(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE  MODERN  WORLD
in natural science—and the individual instruments differ in their very
construction.
Next we have the bias introduced by the peculiar psychological
development of human beings. They can only resolve their inevitable
conflicts during childhood and adolescence by relcgaling a great deal
to their unconscious, whether by the psychological mechanism of
suppression or that of repression. Roughly speaking, the former
introduces bias by leaving gaps in a person's knowledge and outlook,
whereas in the latter the gaps arc accompanied by strong emotional
distortions and resistances. The scientific study of sex, for instance,
has been much retarded by reprcssional bias -witness the reception
originally given to Havelock Kllis\s great work and the extraordinary
resistance still offered to FreiuTs ideas.
Bias of this type has the additional danger that those who make an
effort to discount it may readily swing into over-compensation—a
bias of opposite sign. The investigator whose youth was tormented
by intolerant religion is apt to discount the social importance of
religion far too much; the convert to Freudian methods is liable, in
discounting his own early sexual repressions, to underestimate the
social value of repression in general.
Bias has also been encountered in natural science, but; only when
its findings come up against emotionally held convictions—-only, that
is, when it has had social entanglements. We may ci tc the prohibition
of anatomical dissection, the proscription of (jalilco's findings, the
hostility to the Darwinian theory, the Na/,i distortion of racial anthro-
pology, the Soviet attack on modern genetics. The present, course of
general anti-scientific feeling, so noticeable during the past decade,
has been due in part to a general fed ing that scientific findings, by
sapping the traditional view of man's place in the universe and in
society, are undermining the basis of ordered society.
Finally, there cornes the most fundamental difference of all. Values
are deliberately excluded from the purview of natural science: values
and all that they connote of motive, emotion, qualitative hierarchy
and die rest constitute some of the most important data with which
the social scientist must deal. But how can science deal with them?
Science must aim at quantitative treatment: how can it deal with the
irreducible absolutes of quality? Science must be morally neutral
and dispassionate: how can the social scientist handle the ethical
bases of morality, the motives of passion?
Let us be frank with ourselves. There is a sense in which, because
of this qualitative difference between its data and those of natural
science, social science can never become fully and rigorously scientific,
u6