Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

By Harold D. Lasswell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
A NEW TECHNIQUE OF THINKING 1

The prevailing theory is that men who make important decisions in politics can be trained to use their minds wisely by disciplinary training in the practices of logical thought. Legal training is supposed to mold the mind to ways of dealing with the world which subordinate whim to principle. Formal instruction in the social sciences is intended to equip the mind for the detached consideration of social consequences, and everyone agrees that this implies a large measure of self-awareness for the sake of reducing the play of prejudice.

The nature of logical thought has been carefully examined by an array of able writers. Their conclusions may be provisionally reported by saying that logic is a guided form of mental operation. It is not something marked off from impulse, but a progressive elaboration and differentiation of impulse. It proceeds by the affirmation of a starting-point, which is in fact a vague indication of the goal to be reached, and develops by the criticism of the material which appears in consciousness according to its relevance to the end in view. If the judge begins by wanting to settle a controversy consistently with precedents, he has indicated in advance the shadowy outline of the desired termination of his efforts. If an administrator wants to reduce complaints against his handling of the postal service, he starts with a different mental set from the judge, but, like the mental set of the latter, his first

____________________
1
Modified from "Self-Analysis and Judicial Thinking," International Journal of Ethics, April, 1930.

-28-

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Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Publisher's Foreword iii
  • Contents vii
  • Title Page ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiv
  • Chapter I - Life-Histories and Political Science 1
  • Chapter II - The Psychopathological Approach 15
  • Chapter III - A New Technique of Thinking 28
  • Chapter IV - The Criteria of Political Types 38
  • Chapter V - Theories of Personality Development 65
  • Chapter VI - Political Agitators 78
  • Chapter VII - Political Agitators -- Continued 106
  • Chapter VIII - Political Administrators 127
  • Chapter IX - Political Convictions 153
  • Chapter X - The Politics of Prevention 173
  • Chapter XI - The Prolonged Interview and Its Objectification 204
  • Chapter XII - The Personality System and Its Substitutive Reactions 221
  • Chapter XIII - The State as a Manifold of Events 240
  • Appendix A - Select Bibliography 268
  • Appendix B - Question List on Political Practices 276
  • Title Page 287
  • Preface 289
  • Contents 293
  • Part I -- Elite 295
  • Part II -- Methods 311
  • Chapter III - Violence 326
  • Chapter IV - Goods 342
  • Chapter V - Practices 360
  • Part III -- Results 375
  • Chapter VII - Class 392
  • Chapter VIII - Personality 410
  • Chapter IX - Attitude 427
  • Chapter X - RÉsumÉ 443
  • Bibliographical Notes 455
  • Title Page 463
  • Democratic Character 465
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