Articles - Security Science Journal
Treatise on Postulates of Security Theory
(No. 1, 2021. Security Science Journal)
03 Aug 2021 12:52:00 PM


Author: Prof.dr Radoslav Ivančik


Abstract: Security is one of the most strongly felt human needs, and therefore the issue of security has accompanied mankind throughout its civilized history. It could also be said that the history of mankind is the history of man's struggle to ensure his security. For this reason, the main goal of the author of this study, following the research and works of renowned authors in the field of security, is with the use relevant methods of scientific research to contribute to the development of security theory and discuss the postulates of security theory.

Keywords: Mankind, security, theory, research, security postulates.



Numerous information, reports and data on natural disasters, industrial accidents, armed conflicts and incidents, terrorist and armed attacks, organized crime and criminality, epidemics and pandemics, and many other negative phenomena and tragic events indicate that man is failing to comply with security requirements and principles. It can be stated without any doubt that many current manifestations of human behaviour and the activities of individual actors in the political, social, economic, environmental, technical, technological, and other sectors of society threaten the conservation of man as a biological species.

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For the above reasons, the demands to ensure the security of individuals, social groups, nations, states, and all of civilisation are receiving increasing attention. Unfortunately, not always adequate. Man as an individual and mankind as a whole must, in their own interest, consider the possible consequences of their activities on the natural environment and on other people, social groups, ethnic groups or states. This requires understanding security as a dynamic, multidimensional, multisectoral and multifactor phenomenon that is logically and causally connected to all areas of human society and the spheres of human existence.

In the processes of research and ensuring security, a person acts in the role of a subject. The subject of scientific research and cognition are always cognitive, researching and practically acting people, with the required intellectual preconditions, knowledge, experience, and necessary personality traits (Porada et al., 2017, p. 12). According to Hofreiter and Zvaková (2019, p. 21), this role requires mastering a wide range of knowledge, laws, regulations, requirements, techniques and methods for solving security problems. Man, as the main subject of security, necessarily needs knowledge, methodological and other tools to fulfil his tasks in the field of ensuring security. He needs a theory of safety.



Security is generally very closely linked to any activity of people as individuals and human society as a whole (Stoláriková, 2020, p. 22). The issue of security has accompanied humanity throughout its civilized history, because, as Belan (2016, p. 31) states, it is one of the most strongly felt human needs. The society itself began to organize primarily to ensure its security. The state and its previous organizational forms were created precisely to ensure the protection and survival of the community. The state performs many functions, but the function of ensuring security is one of its priority functions (Lukáš, 2017, p. 10). Today, at the beginning of the third decade of the third millennium, solving security problems is already part of management processes at all levels and in all areas of life of contemporary human society, not just at the state level.

Nevertheless, the acceptance of the field of security as an integral part of social life encounters problems that provoke many times a heated debate on theoretical and methodological aspects not only of research, but also of the definition and overall understanding and perception of security. For example, in the case of the definition of safety, it can be stated that, despite many attempts, there is still no uniform, unified, and generally accepted definition of security. The reason is the way in which politicians, scientists, academics, soldiers, security, and other experts think about security, from what point of view they look at it and how they approach it. Therefore, it is quite logical that each of them emphasizes different indicators and factors. In this context, Eichler (2009, p. 23) states that the individual theoretical directions and the authors themselves differ in their approach to security and its definition in a few aspects, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses.

In the professional literature, Slovak, Czech and foreign, there are many different definitions of security. Of the Slovak authors dealing with security, Jurčák (2020, p. 5) says that “the term security is generally perceived as a synonym of the words security, security, peace, carefree and at the same time as an antonym of a real threat or danger”. Volner (2012, p. 21) defines security as “a concrete-historical, dynamic, relative, diverse, multifaceted, multifaceted and multilevel phenomenon”. His perception of security is not abstract, permanent, and unchanging, but always concrete, because it always concerns a specific phenomenon, process, relationship or thing, specific conditions and circumstances, a specific environment, time and space, and a specific form of expression and quality. For a change, Hofreiter (2006, p. 32) states that “security is a state in which the security risks of an object and its interests are effectively limited, and this object is effectively equipped to limit current and potential security risks”. According to Lasicová and Ušiak (2012, p. 28), “security is a complex concept, a category of being at various analytical levels of individual, group, local, state, regional and global level, where several differentiated, flexible external and internal social factors (military , economic, domestic, social, legal, environmental, energy, cyber), which have the capacity to create temporary (relative) stability at the causal level and through which all kinds of crises, risks, threats and wars can be eliminated”.

Of the Czech authors, Sak defines security as “the state of an entity in which its existence, structure, and function are not disrupted or threatened” (Sak, 2019, p. 303). According to Janošec (2009, p. 27), “security is the name for real elements, processes, ideas, structures ... at a specific time and space, when there is a balance between security actors”. Eichler (2009, p. 23) considers security to be “a fundamental value and the highest goal of any state or multi-state security community”. And according to Mareš (2015) “security is a situation where threats to the object (usually the state, or even an international organization) and its interests are eliminated to the lowest possible level, and this object is effectively equipped and willing to cooperate in eliminating current and potential threats“. 

Among other Slavic academics dealing with security, Korzeniowski (2016, p. 112), as a representative of the Polish theoretical school, defines security as “a certain objective state, which consists in the absence of a threat that subjectively is (perceived) by individuals or groups of people”. Pokruszyński and Piwowarski (2019, p. 78) consider security “to be the highest, absolute and eternal value, necessary for the development of human society. The highest, because it is the foundation of everything we do; absolute because it covers all sections of society; and eternal, because it is necessary at every stage of human development“.

Ukrainian academician Zaplatynskyi speaks of security as “a state that enables the functioning, stability and development of the state, preserves peace, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, internal order in the state, fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens and protection of life and health of people, property and the environment”. Serbian scientists Todorović and Trifunović (2020, p. 11) consider security to be “the science of the state of the state and the processes in the state, specifically the state and processes that enable the normal functioning of the state and development”.

From other foreign authors, it is possible to offer readers definitions of Moller, Purpura and Bailliet for a better illustration and comparison of views on security. Moller (2001) refers to the term security as “the absence of risks to the acquired values or the absence of fear that these values will be endangered”. Purpura (2011, p. 52) defines security as “getting rid of or resisting potential harm (or other undesirable coercive change) from external forces, where the recipients of security can be individuals and social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems, and any other entity; or a phenomenon that is threatened by undesirable changes in its environment”. In contrast, Bailliet (2009, p. 38) characterizes security as “a state in which individuals, groups and states do not feel threatened by serious threats, resp. they are considered to be effectively protected from them and they can shape their future according to their own ideas”.

As can be seen from the above definitions, depending on the point of view of security, the approach or position chosen, the variance between the definitions of security for some authors is either very small or very large. Even sometimes no intrusion can be found between them. The only unity is that security is a difficult concept to grasp. Therefore, it is essentially impossible to determine exactly what this term means, or to assign unambiguous numerical values to it, in contrast to a number of quantities known from the natural or technical sciences (McSweeney, 1999, p. 13). However, it is certainly possible to agree by consensus that security is one of the highest values, which is a prerequisite for the development of mankind and a guarantee of the freedom of human society. At the same time, security is one of the basic human needs that must be constantly developed, protected, and met (Hofreiter, 2006, p. 54). That is why mankind urgently needs a theory of security.



So far, there is no comprehensive security theory in the world that is fully accepted by the security community. However, there are at least two ways of understanding security theory. One is based on a political science and the other on a systems approach. The political science concept of security theory is based on the Copenhagen Security School (for more details see: Buzan, Waever, Wilde, 1998) and focuses primarily on solving security problems at the international and state level. It is perceived as part of international relations and is the subject of security studies at universities. It emphasizes the relationships between actors and reference objects. The system concept of security theory focuses on security issues at lower analytical levels, at the state level, but especially at the level of the organization and the human individual. From the state's point of view, this is an area of internal security. Other reference objects, organizations and the human individual are added to the state. Unlike the political science conception, the systemic concept emphasizes the causality of security breaches (Lukáš, 2020, p. 11).

For these reasons, security research is now evolving in several directions and in several ways. While it was initially focused, as indicated above, almost exclusively on the state, the military, respectively. military and political sector, armed conflict, and military threats within the scope of security and strategic studies in the field of international relations theory or military science, later security research was gradually extended to other sectors (especially economic, social, and environmental) and other areas of society (such as the safety and protection of persons and property, protection of health at work, information security, fire security, food security, human security, etc.).

According to Hofreiter and Zvaková (2019, p. 32), in each area of scientific research, researchers created their own categorical and conceptual apparatus, their own axioms and their own research methodology. The situation in the field of security research has gradually reached a stage where there are many paradigms and representatives of individual directions are leading controversy and defending their positions against opponents, respectively supporters of a different understanding of security issues. They work in the kind of security they have taken for granted and develop it. Thus, a pragmatic approach prevails in the study of security problems, security issues, its concept and research are carried out independently, by individual sectors and types of security. (Lukáš, 2015, p. 187). That is why it is very important for the further development of security theory to find a common platform through which it will be possible to work towards a paradigm that will partly unite the entire security community, it means researchers from academia and security practice, and partly its application in security research.



  The term theory generally refers to a set of statements, definitions, axioms, and postulates about the subject of research that are considered true at a given stage of knowledge. This set is required to be inconsistent with previous experience and experimental results and to be internally consistent. In terms of structure, theory represents an internally differentiated but integral system of knowledge, which is characterized by the logical dependence of one element on another, by creating the content of theory from a certain set of statements and concepts from a given field of research (Hofreiter, 2019, p. 86). In this context, Lukáš (2015, p. 187) adds that a set of principles, rules, postulates, or axioms tends to be common to the entire scientific field.

Theory itself, as a special, universal form of intellectual cognition of the world, is applied in interaction with other forms of perception of reality. Every scientific theory is always connected in some way with certain philosophical and ideological attitudes, its development is stimulated by these attitudes and helps to strengthen their authority and influence in the system of scientific theories. Theory is the basis for thinking about the world, detached from the world, but still about it. In this way, it creates: a) stimuli for thinking about the unknown, b) a framework for critical understanding of phenomena, processes and events, c) a basis for thinking about how to organize what is unknown, d) a basis for organizing knowledge. Theories stimulate thinking about what is unknown and thus represent the driving force of research (Silverman, 2005, p. 90).

There are plenty different definitions of the term theory in the literature. These definitions, as Luke (2015, p. 187) state, usually emphasize the role of theory in cognition. For example, in the Little Czechoslovak Encyclopedia (1987), the term theory is defined as: “A complex of opinions, ideas and thoughts aimed at explaining a phenomenon. In the narrower sense, it represents the most developed form of scientific knowledge, giving a systematic, general picture of the laws and essential contexts of the area of reality which is the subject of it”. According to Hofreiter (2019, p. 87), “theory is the most complex and developed form of scientific knowledge”. Reichel (2009, p. 28) considers theory to be a “fundamental goal of science”. Holcr and Porada (2011, p. 55) define it as “a system of generalized objectively true knowledge, or a system of knowledge derived from other theories”.

The process of shaping scientific theory usually takes place in successive phases. These are mainly the following phases:

  • gathering empirical experience from practice,
  • generalization and evaluation of experience,
  • record, description of positive experiences - creation of simple methodologies,
  • summary of partial methodologies into more extensive theoretical instructions,
  • creating coherent theoretical concepts,
  • verification of theoretical conclusions in practice (Buzalka - Porada, 2017, p. 135).


Scientific theory should meet the following requirements:

a) Scientific theory must have its subject matter, which exists independently of it. The theory must be a theory of something (eg, security, law, art, music, relativity, etc.), it must be a set of knowledge and assertions about something that exists outside of it.

b) Scientific theory must be a system of statements about its object, and the following conditions must be met:

  • the system of statements must be coherent, internally contradictory, statements about the object of examination must not contradict each other;
  • the system of dismissals must be consistent, t. j. all statements entering the theory must be interrelated, conditional, complementary, etc.; it is not permissible for other statements and other theories unrelated to it to be included in the theory.

c) Scientific theory must be verifiable. What is not verifiable cannot be considered a scientific theory. Temporary, conditional unverifiability of the theory as a whole or its parts is admissible, but not permanent, principal unverifiability, impossibility of verification of the theory and its parts.

d) Scientific theory cannot be definitively confirmed or refuted because the independence of facts from theory is assumed.

e) Scientific theory is not immutable. New knowledge, new hypotheses (confirmed, but also those that are still awaiting confirmation) can be incorporated into the knowledge system, as well as opinions, assumptions or intuitions of scientists that can be confirmed or falsified in the research process (Holcr and Porada, 2011, pp. 55-56).

The theory can be classified as either true or false. Mostly, we want theory to provide a true picture of reality, of the subject of inquiry. However, the so-called alternative theory (not unequivocally false), resp. plurality of theories, which allows the development of science. The theory can be considered true, and thus an enrichment of science, unless its falsehood is scientifically proven (Hofreiter, 2019, p. 87).

It has already been stated in the previous text that in the processes of ensuring security a person acts in the role of a subject, and this role requires mastering a wide range of knowledge, laws, requirements, techniques, and methods of solving security problems. To fulfil this role, man, as the main subject of security, needs a theory to fulfil it. The requirements for the development of a general theory of safety, in addition to the above, resulted from:

  • the needs of people, societies, states and the whole world community for the preservation and development, as well as the various systems necessary for human survival,
  • the global and complex nature of various threats with massive destructive potential,
  • diversity of approaches to clarifying the nature and content of the concept of security, its factors, and the method of evaluation,
  • different interpretation and use of terms in the field of security research,
  • the fact that the basic laws, safety categories as the subject of research have not been comprehensively defined so far,
  • absence of generalization of previous experience from security practice.

In the context of these requirements, security theory should consist of a set of modern, interdisciplinary, scientifically sound opinions and knowledge, principles and rules relating to the protection of vital interests of man, society, the state, humanity, as well as natural and technogenic systems necessary for human existence. The theory of security can be considered as a system composed of knowledge, concepts, thought constructs, statements because its elements (knowledge, concepts, constructs, research tools, etc.) are interconnected by logical links within the same subject of research (for more details see: Manunta, 1997; Smith-Brooks, 2012; Ramsay et al., 2020).

The theory of security can be classified as a theory whose subject is to explain the phenomena and processes related to security problems, while presenting them from a causal point of view as derivatives of developments, changes, and influences of security factors. The theory of security can also be defined as a set of scientifically substantiated knowledge and claims about facts related to safety as an object of research (Hofreiter and Zvaková, 2019, p. 23).

The following are security-related facts:

  • events that already exist (have occurred and persist) or may occur in the relevant environment of the reference object,
  • processes related to the change of security and the security situation of the reference object,
  • phenomena, such as the sum of external variable, sensory-perceived properties, features of processes that take place in the security environment of the reference object,
  • specific systems (social, natural, technical) that exist in the security environment of the reference object, are related to its security, or are created to ensure its security (Reichel, 2009).
  • The main tasks of security theory include:
  • revealing the patterns of change in the security of social, natural, and technical systems,
  • qualitative and quantitative description of the mechanisms of interaction of these systems and equipment at different stages of the origin and development of dangerous situations and their consequences,
  • creation of scientific bases for identification, diagnostics, monitoring, occurrence of dangerous phenomena, events and processes, their prediction, early warning, and prevention.



Postulate is generally an initial assumption that is accepted as true in each theory. In the Philosophical Dictionary (1976, p. 366), a postulate is defined as a principle, requirement, or statement of a certain scientific theory, which is accepted without evidence and forms its basis. According to Ondrejkovič (2007), postulates are semantically close to axioms, but they are not identical with them and should not be confused with each other. He characterizes the postulate as the judgment on which the evidence is based, although its accuracy is not yet self-evident.

Postulates are formulated and selected to be true for as many cases as possible, but at the same time they are not always expected to be true. Postulates primarily explain, a scientific explanation of the researched problem. Their truthfulness is determined by the degree of knowledge achieved. With the development of knowledge and empirical verification of postulates, it is possible to correct their content and scope.

The specifics of the postulates characteristic of security theory are as follows:

  • they are statements about various aspects of security.
  • they are statements about ways of assessing security, about security factors, relationships, and interactions between them.
  • they are probabilistic, while the truthfulness and confirmability of the postulates are influenced by factors that are dynamic in nature.
  • they have a high degree of generality.
  • contain terms and concepts that are not always clearly defined.

According to Hofreiter (2019, pp. 90-91), the achieved level of our scientific knowledge in the field of security allows us to formulate the following postulates of security theory:

a) Security is a " indefinite", multi-meaning term that requires explication.

Few terms are assigned as many attributes, meanings as the term security. Its unambiguous clarification is associated with considerable difficulties, in each field it is explained according to the object and subject of research and focus of practical activity. Its definitions can be found in monographs, dictionaries, scientific and professional articles, laws, technical standards, etc. The term security is explained differently by sociologists, economists, lawyers, political scientists, ecologists, soldiers, or technicians. The ambiguity of the concept of security requires that it be given meaning that is comprehensible to the entire security community.

b) Security is one of the basic human needs.

Security takes the form of an internal need and is realized in the individual and social consciousness. Characteristically, this need is universal in nature and is essentially recognized by all people, regardless of their race, nationality, gender, age, or social status. However, the need for security changes as the security situation changes. The need for security is an important motivating, mobilizing factor, which will be significantly reflected especially in emergency and crisis situations, at a time of threat to human security and other reference objects.

c) Security is an inherent property of any system (social, natural or technogenic) that is assessed or perceived by a person or a social group (unit).

Although security has a natural, technical and technogenic dimension, it is strictly linked to the existence of people, social groups, social relations, but also to the influence of natural and technogenic factors on social reference objects. Only man, social groups (units) can perceive dangers, assess them, and respond to them. Finding security or not security, resp. danger is always the result of the social actors' perception of the security situation.

d) Security is always associated with a specific reference object, process, or security entity.

Analysing and precisely defining safety requires determining the subject, who the security is, who or what is the object of security analysis (individual, social group, state, mankind, urban unit, natural environment, organization (production, non-production), whether it is security persons, property, information system, road traffic, production process, etc.

e) The value of security is not a permanent quantity, but changes in space and especially in time.

The value (degree) of security of a person, social group, state, and other reference objects will always be the result of the interaction of external and internal factors and protective (defensive) properties, abilities, and possibilities of the reference object. Due to external and internal factors, which can be of various natures, the value of security fluctuates - either security increases, either decreases or remains unchanged.

f) The real security of the reference object is the result of the will and rational activity of the security subject.

Ensuring security must be understood as a purposeful, permanent, cyclical, and continuous process of responding to threats arising from the surroundings (from the security environment) of the building or from the building itself. It is a process in which the security entity identifies security challenges, threats, and risks and implements measures to ensure the protection of the object in any conditions and situations. The purpose of the conscious and purposeful action of the security entity is to prevent, prevent and / or protect the reference object (protected interest) from possible damage, destruction, breach of integrity or loss of functionality. In this sense, security is a constructed condition for satisfying the security needs and interests of the security subject.

g) Security is achievable.

Although it is not possible to ensure absolute security, by choosing an adequate way of influencing exogenous and endogenous security factors (security challenges, threats, vulnerabilities, resilience) it is possible to achieve the required (necessary) level of security of the reference object.

h) Security is quantifiable and measurable.

The state or degree of security of the reference object, resp. of the assessed systems can be correctly evaluated as a function of the identified factors and their interactions (interactions). We use a range of quantitative qualitative and semi-quantitative methods.



Scientific theory represents the most complex and developed form of scientific knowledge, while its other forms (laws, classifications, typologies, etc.) can prevent the emergence of own theory and form the basis for its formation. It can be said that they quite often coexist with theory, interact, and co-operate with it in the system of science and at the same time enter theory as its elements (theoretical laws, classifications and typologies based on theory, etc.). Theory itself, as a universal form of intellectual cognition of the world, is applied in interaction with other forms of perception of reality. At the same time, every scientific theory is always in some way connected with certain philosophical and ideological attitudes, while its development is both stimulated by these attitudes and helps to strengthen their authority and 

Based on the above information, it is possible to conclude that the issue of scientific research in the theoretical level and ensuring security in the practical level is very demanding and places high demands on the scientific and professional training of those people who deal with it, resp. they are closely professionally connected with it. The establishment of a functional, effective, and reliable security system, as well as the adoption of reasonable and effective measures to ensure the highest possible level of security of the reference object (individual, group, organization, state, group of states, mankind) necessarily requires a multidisciplinary approach using relevant methodological procedures and knowledge from several scientific disciplines (political, military, police, legal, natural, social, technical, etc.). At the same time, in this context, it is necessary to emphasize that to acquire the necessary knowledge and competencies in ensuring the needs of security (protection, defence) it is necessary to master the necessary theory – security theory.



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Prof.dr Radoslav IVANČIK

Academy of the Police Force, Department of Management and Information Science, Bratislava, Slovakia

Research Paper

  • Received: July 3, 2021
  • Accepted: July 28, 2021

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