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The Open MindCold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature$
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Jamie Cohen-Cole

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226092164

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226092331.001.0001

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Scientists as the Model of Human Nature

Scientists as the Model of Human Nature

(p.141) Chapter Five Scientists as the Model of Human Nature
The Open Mind

Jamie Cohen-Cole

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on a particular moment in the history of human sciences in which reflexivity played a significant role: the early days of revolution when cognitive science supplanted behaviorism as the hegemonic science of human nature. In the struggle that marked the cognitive revolution. Reflexivity provided the combatants with weapons to attack their foes and also methods and concepts to form their respective sciences of human nature. To enhance their public standing, cognitive scientists sought to make their own thought processes match folk ideas of scientific thinking. They applied the same categories of selfhood found in popular culture and social psychology to themselves. They collapsed distinction between normative rules for scientific thinking and the actual processes of human thinking. As cognitive scientists crossed back and forth between scientific descriptions of the human and normative discussions of the best way for scientists to think, they borrowed from the folk and social psychological image of right-thinking to inform their own personal and public images. These very same scientific self-images would form the basis for the image of human nature that cognitive science produced.

Keywords:   cognitive science, reflexivity, behaviorism, human nature, scientific thinking

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