Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Ideology: A) Ideology is a set of attitudes that exists in a person or group. – B) Ideology is the set of possible operations that can be performed with an ontology. E.g. with the ontology of the natural numbers, the operations of multiplication and addition are possible; the ontology must be extended to the rational numbers for the operation of the division.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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Michael Freeden on Ideology - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 6
Ideology/Freeden: [for Marx and Engels(1)](...) abstract philosophy was nothing more than ideology, because both were the inverted mental reflection of a distorted and alienated reality.
Today: differently. Ideologies are usefully comprehended not as defective philosophies, but rather as ubiquitous and patterned forms of thinking about politics. They are clusters of ideas, beliefs, opinions, values, and attitudes usually held by identifiable groups, that provide directives, even plans, of action for public policy-making in an endeavour to uphold, justify, change or criticize the social and political arrangements of a state or other political community. This tells us something about their functions and about the necessary services they perform for such a community. To begin with, it is unimaginable to conceive of a society that does not engage in such patterned thought, that does not have distinguishable and recurrent ways of thinking, say, about who should be rewarded in that society and for what, about the limits to the exercise of political power, about the value of national symbols, or about its expectations of government.
Freeden: Ideologies, let it be emphasized, are evident in the entire field of thinking about political ends and principles, and virtually all members of a society have political views and values they promote and defend.
Analytical philosophy: By contrast, analytical political philosophy sites itself at a particular end of each of these spectrums.
Language: ideologies (...) compete deliberately or unintentionally over the control of political language, by means of which they attempt to wield the political power necessary to realizing their functions. Ultimately, they aim to give precise definition to the essentially contested meanings of the major political concepts. So whereas a political philosopher such as Rawls contends that many hard decisions may seem to have no clear answer (1993: 57)(2), the morphology
Gaus I 7
of concepts suggests that, to the contrary, they may have many clear answers.
Social groups/ideological families: (...) provide their followers with a social and political identity and operate as one of the major factors in the realization of political goals.
1) (...) there is no necessary configuration of ideologies in these forms; they may well be the product of contingent historical forces that appear and vanish over time. On the other hand, some of the ideological families may reflect fundamental human understandings of the social order and its relation to human drives and hopes.
2) (...) any one of these ideologies is host to loose and fluid positions. There is no obvious thing called socialism, but there certainly are socialisms: Marxist, evolutionary, or guild socialisms are examples.
3) (...) ideologies are not mutually exclusive.
4) (...) a fragmentation of ideologies has accompanied the great families and has become more marked in recent decades. Alongside the full ideologies, with their total if not totalitarian solutions to social issues, there exist thin ideologies that address areas of ideological contestation, but otherwise rely on other ideologies to fill the gaps with which they do not primarily concern themselves. Nationalism is one such instance, containing no substantive theory of distributive justice (...).
Gaus I 8
Political theory: the painstaking and critical investigation of ideologies is the only area of analysis in which political ideas can receive appropriate consideration as a direct branch of the study of politics, rather than of philosophy or history. Only then can questions such as the following be addressed: what are the social and political functions of political ideas; (...).
Method: All these can only be undertaken if we also consider immorality, inconsistency and bad arguments as suitable subject-matter for analysis within the sphere of political practice. >Power/Freeden.
Gaus I 10
Language: The comparative study of ideologies has to address [the] problems of translation, when differences are often masked by ostensible similarities of language, while similarities are disguised by disparate ways of expression.
Gaus I 11
(...) ideologies are not merely directed at groups, they always are group products. As in Karl Mannheim’s famous (1936)(3) account,ideologies are Weltanschauungen or world views of people who share common understandings of the world, perhaps because of joint socio-economic roots, or because they have assimilated a particular set of cultural values.


1. Marx, K. and F. Engels 1974. The German Ideology, ed. C. J. Arthur. London: Lawrence and Wishart. p.47
2. Rawls, J. 1993. Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 57
3. Mannheim, K. 1936. Ideology and Utopia. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.


Freeden, M. 2004. „Ideology, Political Theory and Political Philosophy“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Freeden, Michael
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-08-03
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