evolutionarily compliant rationalizations. For their formal description the discrimination between normative structures (morphology, topology), action norms (e.g., hallmarks of cancer) and decision maxims (nodes, hubs) is useful. The idea of normative notions is the conceptual hinge that merges the ‘metabolism’ of evolution in every cellular structure and function with respective physically comprehensive and directly scientifically accessible rationalization processes. Normative notions, which outreach the traditionally noted hallmarks of cancer by far, are the framework by which the universal substance of the ‘metabolism’ of evolution is imported into novel rationalization processes.


Rationalizations describe how normative notions, i.e., normative structures, action norms and decision maxims are differentially and physically established as well as functionally organized [7]. Rationalizations equally encompass both the digitalized genome-centric ‘world’ and the modularly structured cellular ‘world’ [26, 27, 36].

Tumor’s living world

The living world comprises the tumor’s holistic communication processes, which we rely on in every therapy. With experimental or therapeutic experiences (modular therapies) the tumor’s living world may be separated into categories of knowledge, for example, into modular systems. Specific conditions of compliance, for redeeming validity constitute relations between communication technique (specified biomodulatory therapy approaches) and distinct tumor-associated systems stages [26].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hematology and OncologyUniversity Hospital RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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