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“What's That You Say?”

  • George E. Marcus (a1)


Though I am sympathetic to the program of research that John Hibbing advances, I raise four issues with the claims he presents. I argue that political science has not been slow to adopt an interest in biology. I argue that like all perspectives on how to advance knowledge, neurobiology must win its place by generating demonstrable results central to our understanding of politics. In agreeing with Hibbing that some hold misperceptions, I note that this is hardly uncommon, even if it is unwelcome in a scientific community. And, finally, I note that narratives of explanation often serve a variety of masters. While those derived from science are meant to restrict the consideration of competing narratives to those that are testable with empirical data, even members of scientific communities find that other claimants have some sway. Among the non-scientific purposes that narratives serve are: achieving simplicity; sustaining communities of mutual agreement; and advancing indulgent doctrines of ennoblement.



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Somit, Albert, and Peterson, Steven A.. 1998. “Biopolitics after Three Decades: A Balance Sheet.” British Journal of Political Science 28(3): 559–71.

“What's That You Say?”

  • George E. Marcus (a1)


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