Philosophy and Ideology. Z. A. Jordan 1963
The disintegration of the orthodox doctrine of ideology presented the supporters of Marxism-Leninism with the question of what remained of their theory of ideology and in what respect they differed from other scholars who recognised the importance of existential, ideological or valuational factors in socio-cultural thinking. It soon became clear that Marxist-Leninists continued to reject the universalistic approach of the sociology of knowledge. In their opinion the basic assumption of the sociology of knowledge, namely that the inherent situational determination and the relational structure of certain types of knowledge must be universally recognised, is an absurd and false view. They argued that if this conjecture is accepted, every ideology becomes ‘false consciousness’, i.e. a system of illusions, and the qualitative difference between various ideological system, determined by their class origin, is abolished. For some obvious extra-theoretical reasons Marxist-Leninists refused to accept this conclusion. Thus, they were forced to uphold the dual theory of ideology and maintain that while generally systems of social and moral beliefs are conditioned by and serve the interests of some social class and are, therefore, deceptive and mystifying, their own ideology is scientific. The old contradiction remained unresolved, though its sharp edge was somehow blunted by the renunciation of the claim to absolute truth. Marxist-Leninists regarded their own ideology as a ‘relatively true’ reflection of social reality, capable of being improved upon. Its supposed superiority resulted from its inherent and specific quality which favours a gradual and more and more adequate approximation to true knowledge. This point of view was reaffirmed by Marxist-Leninist writers who dealt with this matter after 1956.
If ideologies are defined as beliefs or systems of beliefs whose acceptance is not governed by scientific procedure, a scientific ideology is a self-contradictory expression. The above definition is certainly inadequate, but it is not arbitrary, devised for the purpose of making nonsense of the Marxist-Leninist concept of scientific ideology. For it is widely, if not universally held that ideologies are accountable on extra-logical grounds and that they are rationalisations or expressions of some individual or collective motives, to be derived from some psychological or social substructure. Marxist-Leninists themselves use the term ‘ideology’ in this sense when they speak of the ideologies of which they disapprove. Ideologies in this sense are not cognitive but expressive and deceptive functional products, to be interpreted in terms of the substructure by which they are supposed to be determined. These systems of beliefs do not raise the question ‘Are they valid?’, but ‘How do they happen to be held?’ and ‘What are their implications for or relevance to action?’ .
Marxist-Leninists are anxious to use the expression ‘scientific ideology’ without self-contradiction. While in some contexts they apply the term ‘ideology’ synonymously with ‘systems of illusions’ (ideology 1 ), and do not try to sharpen its vague outlines and blurred meanings, they have also another concept of ideology. Ideology in the second sense (ideology 2 ) denotes non-systematised beliefs as well as systems of beliefs whose subject-matter is ideological. ‘Ideological’ is a predicate attributed to each or all subject-matters such as philosophy, social philosophy, history, ethics, aesthetics, jurisprudence, economics, political science. This list is not complete, but the subject-matters enumerated are the most frequent instances of knowledge with ideological significance. The term ‘knowledge’ in the expression ‘knowledge with ideological significance’ has a meaning as broad and vague as in the sociology of knowledge. The concept is ambiguous and is bound to give rise to inconclusive disputes whenever any general statement concerning ideology 2 is examined and discussed.
It might appear that ideology2 is a neutral descriptive concept, but this is not the case. For whatever its subject-matter a system of beliefs is not an ideology2 unless it is shared by the members of a collectivity, bound together by social and economic interests, that is, unless it is a class-determined system of beliefs. The class determination of ideology2 implies two entire social theories. It is assumed that there is a ‘correspondence’ between the social position of a class and the beliefs held by this class, the correspondence being the result of the pressure exercised by the needs, causally dependent on the relation to the means of production, which ‘give rise to’ or ‘produce’ or ‘find reflection in’ appropriate beliefs. Moreover, these beliefs are not only class-determined in their content, but also in their capacity as means for the attainment of definite goals, which also arise out of or reflect the class situational determination of their bearers. Ideology2 assists or serves one and only one class.
The social theories underlying the second characteristic of ideology 2 make it clear that ideology2 contains value-judgments or value-loaded statements. It is actually widely recognised that in ideologies 2 evaluative interest takes precedence over cognitive interest in ideas; that they involve a moral commitment to beliefs and an obligation to accept the latter as the basis of action on the part of those who subscribe to ideologies 2 ; that in ideologies 2 the conviction of truth and the sense of being morally right are inseparably merged; and that ideologies 2 justify and recommend a certain value-orientation and value-selection in the solution of action-dilemmas. This is only rarely recognised by Marxist-Leninists who either ignore or avoid stating clearly the primacy of the evaluative content in ideologies 2. Value-judgements may be rationally justified and supported by various arguments, but they cannot be held on the grounds of their conformity to scientific procedure. It is not possible, therefore, to speak of a scientific ideology 2, unless ‘scientific’ is used as self-congratulatory qualification, intended to impress the uninstructed and the unwary.
The definition of ideology2 is not immune from serious difficulties. It is one thing to say that ideologies 2 should be analysed in terms of their social functions and related to a particular social perspective, and quite another to give criteria by means of which the appropriateness of some ideological beliefs (ideology 2) with respect to the underlying class interests can be assessed. Both Marx and Lenin emphasised that the class appropriateness of ideological beliefs cannot be established by discovering the class origin of the thinker. There are bourgeois and proletarian ideologists who are of bourgeois origin. In spite of his contempt for intellectuals Lenin conceded that without them there would be no theory of socialism and without socialist theory workers would remain ideologically enslaved to the bourgeoisie. It is rather the thinker’s identification with a particular class – his theoretical comprehension, as Marx put it, of the historical movement as a whole – that makes him an ideologist of this class, and his social location should be established by the examination of his views. But this results either in circularity of reasoning or in reaching the decision by fiat, as has actually been the case in ‘revolutionary Marxism’, first Lenin and later Stalin having been the authoritative legislator. It is no matter of accident that the formulation of the dual theory of ideology by Lenin coincided with the beginnings of sharp polemics, mounting in volume and virulence, against the corruption, opportunism, reformism and revisionism in the workers’ movement, which prevented it from recognising that Marxism-Leninism was the appropriate ideology 2 of the working classes. Since there were no objective criteria of distinguishing which beliefs were and which were not appropriate, the deviations could not have been accounted for by errors in thinking, but had to be denounced in moral terms as due to the venality of some leaders and to the depravity of some sections of the workers. In ‘Imperialism’ Lenin established a new ‘inner law’ of capitalism which related the so-called opportunism in the labour movement to the features of capitalism in the epoch of finance capital and of monopolies.
For the Marxist-Leninist theory of ideology the concept of appropriateness of ideological beliefs with respect to class determined situational perspective is of crucial importance. It is this appropriateness which justifies the claim of Marxist-Leninist ideology 2 to objective validity, to being an ‘adequate’ or ‘truest’ reflection of social reality. But the appropriateness itself has not been established in a satisfactory manner. It remains a matter of faith or a wish-determined belief.
Should this point be conceded on the ground that though faith and rational belief differ essentially, faith need not necessarily be wrong, there remains another major difficulty. The Marxist-Leninist theory of ideology assumes that the appropriateness of ideological beliefs guarantees their objective validity provided that they reflect the historically and situationally adequate class-determined social perspective. This raises a new problem, namely, under which conditions class-determined social perspective can be regarded as historically and situationally adequate. The fact that the functional relation between substructure and superstructure, described by various terms (some of them clearly metaphorical, others implying some kind of causal relation), should produce either an ideology 1 or an ideology 2 requires explanation.
The Marxist-Leninist answer does not make use of causal agents or empirically discoverable features of social life, nor does it appeal to the criteria of validity applied in scientific procedure, but invokes the verdict of History. It is History itself, which once granted to the bourgeoisie and now grants to the proletariat the perspective that allows it to acquire an undistorted knowledge of social reality. In each of its major periods History vouchsafes this privilege to the class which is the rising and progressive one. The further advanced a class is and the higher stage in historical development it holds, the better it is situated and equipped to know reality. Thus, the socialist society creates more favourable conditions for the progress of knowledge than its predecessor, and the proletarian class in the socialist society approaches truth more closely than the bourgeois class in capitalist society. These premisses once justified the tenet that partijnost’ is a necessary condition of objectivity, or, more crudely, that whatever serves the interests of the suitably defined proletariat is true or promotes the discovery of truth.
This is a chapter from social mythology rather than the methodology of the social sciences. To say that the situation or position of the class within the social structure is the sufficient condition for the adequacy and validity of its ideological beliefs presupposes some kind of omniscience on the part of those who make this claim. For it has no meaning unless the outlooks reflecting various situationally determined perspectives at a given stage of historical development could be compared with each other and with the outlook that does in fact adequately reflect social reality at that stage. Such an outlook would have, however, to be socially undetermined, free from the limiting conditions, which, according to the Marxist-Leninist theory, are never absent from the thinker’s thought about social reality.
Our vision of outside objects is subject to the laws of perspective. We cannot say that an object viewed from a particular angle is seen more adequately than it would be from another. For this would mean that we know what the object undistorted by the laws of perspective looks like. We can only say that the same object looks different when viewed from different directions and in different conditions. In each case we learn about this object something new and peculiar to the perspective in which we view it.
Marxist-Leninists claim a kind of knowledge which in the nature of the case it is impossible to obtain. It is no wonder that they have to resort to verdicts of History. Verdicts of History cannot be disproved. They can be invoked whatever empirical data are available, and no set of such data could ever falsify them. The hypothesis supposedly explaining the situational adequacy of class-determined perspectives is not empirically significant. It may be true or may be false, but logically it is a myth. For the mere situational position within the social structure provides no logical reason whatsoever (and still less the sufficient reason) for claiming validity of the outlook corresponding to or determined by this position.
Finally, there is a striking omission in all Marxist-Leninist investigations dealing with ideology 1 or ideology 2. Marxist-Leninists assume that ideology 1 and ideology 2 are socially and class-determined, or, more generally, that ‘knowledge’ is determined by the existential, material conditions of life. They do not specify, however, the kind of relations obtaining between ‘knowledge’ and material conditions. It is certain that they do not wish merely to establish a one-to-one correspondence based on empirically observable correlations between two distinct sets of phenomena. Thought is supposed to be actually and objectively determined by extra-theoretical and material factors. Mannheim made the same assumption and was faced by the same difficulty: what meaning should be attached to the expression ‘existential determination of knowledge’ and how various forms of thought are to be derived from existential conditions. Having rejected the idea that ‘determination’ means ‘a mechanical cause-effect sequence’, he left the meaning of the term open and ambiguous and never found a satisfactory solution of the problem. Neurath, who was suspicious of the ‘causeeffect phraseology’ and despaired of the possibility of precision in the social sciences at this stage, preferred, in accordance with his idea of ‘aggregational analysis’, vague expressions like ‘to grow out of’ or ‘to arise from’ over ‘to be determined by’, which commits us to beliefs at present unjustifiable. But Neurath was also anxious to eliminate the ‘superstructure-substructure phraseology’ from the language of the social sciences.
In the case of Marxism-Leninism the difficulty under discussion is even more baffling than that of Mannheim. For in its conceptual framework there is nothing to mediate between the material factors in social change and the ideas which form part of the superstructure. The latter directly rises over or is brought into existence by the basis. Mannheim introduced a third heuristic concept, that of perspective. The social context to which Mannheim relates ideas is mental, not material; it is a system of human relations, not a physical object’ . The style of thought in Mannheim’s sense is not, therefore, determined directly by the existential conditions but is mediated by the perspective and existential ideas, the peculiar manner in which the individual realises or describes his position with respect to non-human and human environment, to an external reality and other social actors. The existential determination of knowledge does not put us under the obligation of deriving ideas from material objects, from entities of a different realm of being, but of relating one class of ideas to another class of ideas. This does not solve all the difficulties but removes one major obstacle to the formulation of the Marxian theory in an empirically significant language.
If the concept of ideology1 is accepted, the possibility of social science should be denied. Marx who initially seemed to have used the term ‘ideology’ in the sense of ideology1, did not follow this course. On this account he is sometimes accused of inconsistency, of having denied by implication the possibility of social science excepting his own social theories. There are some reasons for raising this objection, since Marx, as everybody else, was not immune from conceptual confusions and terminological ambiguities. There is, however, little ground for asserting that Marx set the concept of ideology 2 against that of ideology1 and believed that while others fell victims to illusions he managed to produce a scientific ideology 2 . Marx rather believed that though human studies are liable to ideological distortions (in the sense of ideology1), a positive science about ideological subject-matters is possible. In other words, Marx believed that it is possible to differentiate the ideological or evaluative and cognitive content in human studies. In terms of present-day knowledge, Marx asserted that sociological relationism in human studies does not imply epistemological relativism, and that in spite of the conscious or unconscious distortions in which social knowledge is wrapped, a true and scientifically valid social knowledge can be obtained. This was a common belief of nineteenth century positivism of which Marx was an adherent.
The distinction between the cognitive and ideological (evaluative) content in human studies was rejected by Marxist-Leninists in the past and is still rejected to-day. However, the basic disagreement is now narrower than it used to be. The present version of the dual theory of ideology has dropped some of its more extreme views, in which it took pride in the past. It lost its former glib finality, which tends to emphasise the disparity between liberal and authoritarian habits of mind. It stopped using invidious epithets in order to dispose of views disliked or difficult to refute, equating such views with advocacy and advocacy with deliberate lies. The intention to impose the dual theory of ideology by an a priori fiat is absent. There is a semblance of an argument offered to justify the theory and its claims are stated in moderate, sometimes tentative terms, as well as qualified by various restrictive conditions.
It is not always quite clear whether Polish Marxist-Leninists distinguish three possible different meanings which the dual theory of ideology may have. The first of them is based on the idea due to Mannheim. Mannheim suggested that the historical and social genesis of an idea is not as irrelevant to its ultimate validity as the genetic fallacy argument claims. In his view, social conditions, under which a perspective emerges, have some effects on the content and form peculiar to this perspective. Perspectives differ qualitatively in their conceptual frameworks, the meaning attached to concepts, ontological commitments, models of thought, levels of abstraction, patterns of argument, kinds of inferences made in controversies. Mannheim claimed that the social position infiltrates, as it were, into the investigator’s method and results of inquiry and reveals otherwise unobservable aspects of social reality. Each perspective contains, therefore, new cognitive elements which must remain unnoticed to the investigator, who is himself determined by different social conditions. Mannheim’s anticipatory assertion, unobjectionable as long as it is accepted as a programme of inquiry or a hypothesis to be tested, has been assimilated into the dual theory of ideology as a well-established fact.
Mannheim’s idea that each perspective contains new cognitive elements is linked with a quite different assertion, namely, that knowledge provided by different perspectives differs in adequacy and that perspectives determined by the social position of ‘progressive’ and ‘revolutionary classes’ are more adequate than any other. It is assumed as self-evident that a ‘perishing class’ can produce only an ideology 1 as a means of disguising the real nature of a social and historical situation, the recognition of which would not serve its interests. This is the second meaning which can be attributed to the dual theory of ideology. In contradistinction to the past, Marxist-Leninists no longer claim absolute validity and truth for ideologies 2 developed by ‘rising classes’. Since the perspective of a rising class reflects the direction of social development, knowledge arising out of its social conditions is more adequate or closer to truth than any other that might be obtained at that stage.
This modification has further been restricted by the recognition that neither social theories held by ‘progressive classes’ are immune from falling victim to ideological distortions (ideology 1 ), nor are those produced by the representatives of other classes a mere collection of errors and illusions. The social sciences are liable to ideological myth-producing conceptions, irrespective of the investigator’s class location. The cognitive content of the social sciences should be distinguished from their ideological coefficient, and the criteria of validity from those of social significance. The elimination of ideologically distorted knowledge depends on the improvement of the methods of social inquiry and on our knowledge of how ideological rationalisations operate to cover up the real situation by a protective web of fictitious ideas. The position of a class within the social structure does not by itself validate or invalidate its conceptions. The fact that ideological ingredients, that is, rationalisations of interests and practical aims, characteristic for particular classes or groups within them, are a universal feature of thinking, makes the differentiation of the Marxist-Leninist and the bourgeois sociology untenable. What can be fairly presumed is only the fact that proletarian ideological inspiration is more fruitful for progress in social research than any other.
The change in the meaning of the term ‘ideology’, which is thus accepted, could be described as a shift towards the particular conception of ideology in Mannheim’s sense. Since the particular conception differs fundamentally from the total conception, involved in the first of the above given interpretations of the dual theory, this theory clearly contains incompatible views. The particular conception of ideology recognises that the opponent’s thought does not always need to be ideological (ideology 1 ) and that some of his assertions may be valid and true. This implies the recognition of what the total conception of ideology denies, i.e. the existence of common and universal criteria of validity, accepted and shared by individuals who are ‘ideological’ adversaries. An ideological controversy becomes essentially a disagreement on the evaluative level. Although it may involve disagreements concerning matters of fact, these differences of opinion can be separated from the evaluative controversies and resolved by the accepted rules of scientific procedure. This leaves open the question what is the source, the mechanism and relative significance of diverse evaluative approaches.
This touches upon the third possible meaning of the dual theory of ideology. All Marxist-Leninist writers, who took part in the revision of the concept of ideology, have referred to it, but it has most clearly been expounded by Lange. Lange has always held that value- and socially-determined ideas (‘ideological elements’) pervade all kinds of thinking, whether in social or natural sciences. He has recognised the force of the genetic fallacy argument and never seriously believed that the criteria of validity could be formulated in terms of alleged social significance. At the same time, he has rejected the view that ideological motivation must always impede scientific research and place the scientist at a disadvantage in reaching universally valid results. If ‘ideological elements’ are inherent in all thinking, the ideal of thinking entirely emancipated from ideological motivation is unobtainable and unreal. Instead of denouncing them we must learn how to live with and make the best possible use of them.
For it is an error to suppose that ideological motivation can never stimulate the development of science. Veblen observed a long time ago that the factors of psychological, social and mental inertia are not equally distributed throughout society. Classes which are sheltered from the impact of environment tend to retard the process of social transformation, to perpetuate their ways of life and thinking. Unlike the leisured classes inclined to conservatism, those exposed to the strain and stresses of the environment show the liveliest interest in and awareness of newly arising possibilities of reconstructing the traditional scheme of life. Gunnar Myrdal, who is far from being under the influence of the Marxian school, has been fascinated by the ‘fusion’ of the cognitive and evaluative elements in the social sciences and by the selective or constitutive role played in them by ‘ideological ingredients’ . Lange’s approach to the valuational coefficient in thinking combined the strands inherent in Marxian teaching with the tendencies and conclusions reached by some contemporary non-Marxist scholars.
Lange’s formulation of the dual theory of ideology removes the theory from the methodology to the psychology and sociology of science. There is a conservative and a progressive ideological attitude. The former tends to disfavour and the latter to favour the advance in the social sciences. For ‘love of freedom’, ‘hatred of injustice’ or ‘desire for social betterment’ spur the undertaking of new lines of research and, generally, stimulate the spirit of inquiry and inventiveness, which are a prerequisite of the growth of knowledge. The conservative ideological attitude is motivated by the desire to maintain the established social order and acts as a stimulus to the inquisitiveness of the mind only so far as new facts can thereby be discovered that help to perpetuate the existing institutions. Generally speaking, the conservative ideological attitude tends to mystify and the progressive one to illuminate social reality. For the latter, being free from any inhibition to the discovery of the ‘whole truth’ about social reality, is bound to be favourable to scientific progress.
The conservative and the progressive ideological attitudes are theoretical constructs which admit intermediate attitudes between the two extremes. The latter combine a confusing motivation in one field of study with an exploratory inspiration in another field. In fact, the conservative and the progressive attitudes seem to be ideal types in Max Weber’s sense, never actually realised in a pure form. For Lange accepts the fact that the conservative attitude may also stimulate a limited but real scientific advance, as well as that the progressive attitude may produce mystifications. Utopian pre-Marxian socialism, revisionist deviations from scientific socialism, the period of dogmatism and the ‘cult of personality’ in recent years provide examples of distorted knowledge and biased conceptions in the workers’ movement, which would have to remain unaccountable, if the progressive and the proletarian ideological attitude guaranteed automatically an adequate reflection of social reality.
Two things remain vague or even ambiguous in Lange’s interpretation of the dual theory of ideology. The first concerns the question whether the ideological attitude has merely a selective significance or whether it may also determine the content of thought (though not its validity, which should be established solely by means of scientific procedure). The selective function of ideological attitudes is widely accepted by historians and social scientists and it does not raise any serious problems concerning the objectivity of social knowledge. While valuejudgments contribute to the delimitation of the subject-matter at the initial stage of inquiry, they do not penetrate into inquiry itself, which proceeds in accordance with the rules of scientific procedure. The view that value-determined principles of selection underlying scientific inquiries are bound to distort their results is based on a misunderstanding. The misunderstanding arises when what is found to be the case under certain conditions or with respect to some definite assumptions is regarded as universally valid, irrespective of the accepted assumptions and limiting conditions. Such fallacies, which can be exemplified by Marx’s law of the progressive and inevitable pauperisation of the masses or Malthus’ theory of population, are not due to the underlying evaluative assumptions, but to unwarranted extrapolations or to an error of logic and not to the contamination of thinking by partial and biased conceptions.
On the other hand, the possibility of separating evaluative and non-evaluative sentences is highly doubtful, if Mannheim’s conjecture is accepted, that is, if ideological attitudes exercise not only the selective role but also determine the content of thought as well as patterns of inference and logical rules of inquiry. Mannheim’s conjecture has not been tested by observational material, and it is far from certain that it is a tenable hypothesis. It is a tentative surmise, to be regarded with due caution until a considerable effort is made to analyse in detail the alleged differences in styles of thought and in logic.
The second ambiguity involves the problem whether ideological attitudes should be regarded as psychologically or class-determined. The difference is important. For in the latter case ideological attitudes can no longer play a purely selective role. They become a constitutive factor or a style of thought in Mannheim’s sense, characteristic for particular classes of which the individual is a member. In the thinking of the individual the class-determined style of thought becomes explicit and articulated. Consequently, thought is regarded as wholly a function of a definite social position. To presume this and to assert that there is some necessary relation between particular ideological attitudes and particular classes is to readmit a fruitful source of ideology 1, which in the past culminated in conferring some kind of infallibility upon the proletarian class and some kind of perverse blindness to truth upon all the other classes. It also led to the establishment of the sharp distinction between bourgeois science, inevitably fraudulent and tendentious, on the one hand, and proletarian science, inevitably objective on the other, a distinction to-day repudiated by most Marxist-Leninists in Poland. Both the premiss and the conclusion manifest a style of thought which is rooted in the habit of avoiding questions about the evidence which supports these sweeping and untested assertions.
There is an understandable but important omission in the account of the relation between science and ideology, in both meanings of this term, given by Polish Marxist-Leninists. For they never mention institutionalised ideologies, integrated with the power system in society, which world play a considerable role in the contemporary. Either indirectly, that is, by modifying the social structure of the larger society, or directly, by interfering with the institutional structure of science, institutionalised ideologies are the factor which at present probably most strongly inhibits the advancement of knowledge. In this respect favourable or unfavourable ideological attitudes seem to be of a secondary import as compared with the crucial significance to be attached to definite conditions in the structure of the society. Recent history has finally invalidated the belief that while science exercises a powerful influence upon the social structure, science is exempt from the impact of the processes in the wider society upon its institutional structure. Science advances in various social systems, but its development may proceed at a different rate determined by its interaction with a whole series of social variables. One important determinant of the rate is the social environment of science. Social scientists have done much to elucidate the interdependence of science and the social structure as well as to reveal the reasons why in an authoritarian society the latent tension between scientists and scholars on the one hand, politicians and men of action on the other, present in all social structures, assumes an acute form. In Poland Chałasiński and Ossowski tried to give a sociological analysis of the mechanism by means of which the centralisation of institutional controls over science and its integration into a monocentric power system resulted in limitations of the scope for scientific activity, slowed down or even halted in some cases scientific advance. The institutionalised ideology and its authoritarian enforcement thwarted and frustrated all kinds of ideological attitudes, including those which Lange calls progressive. If the latter are actually as favourable to scientific achievements as they are said to be, the state of science in Poland has provided no confirmatory evidence to this effect. Compared with the pressure exercised by an institutionalised ideology, they have proved to be powerless.
Ossowski’s fortunes in the past and Chałasiński’s recent experiences have illustrated this fact. Chałasiński’s studies were greatly resented by the constituted power, and he was finally severely penalised for inquiring into the connection between science and social structure in Poland. One of the tenets of the institutionalised ideology in Poland is the belief that the present social structure is more favourable to the advancement of knowledge than it had ever been, and the questioning of this belief impinged upon the protected values of the official creed.
In conclusion it is only fair to emphasise the considerable amount of intellectual energy which Polish Marxist-Leninists had to spend on clarifying the inherited doctrine of ideology and on extricating themselves from the entangling web of transparent fallacies and gross errors, some of which still haunt Marxist-Leninist thinking. The paucity of positive results is out of proportion to the expended effort.
The sociology of knowledge is a field of study which is clearly Marxian in origin. If it can claim, however, some progress since the times when Marx became its founder, all the major contributors to this development were without exception non-Marxist scholars: Max Weber, &EACUTE;mile Durkheim, W. F. Ogburn, Karl Mannheim, Florian Znaniecki, and at the present time, P. A. Sorokin, R. K. Merton, and Talcott Parsons. Judged by their achievements, Polish Marxist-Leninist, as for that matter Marxism-Leninism elsewhere, has contributed nothing of interest to the common fund of knowledge in this field of study and remains at the stage where Marx left it. This in itself is a fact which requires an explanation in terms of the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of science.
It has been suggested that a social scientist or a social philosopher, irrespective of whether he takes part in or turns away from politics, cannot help to influence his environment by the knowledge acquired in his inquiries. Social knowledge is a form of a critical consciousness of social reality; it does not take for granted the prevailing social concepts and views, the existing social order and institutions. On the other hand, an authoritarian or totalitarian social system cannot maintain itself, if it allows people to question its wisdom and judgment or to spread the awareness of the current and perennial social problems. The conflict is inevitable and so is its outcome in the short-run. The stagnation of social thought is a phenomenon concomitant of the domination of politics over science.