Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal
      

 

2019 Vol. 12 Issue 63

Khoroshilov D.A. Is anthropomorphism a methodological strategy or trap for social psychology?


KHOROSHILOV D.A. IS ANTROPOMORPHISM A METHODOLOGICAL STRATEGY OR TRAP FOR SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY?
Full text in Russian: Хорошилов Д.А. Антропоморфизм – методологическая стратегия или ловушка для социальной психологии?

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

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The article deals with the problem of anthropomorphism as a form of social cognition from archaic times to modern science. Anthropomorphism is not just one of the main characteristics of religious-mythological and infant consciousness, but a universal cognitive characteristic of a person, that is indirectly confirmed by studies of the «theory of mind» and mentalization. Anthropomorphism was used to metaphorically explain society and culture as the image of a human – to social communities were attributed spirit and soul, group consciousness and mind, collective representations and memory, mentality, etc., which in the first half of the twentieth century were considered established tools scientific research. It is possible to make the assumption that the criticism of anthropomorphism in the history of social psychology turned into a forced acceptance of methodological strategy of individualism (change of the subject from studying the interaction of the individual and society to the analysis of the individual-subjective perception of society as an external objective reality). However, the methodological strategy of individualism turned out to be unsuitable for solving the issues posed by the non-classical philosophy of the twentieth century, with its Nietzschean desire to go beyond man’s limits. These include the antinomies of the individual and collective subject, the micro and macro levels of social cognition, which are eliminated in modern social psychology through the development of a new conceptual language. At first sight this language seems to imitate the categories of individual psychology, but it changes their content with forced tautology – an additional and repeated designation of sociality or collectivity of representations, identities, experiences, world image, which becomes a confirmation of the increased complexity of social cognition, that cannot be reduced due to anthropomorphism and individualism. Obviously, psychology should come out against these natural desires of consciousness, demonstrating that the artificial social and cultural environment of human, created by himself, paradoxically surpasses the cognitive abilities of his creator and requires other forms of scientific representation.

Keywords: anthropomorphism, individualism, social cognition, subject of cognition, micro and macro levels of cognition

 

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Received 14 November 2018. Date of publication: 26 February 2019.

About author

Khoroshilov Dmitry A. Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, ul. Mokhovaya, 11–9, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Khoroshilov D.A. Is anthropomorphism a methodological strategy or trap for social psychology? Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2018, Vol. 12, No. 63, p. 11. http://psystudy.ru (in Russian, abstr. in English).

Permanent URL: http://psystudy.ru/index.php/eng/2019v12n63e/1689-khoroshilov63e.html

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