27 December 2012

Philosophy is for Thinkers; Ideology is for Stinkers

This article is adapted from an earlier posting on Al Fin, the Next Level

Philosophy encourages participation in discussions in order to strengthen their theories and explanations. On the other hand, ideology does not encourage discussions of any sort that do not agree with their beliefs. _Difference Between Philosophy and Ideology
Young children come into the world needing to learn to think for themselves, in the face of a nearly incomprehensible flood of stimuli, ideas, and information. Instead, they are typically taught:
  1. what to think
  2. what not to think
  3. and how to "think" like authority figures tell them they should think.
There are very fundamental differences between philosophy and ideology. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it.

...philosophy and ideology, if measured on a scale, would occupy two extreme ends of the scale. The purpose of any philosopher is to seek knowledge for the sake of wisdom and truth whereas an ideologue’s sole aim is to advocate and enforce his or her ideology wherever he can. _Differences Between.net
It was once the purpose of universities to teach students how to reason, by teaching the great thinkers and great ideas in all their variations -- from the earliest to more recent.

These days, universities are more the province of ideologues, whose purpose is to indoctrinate young minds into "proper" and "politically correct" modes of thought and action.
Popper’s famous distinction between science and pseudo-science (or ideology) depends on his equally famous principle of falsification. Quite simply, he argues that if a theory is in principle open to being disproved or ‘falsified’ by the facts of the world, then it is scientific. If it is not open to being falsified by the facts of the world, then it is pseudo-science, ideology. For example, the claim “Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light”, on which the Special Theory of Relativity crucially depends, can in principle be falsified by observing something in the actual world that does travel faster than the speed of light. But the statement “God’s in His Heaven” cannot be scientific, because it’s unclear what sort of evidence in the world would count as falsifying it. Therefore it must be pseudo-science or ideology. _Philosophy Now
Similarly, theories of anthropogenic climate catastrophe are being put to the test by real world data which show a divergence between steadily rising atmospheric CO2 levels, and global temperatures which have plateaued. The alarmist branch of climate science is flirting dangerously close to pseudo-science in its over-dependence on computer modeling and its willingness to avoid possible falsification of its hypotheses.
Very few people today have learned to think on the basis of first principles, which is why classical philosophy is not a very popular subject, at least not as popular as it was during the 40s, the 50s, and the 60s. Ideological thinking has more appeal to some because it involves less work. One does not have to spend years reading the great works of the great thinkers. All one has to do is buy the ideological package and one has something by which to make sense out of the world. It is quick and easy, like instant Oatmeal or a McDonald's Drive Thru....

...An ideological construct comes as a package that contains all sorts of things, such as starting points, assumptions, premises, conclusions, prejudices, etc., and it is through this package that the world can be interpreted. The problem, however, is that if one does not know how to think on the basis of primary principles (principled thinking), one will be unable to critically evaluate the ideological superstructure through which one interprets data. Rather, one will be critical of things on the basis of the ideological package, and thus feel as if one is a free and critical thinker, but one isn't quite sure whether the ideological package contains some rotten items that should be discarded. _Ideology vs Philosophy
The willingness of modern universities to discard classical philosophy and classical reasoning in favour of politically correct ideological indoctrination, constitutes a dark omen for the future. When even the educated elite can no longer interpret data from the real world in a valid manner, society will be drifting more rudderless and out of control than it is at present -- which is more than bad enough as it is.
In conclusion, here is a summary of differences between philosophy and ideology.
1.Philosophy refers to a pragmatic approach of looking and analyzing life. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs and rules belonging to a particular group or set of people
2.Philosophy aims at understand the world as it exists whereas ideology is born out of a vision for the future and aims at changing the current state to that particular vision
3.Philosophy is objective whereas ideology is dogmatic and refuses to participate in any discussion that does not agree with that ideology
4.Philosophy does not have as much impact as an ideology would have on the world ‘“ for ideology aims at spreading the beliefs and imposing them on the rest of the society irrespective of its relevance
5.All ideologies have some underlying philosophy but it is not vice versa. _Philosophy vs Ideology
Religions are ideologies, as are political "isms," most mass movements, and almost all "advocacy" groups and movements. Almost all "non-profit" organisations are actually ideologically driven, as are most tax-exempt foundations.

Ideologies may sometimes have a "good" impact -- as in immediate post-disaster relief, for example. But any ideology that aims to institute forced redistribution, is no better than a criminal organisation. If you see such an ideologue on the road, kill him. [Apologies to the zen koan: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."] It is clear that a world that is driven by ideology is an impoverished world in terms of innovation, exploration, and discovery.

Which points out the growing importance of training children -- and yourselves -- to be truly dangerous. Dangerous children are slaves to no one and to no idea.

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Blogger Unknown said...

"If you see such an ideologue on the road, kill him."

This misanthropic comment is founded on ideological principles. Ironic or not, this comment and the argument you're making misses the fundamental beneficial purpose of ideology, which is to put a cap on speculation so civilisation can go about its business. It may be hard for the prosperous intellectual speculator to appreciate, but the majority of people do not have the time, means, freedom or intelligence to question life in any meaningful way beyond "may God protect and provide for my family tomorrow". Ideologies arise from the harsh realities of life in order to give suffering, pain and hardship meaning. Philosophies are luxuries of thought most people can't afford.

Men study ideologies so their sons can defend themselves from evil. Men study politics and war so their sons will have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Their sons must learn geography, commerce and economics so their sons will have the right to study painting and poetry and music.

Ideology and philosophy are different parts of the same process - ideology the foundation, philosophy the analysis for future improvement. Without ideology, there would be no construction - i.e. little of practical value to others would get done.

Thursday, 27 December, 2012  
Blogger Oleg said...

An article is about a sad fact that even an educated elite is actually indoctrinated with ideologies instead to be a free thinkers and philosophers. Instead of a pragmatic view on life they keep dogmatic narrow mind illusions. A few people who are able mentally to be an elite and who keep mind from dogmas are not in the elite but rather in underground. It creates many troubles for commoners who suffer from regulations imposed on them by the selfish and dumb elite. A ban on cultivation and an industrial use of cannabis is just one example from very many. Let us take at least some religious believes out of the list of bad ideologies. Christian IDEOLOGY may bring some regulations and rules into a society to keep it in balance and justice for all. As well as Christianity may be of help to a man to get though suffering and hardship. Dogmas of the modern liberal ideology of multiculturalism in a fact destroy the very basis of a society and justice. They create parasitic strata in the society both at the very top and bottom of it. There is very little if any difference between the Nazi-ideology and ideology of multiculturalism. Both are used to control masses and to keep power in hands of dumb and criminal 'elite'.

Thursday, 27 December, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Both Oleg and "Unknown" point out that ideologies can in some cases serve good purposes. And that was also pointed out in the original article, using the example of disaster relief carried out by ideological groups such as churches etc.

Much of what people see as beneficial functions of ideologies might be better performed by non-ideological organisations, and by "rites and ritualistic practises," which can usually be liberated from any particular ideology -- as history illustrates. That is a topic for another discussion.

But we need to be careful not to overreach in attributing every logical argument to ideology. Clearly logic and philosophy can exist in a meaningful and useful sense without ideology, with it propagandist ways.

Take the fanciful example, "If you see an ideologue on the road who practises forced redistribution, kill him." Is that an ideological argument? Not if the person in question is an armed bandit committing armed robbery. In most US jurisdictions, lethal force against armed bandits is permitted by local law enforcement agencies.

What about an armed rapist? Should it be seen as an ideological argument to suggest that such aggressors should be met with lethal force? Not unless one chooses to conflate ideology with self-preservation. And that would be a serious philosophical error to make.

One can make the claim -- as "Unknown" seems to be doing -- that all individual and group action is based upon ideology. But that would be overreach in claiming too much for ideology and not allowing enough for basic human nature and genetically influenced behaviour, as it has evolved.

One might claim that evolution itself is an ideology. But that would be a basic misconstruing of the scientific method, and the building of scientific theories and the testing of scientific hypotheses.

One must be able to begin an argument at a ground level, below ideology, and proceed upward to see where the argument leads. As long as one allows for the open testing of one's ideas, and does not arbitrarily exclude competing theories and data, one is able to remain in the realm of philosophy and the scientific method -- and stay away from ideology.

It is okay to exclude competing theories which themselves are ideological (and non-falsifiable) in nature, as long as one's own theory is falsifiable and open to being tested by all.

Thursday, 27 December, 2012  
Blogger kurt9 said...

I'm OK with ideology providing it never compromises individual autonomy nor inhibits productive accomplishment. Unfortunately, most ideology is design precisely to conflict with these two values.

Thursday, 27 December, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Most humans cannot conceive of a mental existence without ideology. That is because their minds have been soaking in one ideology or another from their earliest moments of consciousness.

Kurt, there is no such thing as an ideology that does not compromoise individual autonomy. Ideology is meant to do exactly that, which is why it is so popular with the leaders of political parties, organised religions, and other large mass movements.

Most people in mass media dominated worlds are incapable of thinking without a crutch-like dependency on ideological jargon and catch phrases.

Witness the confused logic that "Unknown" falls back upon in an attempt to defend an unconscious dependency upon ideology, in place of thought. For some -- perhaps most -- ideology is a mental prison with no escape.

Saturday, 29 December, 2012  
Blogger kurt9 said...

Kurt, there is no such thing as an ideology that does not compromoise individual autonomy. Ideology is meant to do exactly that, which is why it is so popular with the leaders of political parties, organised religions, and other large mass movements.

Well, now you understand why I reject all non-libertarian ideology and will continue to do so - forever. I came to the firm conviction about the time I was 17 years old that individual autonomy is the basis of liberty and that ideologies that do not respect this are inherently totalitarian (e.g. the philosophical root of tyranny is the notion that the individual does not own his or her own self). I believe this even more strongly today than I did at the time 30 years ago. The notion that I am a morally autonomous agent (e.g. that I am the owner of my life and self) is the core of my worldview and has been such for over 30 years.

I am well aware that most people do not share this conviction of mine. I accept this reality. Unfortunately, both of the dominant ideologies in the U.S., liberal-left and social conservatism, are predicated on the notion that it is OK to fuck with people for gratuitous reason.

I regard organized religion, especially the Abrahamic ones, to be as totalitarian as Nazism or Communism. Any belief system that justifies the existence of monopoly-authoritarian entity (whether it be a government or a god) is the very definition of totalitarian.

I can never be expected to subscribe to a totalitarian ideology.

Sunday, 30 December, 2012  

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