We Built Reality: How Social Science Infiltrated Culture, Politics, and Power

ISBN : 9780190087388

Jason Blakely
184 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Aug 2020
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Over the last fifty years, pseudoscience has crept into nearly every facet of our lives. Popular sciences of everything from dating and economics, to voting and artificial intelligence, radically changed the world today. The abuse of popular scientific authority has catastrophic consequences, contributing to the 2008 financial crisis; the failure to predict the rise of Donald Trump; increased tensions between poor communities and the police; and the sidelining of nonscientific forms of knowledge and wisdom. In We Built Reality, Jason Blakely explains how recent social science theories have not simply described political realities but also helped create them. But he also offers readers a way out of the culture of scientism: hermeneutics, or the art of interpretation. Hermeneutics urges sensitivity to the historical and cultural contexts of human behavior. It gives ordinary people a way to appreciate the insights of the humanities in guiding decisions. As Blakely contends, we need insights from the humanities to see how social science theories never simply neutrally describe reality, they also help build it.


Introduction: Election Day 2016
Part I: The Market Polis
Chapter 1. Our Free Market Scientists
Chapter 2. Republic Inc.
Part II: I, Robot
Chapter 3. Genes and Machines
Chapter 4. The Machinist Ethos
Part III: Scientific Violence
Chapter 5. Sciences of Zero Tolerance
Chapter 6. Empire of Light
Conclusion: Reading Social Science Again

About the author: 

Jason Blakely is Associate Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University. He is the author of Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism and, with Mark Bevir, of Interpretive Social Science (Oxford).

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