By John Plamenatz (auth.)
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Or, if some are made, why not abandon the conclusion altogether? Why not admit that, in every sphere, there can be knowledge that is not 'relative' in this sense? Everyone admits that every kind of idea and every branch of knowledge has its social origins. Why, then, exempt any ideas, any branch of knowledge, from this relativity? Even the ideas oflogic and mathematics are not universal. Indeed, some of them are the most abstruse of all. J' oj ideas and beliefsl6I any coherent discourse, or to any language used to describe and to explain events, whatever their kind.
The sociologists of knowledge who study ideas, beliefs and theories in relation to the social conditions in which they arise or come to be widely used or accepted, are particularly impressed by it. Marx, as they (some of them, at least) see it, was never more happily inspired than when he uttered these words, even though he failed to see clearly their full import. For example, Karl Mannheim, in Ideology and Utopia, says that 'it was Marxist theory which first achieved a fusion of the particular and the total conceptions of ideology' (p.
Hegel more than accepted Kant's belief that knowledge is not passive but active; he enlarged upon it and went beyond it. Unlike Kant, he insisted that knowledge is essentially the product 36/German Philosophy and the Concept of Ideology of a plurality of minds. The ideas used to acquire a coherent image of a world do not arise separately in each particular mind; they are essentially public. They form a system of ideas which is a joint product and a common inheritance. Nor does the system remain unchanged; it develops from age to age in the course of history.
Ideology by John Plamenatz (auth.)