Ideology, Critique, and Social Structures

Critical Horizons:1-13 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
On Jaeggi’s reading, the immanent and progressive features of ideology critique are rooted in the connection between its explanatory and its normative tasks. I argue that this claim can be cashed out in terms of the mechanisms involved in a functional explanation of ideology and that stability plays a crucial role in this connection. On this reading, beliefs can be said to be ideological if (a) they have the function of supporting existing social practices, (b) they are the output of systematically distorted processes of belief formation, (c) the conditions in which distorting mechanisms trigger can be traced back to structural causal factors shaped by the social practice their outputs are designed to support. Functional problems thus turn out to be interlocked with normative problems because ideology fails to provide principles to regulate cooperation that would be accepted under conditions of non-domination, hence failing to anchor a stable cooperative scheme. By explaining ideology as parasitic on domination, ideology critique points to the conditions under which cooperation stabilizes as those of a practice whose principles are accepted without coercion. Thus, it seems to entail a conception of justice whose principles are articulated as part of a theory of social cooperation.
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First archival date: 2019-10-15
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