The formation of the cognitive code of modernity

The formation of the cognitive code of modernity

Article received: 2022.02.26. Accepted: 2022.07.13
DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.06.08

For citation:

Koktysh K.E. The formation of the cognitive code of modernity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 6. P. 94-113. (In Russ.).


The article focuses on the ‘cognitive revolution’ of the New Age, when the Catholic ontology was replaced by the completely opposite Protestant one. Among other changes, the concept of rationality changed, and along with it the semantic and pragmatic content of culture and economics. The author analyzes a number of historical turning points, revealing the occurred transformations of the institutional architecture, as well as the new role of economic institutions represented primarily by financiers. In particular, the author reveals the close dependence between the process of delegitimization of the Catholic Church and the inflation processes that came to Europe with the American gold, and analyses the connection between the struggle of the owners of ‘new money’ for the legitimization of their new social quality and the emergence of Protestantism. The ontological metaphors of Catholicism and Protestantism are also presented: they set the goals and imperatives of the development of political systems, and along with them – the criteria of social mobility and increase in social status. Thus, in the Catholic ontology, the main social subject that determines how an excess resource is invested is de facto society, while in the Protestant one it is the individual. Among other things, it sets the limits of economic expansion, as well as the meanings of cultural and cognitive production: in the second case, the latter concentrates on the task of acquiring individual material well-being, which, in accordance with the Protestant paradigm, is a pass to the Heavenly City. The transition to a new paradigm turned out to be critical for the natural sciences, it allowed them to emerge, but for the social sciences, it was not so fruitful. The problem is that at a certain stage the ‘natural’ metaphor, successful for natural sciences, was extrapolated to social reality, turning the latter to an object of regulation rather than the object of cognition. Relying on the theory of cycles of capitalism by Giovanni Arrighi, the author also highlights an actor that had an interest in the changes that occured – a class of Genoese bankers. As a result of the Columbian discoveries, they acquired a powerful financial resource, and turned it into a powerful tool for transforming the political design of Western political systems.

cognitive code, discourse of madness, new discourse, social customer, battle for minds.


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Content No. 6, 2022

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