Front Page Titles (by Subject) Constructive Assertiveness - Literature of Liberty, April/June 1979, vol. 2, No. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Constructive Assertiveness - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, April/June 1979, vol. 2, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
“Outline of a Denotative Definition of Aggression.” Aggressive Behavior 3 (1977): 379–383.
This study offers a multi-level approach to the definition of aggression which subsumes under it “(1) generic assertiveness in apposite life situations; (2) neural mechanisms which subserve such behaviors; and (3) physiological conditions which mediate or promote these behaviors.”
Assertiveness can be considered as the essential aspect of aggression with connotations that are not wholly negative. It includes potentially constructive actions by which goals may be achieved. Constructive means are those which do not entail damage or injury to other persons or objects while destructive means are ones which do result in damage or injury.
Three classes of settings for aggressive actions are described: (1) privation, including the frustration of vital needs and frustrations arising from inner conflicts; (2) conflict (social), which involves competition between rivals for need satisfaction or the establishing and maintaining of dominance; and (3) victimization, including predatory-prey relationships and destruction for its own sake, e.g., vandalism. The distinction between destructive and constructive means is particularly relevant to social conflict. Destructive resolutions to conflicts are adversary contests whose object is to destroy, injure or demean the other. Constructive resolutions to conflict treat the situation as “a shared problem which can be solved with mutual benefits—benefits exploit the advantages of cooperating diversity.”