Social and Behavioral Science as the End of Civil Society

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Abstract

The era of modern Democratic Revolutions has coincided with the advent of a new episteme in political science: that of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. This episteme was first expressed by “the science of Man” and “Ideology” in the 1790s. Then ethnology and anthropology were the first of the Social and Behavioral Sciences to have been cultivated in an institutional setting, with a structural connection to colonial racism. Borrowing the method of physics and the rationales of Natural History, those sciences have changed the way civility and humanity are conceived as products of an introspective conversion to civil and humane behavior. This article shows that the new methodology of political science has allowed the emergence of race as a paradigmatic concept of institutional “science.” Today, the Social and Behavioral Sciences are still producing a rhetorical discourse disguised as science. This way, specific values and normative discourses, which are always debatable from a political standpoint, are presented as objective, observable facts. The present article will briefly allude to neuroeconomics and “decision science” as instances of a pattern where science is turning against the people. However, its main claim is that no significant change will happen in the current political system until this episteme, which endures since the era of modern Democratic Revolutions, is overthrown.