The Study of Man: The Image of Man in the Social Sciences
A PARADOX rends the social sciences today. Two contradictory views of the nature of man are asserted simultaneously. On the one hand, we are told that it is possible to know and understand more and more about the nature of man and society, for man to use this increasing body of knowledge and theory to improve his condition, to reduce unhappiness and poverty, and to increase the joy and fullness of life. On the other hand, modern social science teaches us to regard man as a creature of his drives, habits, and social roles, in whose behavior reason and choice play no decisive part. Accordingly, man’s efforts to acquire knowledge about himself and society, and to use such knowledge, are beset with insuperable obstacles; men are regarded as unable to achieve objective knowledge or to be guided by it.
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