Power as a Subject of Social Philosophical Reflection

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Dean, Head of Ontology and Epistemology Department, Faculty of Philosophy, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University
Affiliation: Faculty of Philosophy, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Moscow, Lenin Hills, MSU, 119991, GSP-1,
Journal nameVoprosy filosofii
EditionIssue 12

Reflections on the nature of power and ideology have always been at the center of philosophical attention. A person becomes a «zoon politikon» as soon as he begins to function as a subject of social life. And therefore, the sphere of political activity, one way or another, invariably appears in the field of philosophical research. But at the same time, the author emphasizes that political activity is precisely the object of philosophical research, and the philosopher himself must be distanced from power. This, by its very nature, ambivalent position, gives rise to the problem of the interrelationships of philosophy and power in general, which is reveals in the conflict between the philosophical position of a philosopher seeking free thinking and his involvement in a particular ideological situation, which always turns out to be a concentrated expression of the interest of the dominant power structures. Therefore, when a philosopher, tempted by his closeness to politics, becomes an ideologist, he risks being only a means to achieve the goals of the power structures. The author believes that everyone has a personal limit of how far his alliance with political power can go, and therefore a philosopher can remain free within any totalitarian system and not free in a democracy. But a philosopher who reflects on power and ideology should, at the same time, reflexively control the distance in relation to these spheres of activity, thus avoiding confusion of his theoretical arguments with his possible political position.

KeywordsHannah Arendt, power, society, philosophy
Publication date20.12.2018
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1. Arendt, Hannah (2002) Zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft. Übungen im politischen Denken I, Piper, München, Zürich.

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