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Presentation on theme: "PHILOSOPHY AND IDEOLOGY Dr Nash Popovic"— Presentation transcript:


2 Reason Experience Impersonal experience (observation) Transpersonal experience Personal experience Common sense Science Spirituality Philosophy Social frameworks and practices Approaches Culture Materialism Religion Ideology HOW WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW Types of experience 15

3 What is philosophy? Philosophy is a method of enquiry that develops defensible arguments based on reason (rather than observation or experience). 20

4 The aim of philosophy Understanding - which requires examining of the relation between awareness of the world and the world as the material of awareness. For example, philosophy is not primarily concerned with the question does God exist?, but rather does the idea of God make sense?, or does the concept of reality without the idea of God make sense? This is why philosophy can never be conclusive - people are changing, so their understanding is changing too. 20

5 Philosophy matters The inconclusiveness of philosophy has led to a widespread belief that philosophy does not matter. Yet, throughout history philosophy has influenced every sphere of life: Science (Descartes and Leibniz) Religion (Plato and Plotinus) Education (Stoicism, Rousseau) Politics (Voltaire, Marx) Economics (Smith, Berlin) Art and fashion (existentialism, postmodernism) 25

6 THE RELEVANCE OF PHILOSOPHY The most important value of philosophy is that it utilises reasoning as the method of rational enquiry. This method can avoid some limitations of other methods: Common sense (reasoning can be more universal) Science (reasoning can deal with non-observable, abstract issues) Spirituality (reasoning can be traced back and repeated) 25

7 What can philosophy do? It can examine the coherence of concepts, frameworks and existing practices (e.g. learning in computer science, programming in biology). It can help in interpreting empirical claims and findings. it can tease out and examine assumptions that any particular discipline or method is based on. It can have an overarching, synthetic function – connecting various strands within a discipline and among disciplines. 30


9 Relying on authority Philosophy can also suffer from an over-reliance on authorities (e.g. Aristotle, Kant, or Marx). The weight of an argument is sometimes based on who has said something, rather than on the reasoning strength of what has been said. This is reflected in the extensive use of references to other philosophers that may have an aura of authority, but mean little to those who are not initiated. Such a trend contributes to solidifying particular views into ideologies. Many philosophers have given their allegiance to various -isms and felt obliged to remain true to these frameworks. 35

10 PHILOSOPHY AND IDEOLOGY Many philosophical ideas have given rise to or been associated with various ideologies. Marx and Engels Communism Adam Smith and Milton Friedan Thatcherism Nietzsche Nazism. Sartre Existentialism Fucco Postmodernism Such ideologies are usually distortions and simplifications that contradict the impartiality of philosophical argument and severely restrict its independence. 40

11 REASONING Must be governed by its own internal criteria (4Cs): Congruence: reasoning should not contradict accepted facts (Poppers falsification method) Consistency: parts of the same explanatory structure should not be in conflict with each other. In other words, an interpretation must not contradict itself. Completeness: an interpretation should be able to account for all the cases relevant to the subject. You cannot simply exclude what does not fit! Cohesiveness: all the parts of an interpretation should be should relate to each other and are necessary. (Ockhams razor). 45

12 INTRINSIC LIMITATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY Logic is not always very logical 50

13 Philosophy on its own is groundless, abstract and speculative: When philosophy is divorced from everyday experiences and common sense it becomes irrelevant. Reasoning needs to be grounded in hard facts that can be supplied by methods usually associated with science. Any metaphysical framework would be incomplete if transpersonal / spiritual experiences and practices are not taken into account (e.g. Buddhism) 50

14 PHILOSOPHY Reasoning SCIENCE Inductive/deductive method COMMON SENSE Phenomenological method SPIRITUALITY Transpersonal method Human reality Material reality Beyond material reality 55

15 An allegory Four individuals come across a river: A common sense person may experience the river directly (taste, swim) – phenomenological method. A scientist may stand on the bank and determine its chemical composition – inductive-deductive method. A spiritual person may sit by the river and try to merge with it, seeking the meaning of the river beyond his immediate experience – transpersonal method. A philosopher: may pace up and down its banks and entering into dialogue with others in order to conceptualise the river – reasoning.

16 True knowledge and understanding need all of them!

17 Further information visit:

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