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Upside-Down Gods$
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Peter Harries-Jones

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823270347

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823270347.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2019

A Science of Decency

A Science of Decency

Chapter:
(p.44) 2 A Science of Decency
Source:
Upside-Down Gods
Author(s):

Peter Harries-Jones

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823270347.003.0003

Bateson and Margaret Mead develop an activist stance to encourage the United States to enter into World War Two, and when war breaks out, Mead holds a senior position in food programs in Washington while Bateson eventually (1943) has active service with the Morale Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Before this, Bateson uses movies to illustrate second-order patterning and differences in communication between Americans and British, or Frenchmen and Americans, so called studies of ‘national character.’ Mead’s study of American national character appeared in And Keep Your PowderDry where she attached the importance of self-hood to the development of democratic activity. At the end of the war both Bateson and Mead react strongly against the use of nuclear bombs, arguing that nuclear weapons impugn science moral legitimacy and cast doubt upon science as a source of truth and human welfare. Bateson calls for a science of decency that would not indulge in technocracy, treat people as mere puppets for short term gain, and repeat the Nazi reduction of science to ideology and propaganda; but upon leaving his marriage to Margaret Mead, he also leaves the discipline of anthropology.

Keywords:   learning, Margaret Mead, national character, nuclear warfare, Office of Strategic Services, propaganda, social psychology

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