New Bulgarian University Origins and Characteristics of Ideology Essay


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What is ideology? What is your ideology?

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What position do values occupy in a world of facts? Ethics according to Karl Popper Júlio Fontana Abstract: The present article aims at comprehending how Karl Popper understood ethics. He had no intention to “preach” an ethics, for he thought that was unnecessary. Nonetheless, he was a moral person. And for being so, his whole thought was influenced by it. We could better understand his cosmology, methodology, and philosophy if we investigated the ethical bases that guide his life and thought. In truth, we might say that the whole of Popper’s thought is rooted in ethics. Keywords: Karl Popper – Ethics – Moral - Problem On the evening of Friday, 25 October 1946 the Cambridge Moral Science Club – a weekly discussion group for the university’s philosophers and philosophy students – held one of its regular meetings. That evening the guest speaker was Dr. Karl Popper, down from London to deliver an innocuous-sounding paper, “Are There Philosophical Problems?” Among his audience was the chairman of the club, Professor Ludwig Wittgenstein, considered by many to be the most brilliant philosopher of his time. We do not know for sure what happened on such famous evening. All we know of the event is that Wittgenstein started to wave a fire poker and then stormed out of the room. True in this story is that the reason for Wittgenstein’s sudden leaving was an argument about moral (or ethics). Journalists David Edmonds and John Eidinow, from BBC, who wrote a book on the event, state that after Wittgenstein’s leaving, Braithwaite asked Popper to give an example of moral principle. Popper promptly answered: “Not to threaten visiting lecturers with pokers”. For Wittgenstein, the propositions of metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics and religion lack sense, because they try to overcome the limits of language, thus of the world. Popper disagrees. So the argument between Popper and Wittgenstein must have had ethics as its final subject. Hence we see the importance ethics holds for Popper and this is why it is so important to examine and confront it with the totality of his system.  Philosophy student at PUC-Rio.  Edmonds, D. O atiçador de Wittgenstein: a história de uma discussão de dez minutos entre dois grandes filósofos. Rio de Janeiro, Difel, 2003. pp. 269-284. [Wittgenstein’s poker: The story of a tem-minute argument between two great philosophers. New York, HarperCollins, 2001.] Ciberteologia - Journal of Theology & Culture – Year II, n. 17  What does Popper understands by ethics? Popper’s use of the words “ethics” and “moral” Great part of the dictionaries of philosophy makes a distinction between ethics and moral. The Dicionário básico de filosofia, for example, defines “ethics” as the part of the practical philosophy whose objective is to elaborate a reflection on the basic problems of moral (the end and sense of human life, the basics of obligation and duty, the nature of good and evil, the value of moral consciousness etc.), but founded in a metaphysical state of the group of rules of conduct considered universally valid. Differently from moral, ethics is more concerned with detecting the principles of a life according to philosophical wisdom, with elaborating a reflection on the reasons to wish for justice and harmony and on the means to reach them. Moral is more concerned with the construction of a set of prescriptions destined to ensure a just, harmonious common life. Nevertheless, the same lexicon explains that In a wide sense, moral is a synonym for ethics as the theory of values that rule the human action or conduct, having a normative or a prescriptive character. In a stricter sense, moral relates to costumes, values, and specific norms of conduct of a society or culture, while ethics considers the human action from its valuative and normative point of views, in a more generic and abstract sense. Hence, we need to know in which sense – wide or strict – Popper uses these words. To do so, we should go back to the text itself, for our philosopher did not give us a definition of them nor said how he would use them The following excerpt may help us: I cannot admit that thinking the ethical laws as being made by the human being is, in such sense, incompatible with the religious standpoint that they were given to us by God. Historically, the whole of ethics undoubtedly begins with religion; but I am not dealing now with historical questions. I am not questioning who the first ethical legislator was. I affirm that we, and we only, are responsible for the adoption or rejection of certain suggested moral laws. It is we who distinguish between the true prophets and the false prophets. We see that Popper does not make a distinction between the terms “ethics” and “moral”. So he uses both terms in their wider sense. Nevertheless, it is not enough to analyse Popper’s use of the term ethics to understand what he meant by it. Popper’s theory of the three worlds Popper calls World 1 the world of physical entities, those we all call real, that is, the objects, the living beings, the planets, the water, the sun and the moon. The physical processes are also in this world: the forces, the force fields, light, sound waves, electricity, atoms etc. It is the world of facts. World 2 is the world of our subject experiences, our sensations, our conscious perceptions, that is, of our mental states. We must emphasize that Popper does not state, as Descartes did, that this world is composed by immaterial entities. For Popper, World 3 is the world of cultural entities, those things produced by man, such as tools, theories, language (language is a tool), the alphabet (the alpha Japiassu, H. & Marcondes, D. Dicionário básico de filosofia. 3. ed. Rio de Janeiro, Zahar, 1996. p. 93.  Id., ibid. p. 187.  Popper, K. 1999. pp. 79f. — Italics added. The Kantian concept of autonomy is evident. Ciberteologia - Journal of Theology & Culture – Year II, n. 17  bet is a technology), the works of art, myths, religion etc. It is important to observe that all that is/was created by man depends, in a way or another, of World 2. World 3 is the world of the human mind’s products, it is man’s cultural world. For our following analysis, it is important to notice that this is the world where the ethical precepts or “moral demands” are ontologically placed, as it may be seen in the following passage: “The human being created new worlds ― of language, of music, of poetry, of science; and the most important of them is the world of moral demands, for equality, freedom, and care for the weak”. In fact, these three worlds interact, but they do so according to some rules. World 3 does not directly interact with World 1, and vice-versa. World 2 is a forceable passage. World 3 is autonomous in relation to the other worlds. I will quote a classical example in the philosophy of mind: the toothache. A toothache is both a mental and a physical state. If you have a strong toothache, this is a very good reason for you to see your dentist, which involves a great number of actions and physical movements of your body. The cavities in your tooth – a material physical-chemical process – will lead to physical effects; but you will go to the dentist by force of your feelings of pain and the knowledge of existing institutions, such as dentistry. Here, all three worlds are interacting. This is all very trivial; nonetheless, the mental states’ reality has been denied by some philosophers. Others admit mental states are real, but deny their interaction with the world of physical states. According to the quoted example, we can affirm the reality of World 2, that is, the reality of mental states. Let us now see World 3. The reality of this world is more difficult to be accepted. By World 3 we understand the products of the human mind, such as stories, explanatory myths, artefacts, scientific theories (both true and false), scientific problems, social institutions, and works of art. The objects of World 3 are those of our own making, although they are not always the result of a planned production by individual human beings. Many of the objects of World 3 exist under the form of material bodies and, in a certain sense, belong both to World 1 and World 3. Examples of this are sculptures, paintings, and books, whether of scientific or literary subjects. A book is a physical object, thus it belongs to World 3; but what makes it a significant product of the human mind is its content, which remains unchangeable in its several copies and editions. Such content belongs to World 3. One of Popper’s main theses is that “the objects of World 3 may be real, not only in its materializations and embodiments in World 1, but also in its aspects, in World 3”. As I have previously said, World 3 interacts with World 1 in a mediated, indirect way through World 2. I will mention an example of our daily life: laws. A law is a product of World 3. Is law reduced to the several codes? Most people have never read a single of these codes and obey many of its laws. Is law a mental state that happens in many individuals in a similar way? I believe it is very unlikely to be so. In fact, we would rather some laws did not exist. Law is a product of the human mind, it is cultural,  Definitions of culture may be found in the dictionary.  Popper, K. 1999. p. 79. Id. 1999. p. 62.  Ciberteologia - Journal of Theology & Culture – Year II, n. 17  and its sources are the costumes and traditions of a given society; thus its ontological place is in World 3. Does anyone find it unlikely that laws have a direct influence on what we do in our daily life? In fact, we often avoid certain attitudes due to the existence of laws. Don’t you think so? Psychoanalyst, philosopher, and pedagogue Rubem Alves says: If society imposes bans, that is because desires seek to seep in. It is not necessary to forbid people from eating stones, because nobody wants that. Only what is desired is banned. Thus, there may be laws forbidding incest, theft, nakedness, sexual intercourse in public, cruelty against children and animals, murder, homosexuality, the offence to constituted powers. Because these are strong desires. The stronger the temptation to transgress society’s established order, the stronger the repression and censorship apparatus.10 Thus, I believe there is no need to speak of the interaction between World 3 and World 1 through World 2. I will now demonstrate that World 3 has certain autonomy in relation to the others. I will make use of an example to show it. We might say that, when the Babylonians invented a sufficiently rich language, they were the first ones, as far as we know, to design a number system in which one can go on and on and on. We have a similar number system, a series of unending natural numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Such system contains a method that allows us to always go beyond any determined number. Thus we may say the number system is a human product.11 Let us consider the odd and even numbers. We did not create them; they emerged from the series of natural numbers. We cannot make a series of natural numbers without creating odd and even numbers. This was an unintentional consequence of something we made. In this example, the autonomy of World 3 becomes more evident when we analyse the prime numbers. Prime numbers are the unintentional result of the creation of natural numbers. Prime numbers are those divisible by themselves and by one (unity). Among them are 2; 3; 5; 7; 11; 13, and so forth. Prime numbers were not created by us and, in a certain sense, are completely outside our domain. We know little about their distribution and a general formula was not yet established. Only through the help of trial-and-error methods can we say that a very large number is a prime one.12 The example reveals something very important. Popper says that “although numbers are manmade, they hold certain particularities that are not of our making, but we have the possibility of finding out”.13 I will quote yet another example. German theologian Jürgen Moltmann is a thinker very close to Neomarxist Ernst Bloch, thus a non-pluralist person in principle. In the Foreword of the 13th edition of his main work, Theology of hope, he says: To edit a book again after 33 years and give it a new preface is naturally a risky thing. Books also have their own timing. But some books have a very unique destiny, for they follow a way that is all theirs. That is what happened to Theology of Hope. I published it in 1964. In 1967, its  Criminals thought laws did not influence their lives. Nonetheless, they were refuted and most of them are now in prison. 10 Alves, R. O que é religião? São Paulo, Loyola, 2005. p. 89. 11 There were some who considered it of divine origin. 12 Twin prime numbers – prime numbers separated by an even number (3, 5; 5, 7; 11, 13; 17, 19; 29, 31; etc.) – have an end. However, this is one of the unsolved problems of number theory. 13 Popper, K. 1996. p. 33. Ciberteologia - Journal of Theology & Culture – Year II, n. 17  English translation was published. Later, though, it escaped my control and made its own history; a history I had not intended nor foreseen, but that reverted to me in many different ways.14 After its publication, his book became an inhabitant of World 3. It began to enjoy an autonomy characteristic of any other inhabitant of our cultural world. To conclude, I acknowledge that: 1) the objects of World 3 are abstrat (even more abstract than physical forces), but not less real, for they are powerful instruments to change World 1; 2) the objects of World 3 have an effect on World 1 only through human intervention, the intervention of its creators, especially while they are being perceived, which is a process of World 2, a mental process, or, more precisely, a process in which Worlds 2 and 3 interact; so 3) we must admit that both the objects of World 3 and the procedures of World 2 are real. Values and facts In his book, The Place of Value in a World of Fact, psychologist Wolfgang Köhler explained why few scientists and philosophers with scientific education bother themselves to write about values. The reason is simple: much of what is said about values is mere hot air.15 Popper comments this affirmation: So many of us fear that we too would only produce hot air or, if not that, something not easily distinguished from it. […] At least in the field of ethical theory (I do not include the Sermon on the Mount), with its almost infinite literature, I cannot recall having read anything good and striking except for Plato’s Apology of Socrates (in which ethical theory plays a subsidiary role), some of Kant’s works, especially Foundations of the metaphysic of morals (which is not too successful) and Friedrich Schiller’s elegiac couplets, which wittily criticise Kant’s rigorism. Perhaps I might add to this list Schopenhauer’s Two fundamental problems of ethics. Except Plato’s Apology, and Schiller’s charming reduction of Kant, none of these come anywhere near to achieving their aim. 16 Nevertheless, Köhler incites by saying that scientists and philosophers should dare and run the risk to do so. Popper agrees, although he is very cautious. Our philosopher says: I shall therefore say nothing more than that values emerge together with problems; that values could not exist without problems; and that neither values nor problems can be derived or otherwise obtained from facts, though they often pertain to facts or are connected to them.17 Thus, for Popper ethics is related both to value and problems. I would like to extend myself on this a bit further than Popper, because I think its briefness can give way to many errors of interpretation. The problem is something unquestionably objective, thus belonging to Wolrd 3. What about value? As Lalande shows, value can be subjective or objectively defined. Subjectively, value is “the characteristic of things that make them more or less esteemed or de14 Moltmann, J. Teologia da esperança: estudos sobre os fundamentos e as conseqüências de uma escatologia cristã. São Paulo, Editora Teológica-Loyola, 2005. p. 19. [Theology of hope: A Contemporary Christian Eschatology. Augsburg Books, 1993.] 15 Confuse and intelligible language. 16 Popper, K. Autobiografia intelectual. São Paulo, Cultrix-Edusp, 1977. p. 203. [Unended quest; an intellectual autobiography. London, Routledge, 2002.] 17 Id., ibid. pp. 203-204. Ciberteologia - Journal of Theology & Culture – Year II, n. 17  sired by a subject or, more commonly, by a group of certain subjects”.18 Objectively, value is “the characteristic of things that make them deserve more or less esteem”.19 Popper rejects the latter. So, for Popper, value is subjective, that is, value always depends on someone to valuate. Nonetheless, he believes values can become objective when submitted to criticism. He says so in his Autobiography: A thing, or an idea, or a theory, or an approach may be conjectured to be objectively valuable in being of help in solving a problem or as a solution of a problem, whether or not its value is consciously appreciated by those struggling to solve that problem. But if our conjecture is formulated and submitted to discussion, it will belong to World 3. Or else, a value (relative to a certain problem) may be created or discovered, and discussed, in its relations to other values or to other problems; in this quite different case it too may become an inmate of World 3. 20 Thus, by being submitted to criticism, value belongs to World 3 together with the problem. Thus, Popper does not agree that values are in any way connected to facts, which belong to World 1.21 Thus, Popper frees himself from the “ethical paradigm” that only the human being is a moral being.22 According to him, Thus if we are right in assuming that once upon a time there was a physical world devoid of life, this world would have been, I think, a world without problems and thus without values. It has often been suggested that values enter the world only with consciousness. This is not my view. I think that values enter the world with life; and if there is life without consciousness (as I think there may well be, for there appears to be such a thing as dreamless sleep), then, I suggest, there will also be objective values, even without consciousness.23 As Popper explains, there are two kinds of value: one created by life, by unconscious problems, and another created by the human spirit, based in previous solutions, in the attempt to solve problems that can be better or worse understood. This is where Popper places values in a world of facts: in World 3 of problems and traditions historically emergent, which is part of the world of facts – not the facts of World 1, but those partially produced by the human mind. The world of values transcends the world of the valueless facts ―, the world of the rough facts, as it were. Nature and convention According to Popper, it is extremely necessary to make a distinction between what is natural and what is convention. In other words: it is necessary to distinguish between two different elements in the human being’s environment: his natural environment and his social environment. 18 Lalande, A. Vocabulário técnico e crítico da filosofia. São Paulo, Martins Fontes, 1999. p. 1.188. 19 Id., ibid. p. 1.189. 20 Popper, K. Autobiografia intelectual, cit., p. 204. [Unended quest; an intellectual biography. London: Routledge, 2002.] 21 I remind that World 2 serves as an interface between Worlds 1 and 3. 22 At this point, Popper opposes Kant, who says, in his Critique of the power of judgement, that without the human beings, the whole of creation would be like a simple, useless and aimless desert”. Kant, I. apud Landim, M. L. P. F. É ...
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School: UIUC


Running Head: IDEOLOGY



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Ideology is the set of ideals and ideas on how the world or society is visualized
(Cranston, 2016). Ideology is the reasoning behind any development in society be it
economically, socially or politically. Ideas and ideals help the people gauge the world and come
up with solutions to curb any shortcomings in the future, by looking at wrongdoings and how to
tackle them for a better tomorrow. Beliefs and values that guide a nation stem from ideology,
basically ideology is part and partial of the people’s lives. This means that ideology is not merely
wishful thin...

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