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Difference Between Philosophy And Ideology

philosophyPhilosophy vs Ideology

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.

Ideology expresses dissatisfaction with the current state and aspires to be some future state whereas philosophy tries to understand the world in its current state. In other words, ideology is aimed at changing the world whereas philosophy is aimed at seeking the truth.

Ideology is rigid and once fixed on certain beliefs, refuses to change its stance irrespective of any change in the surrounding environment. Challenging an ideologue can be the most difficult task. A philosopher, on the other hand, may arrive on some construct for the basis of life and other things but will be willing to discuss and ponder other philosophies. A philosopher is open minded and willing to listen to criticism whereas an ideologue will refute anything challenging his or her ideology outright. This also suggests that while philosophy encourages people to think, ideology discourages any thinking that goes against the basic doctrines that govern the ideology.

The above definitions and differences clearly indicate that 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.

Philosophy is objective whereas an ideologue will always impose his or her ideology’s vision and discard anything against it. Philosophy requires structured thinking whereas ideology has lot of personal emotions in play.

Philosophy is neither harmful nor helpful as there is no advocacy behind it. On the other hand, an ideology can bring both harm and good to the society. This is because the set of doctrines that govern the ideology may always not serve universal interests and ideology demands advocacy and conversion of other beliefs and thoughts to that particular ideology in order to reign supreme. However, every ideology is born out of some philosophy.

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.

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  1. Ideology is based in one’s philosophy, you cannot separate the two.
    My philosophical views dictate what my ideology is.
    Through practical application of living ones philosophy one gains wisdom of their ideological solutions. One’s ideological bent is based in a very simple philosophy: Man is either inherently evil or man is inherently good.
    Those who have no belief in “original sin” profess the loudest that man is inherently evil and must be controlled by the ideology of “government knows best.”
    Those who have a faith in a God, believe that man is inherently good and will always live the ideology that man should not be controlled by any man made entity and will answer for his actions as an individual.

    • Minarchist Right-Libertarianism & Classical Liberalism (ie CONSERVATISM) both place CONFLICT at the center of all human interactions (hardly “assuming that man is inherently good”), and the role of government is to mediate.

      Religious ideologues (such as yourself) obviously have no problem being told what to do and what to believe, as all organized religion is authoritarian in it’s structure.

    • JoAnne,

      My intent is not to tell you that you’re wrong, but to learn from an interesting point of view…

      I think that philosophy and ideology can be seperate. As a matter of “opinion” i feel that it is of great importance that we make a point of viewing them seperately!

      A person that has a philosophical viewpoint MUST be allowed to have such-a thought without being treated as though they have not foresaken their commitment to a social-contract just because they choose to think!!! Don’t make them out to be heratics…

      Likewise, if your philosophical views dictate your ideology… wouldn’t you be the cause for fear!

      Also, belief in “god” does not dictate ones choice in good vs evil! It could even be said that it could inhibit ones ability to see the difference! Blind-faith!!! Scarey!

      People are capable of being the most horrific “animal” of them all… Perhaps that is why we have made use of religious ways in the first place!!!

    • True Ideology can be born from what we perceive to be the truth. And what is the truth? Well that depends on whatever philosophy you agree with. However, that being said, Ideology can and does exist independent of any philosophical points of view. We are not omnipotent to the degree that what we understand to be the truth will be the driving factor in any ideological doctrine. There are many that exist in plain view that employ wrongfully an ideological advocacy of which serves only to reach the desired outcome. Simply put, the ends justify the means.

    • And those who believe in God tend to marginalize those who don’t. Yours is otherwise known as the ideology of self-righteous douchebaggery.

    • I always thought that somewhere in a primary education we all have to be exposed to ontology and philosophy at all. It should be a mandatory in curriculum K -12. Only then we will have an idea who we are and what ways we will go.

  2. how I can learn more about this difference between philosohy and idealogy, not between idealogy and knowlge, ideology and utopia? I need to know some book’s title which deals with this issue. thx

  3. this is fine.this is what our leaders require to undertstand as they fight for leadership positions.

  4. The way I see it is that philosophy consists of underpinning assumptions of reality and how that reality can be understood. These can be overlaid with ideological constructs which seek to justify a certain course of action by yourself or others. To give it a biological analogy, the former comes from the gut while the latter is ruled by the head. Two sides of the same coin, so while they both grow out of a person’s material circumstances one has a stronger political dimension.

  5. There is a glaring category mistake going on here. We must distinguish between philosophy as a discipline and a specific philosophy, such as consequentialism. A philosopher can change philosophies: he can decide that he was wrong about consequentialism and become an deontologist. But he remains a philosopher.

    In the same way an ideologue can change. She can decide that her theism was wrong and become an atheist. She remains an ideologue.

    So it is as incorrect to say that an theist REFUSES to change as it is to say that a consequentialist REFUSES to change. It only true that IF a theist changes to a atheist, they are no longer an atheist. And IF a consequentialist changes into a deontologist, they are no longer a consequentialist.

    It is true that philosophy and ideology are on opposite ends of a scale, but not the one suggested by this article. If we agree with a set of ideas, we call it a philosophy. If we disagree with a set of ideas, we call it an ideology. “Limited government” looks like a philosophy to some people and like an ideology to others.

    • Fred,
      I don’t think that ideology was meant as a discipline for a path toward truth. We can argue that some philosophies are not the best studies of our being, as Objectivism, one of the most subjective philosophy for me, but the oscillation between subjective and objective, the motion toward truth is not present in ideologies I would say, and instead of many ways and openness and availability to do so in “examinations of things” in philosophy, ideologies “fight” only through political correctness.

    • Theism or theology isn’t really an ideology, though; you’re conflating theism with specific religious ideas. Religion, in a sense, could be seen as having an ideology as it prescribes a set of behaviors for its adherents and seeks to rationalize certain moral codes and institutions, such as a church or mosque. However, theism is much broader and deals with fundamental beliefs about the nature of reality and the role of man in it, as well as with his relationship with God. Religion has ideological aspects but is broader than an ideology.

  6. Is this article scholarly

  7. Seems like you have an ideological stance when it comes to the comparative merits of philosophy and ideology.

  8. This account of “Difference Between Philosophy And Ideology” is confused and therefore confusing. The fog of confusion arrives in the first paragraph and it only gets worse from there.

    “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.”

    Ideologies may be very specific and narrow (to “a certain social institution or a particular organization”). Or they may not be — they may determine entire cultural paradigms such as mysticism, scientism, or capitalism, among others.

    Confining philosophy to pragmatic purpose and perspective is another reductionist fallacy. Pragmatism itself is an ideology or a philosophy, not the other way around.

    These two category mistakes sink the rest of the claims made in this piece. The real difference between philosophy and ideology is better seen in the simple claim that, “ideology is the exercise and implementation of philosophy within a cultural context,” for example.

    Both consist of human beliefs. Philosophical beliefs tend to be far more tenuous, hypothetical, or theoretical while ideological beliefs tend to be held with far greater strength of conviction for purposes of inspiring, motivating, constraining, controlling, or otherwise influencing individual and collective thought and action. It’s rather like the difference between architecture and design on one hand, as opposed to engineering and construction on the other.

  9. Can a philosopher b an idealouge at any instinct ..

  10. Thank you, the article has assisted me

  11. Also in a very simple meaning philosopy is more theoritical while ideology is practical also ideology is particular while philosopy is universal


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