Comments on Knowledge and Ideology: The Epistemology of Social and Political Critique [Book Review]

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Michael Morris' Knowledge and Ideology is an original and valuable contribution to the philosophical debate concerning the meaning and validity of the concept of ideology critique. While the concept of ideology has occupied a pivotal role within the tradition of critical social theory, as Terry Eagleton had already pointed out in his 1994 study, the term nevertheless has "a whole range of useful meanings, not all of which are compatible with one another." Morris takes Eagleton's analysis as his point of departure, distinguishing between "epistemic" and "functional" varieties of ideology critique. Unlike Eagleton's earlier study, however, which focused on the historical development of these two dominant ways of conceiving ideology, Morris' work attempts to show how the cognitive and non-cognitive dimensions of belief can be productively reconciled in a "Neo-Hegelian variation of epistemic ideology critique." Morris' work makes a compelling case that critical social theory can be sensitive to the social dimensions of belief without abandoning the legitimate goals of the traditional epistemological project. I have some questions, however, regarding how he proposes to reconcile these two competing visions of ideology critique.
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