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Ideology

(2,041 words)

Author(s): Bohlender, Matthias | Stoellger, Philipp | Lohmann, Friedrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Sociology of Knowledge I. Philosophy 1. The meaning of the word ideology cannot be separated from its historical use (a) as an epistemological term denoting a general theory of perceptions, ideas, and notions (ideo-logy), and (b) as a politico-philosophical term denoting a general critique of knowledge, an analysis intended to clear up false or distorted forms and objects of cognition (Ideological criticism). Although the origin of these two sides of ideology is usually traced to F. Bacon, Francis's discussion of “idols,” its theoretical career really began in late 18th-century France with Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy (1754–1836) ¶ and the Idéologues. In the 19th century, K. Marx and F. Engels gave the term its modern pejorative meaning of a system of ideas necessarily erroneous in its reflection of social reality. Despite various transformations of the purely negative sense in the first half of the 20th century, it was not until the 1980s, in the context of th…