The Uses of the Word
The word ‘ideology’, like the word ‘sociology’, was invented in France. It meant the science or study of ideas, and was first used to refer to a type of philosophy fashionable at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a philosophy whose exponents prided themselves on not being metaphysicians. They explained all ideas as deriving ultimately from sensations. The most famous French thinker of this school was Condillac, a disciple of the British empiricists, but the epithet idéologue or ideologist was applied, not so much to him, as to men who came after him. This early meaning of the word would perhaps be even more forgotten than it is, if Napoleon had not picked on it and used it to express the impatience and even contempt of the man of action for men so much more interested than he is in abstract ideas. Thus, the word ‘ideology’ was French for a few decades before it became international and in the process changed its meaning. And though the meaning is altered, the word is still, quite often, used disrespectfully.
KeywordsTrue Belief Coherent System False Consciousness Class Interest Social Existence
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