For example, feminism. If they ask ten questions and say: "if you answer yes to all of them, you are feminist." So, if i agree with these ideas, then i am feminist.

It is possible understand and agree with all the ideas without being feminist?

If ideology is a box with thinking patterns or a set of ideas about some point, how can i agree without stay inside this box?

I feel uncomfortable being force to "raise a flag and wear the shirt" just because i agree with something. I want a way to understand ideology, understand the important things on it without being part of it. How can i do that?

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    I think the problem is in the ambiguity of "feminism". One can think of it as just a set of philosophical principles, in which case if you agree with the principles you are it. But when used colloquially this is not what is meant, feminism is interpreted as a political and social movement rather than an abstract ohilosophical position. One can certainly be a "feminist" philosophically without becoming an advocate of social feminism, "raising a flag and wearing the shirt". The same applies to most other philosophies (except perhaps those that prescribe action as a precondition, like Marxism). – Conifold Jul 11 '17 at 2:25
  • I see, we can have feminism as something philosophical, and also as political and social movement. A person can agree with the philosophical, but disagree with the way that the social movement choose to present the philosophical. Thank you @Conifold ! – Filipi Maciel Jul 11 '17 at 13:34

Yes and no, depending...

If the proposed 10 questions do, in fact, encompass all aspects of an ideology, then it would not be logical to agree with something entirely and yet claim that you do not. Something like:

If one agrees with all X, then one is an X-ist.
One agrees with all X.
One is *not* an X-ist.

^This does not make sense.

However, it would seem much more likely that your question would be answered differently. Consider why you do not want to be considered an X-ist, and that reason (let's call it X2) is probably a key difference. For example, an X-ist might say to you:

If one agrees with all X, then one is an X-ist.
You agree with all X.
Therefore, you must be an X-ist.

But, you reply something like:

An X-ist agrees with all X.
However, an X-ist *also* agrees with X2.
I agree with all X, but not with X2.
Therefore, I am not an X-ist.

In other words, you would likely argue that the 10-question test for X-ism isn't accurate or all-encompassing.

Note that the X2 aspect might be a subjective thing. For example, it may be something like "An X-ist desires that non-X-ists be forcefully compelled to comply." The X-ist seeking to label you might deny that X-ism includes this, but you might think that being an X-ist requires this. Who's to say?

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    The "X2" example made it very clear to me. Thank you @elmer007 ! – Filipi Maciel Jul 11 '17 at 13:18

In this era when people are not allowed to tell you what gender you are, no one can reasonably slap an ideological label on you. People who actually accept modern identity politics, which most of feminism does, can't tell you that you are a feminist.

In theory, an ideology is just another word for a worldview. But all that changes when an ideology is labeled. Whether deployed positively or negatively, segmenting worldviews by labeling them is a device of social control.

In practice, ideologies are power positions, not sets of ideas. If someone wants to use an ideological label, they are attempting to change others' thinking, whether that just means promulgating the ideas themselves, or whether it involves using the apparent agreement as a lever to control those labeled.

Feminists who agree that the men in their lives are arrested too often would be horrified to be told they were supporting a Men's Rights platform. They don't feel obligated to do anything about it, given that they feel this fact is offset by many others. They do not wish to be associated with a group they have gone out of their way to make sound stupid. Etc. etc.

As long as you are aware of what is going on, you can think whatever you want without being politically manipulated by labels.

  • Are there any good essays on "ideologies are power positions"? – Dave Jul 10 '17 at 18:51
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    Manneheim's "Ideology and Utopia" is the extreme form. But almost any sociology textbook's treatment of labelling would do. – user9166 Jul 10 '17 at 18:57
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    @Dave I added some context to appear less cavalier, including a link to some basic ideas behind the sociological theory I was unconsciously working from. – user9166 Jul 10 '17 at 19:24
  • (So a very good but famously hard-to-read book, some notes, but no essays. Sorry) – user9166 Jul 10 '17 at 19:31

It is possible understand and agree with all the ideas without being feminist?

The response depends on the definition of the term "feminist". Suppose agreement with the ten principles is necessary and sufficient to identify someone as feminist, regardless of whatever else they might believe. Then the answer is No, a person cannot (a) agree with all of the ideas and (b) not be a feminist.


It is very improbable that 10 questions would be sufficient to define/label someone as a "feminist." Even 1000 questions would not be enough to be absolutely sure that someone is a feminist because all it takes is one exemption to invalidate it.
Under the best circumstances, the best/worst label they could apply would be, "feminist sympathizer."


I would say there can certainly be a dichotomy and a difference between

  1. our beliefs, and
  2. our cultural / sociological sense of identity.

Our beliefs and our identities are usually fairly aligned, but not always.

Some people who are atheists are very outspoken and like to challenge Christians.

I don't believe in God in a traditional sense, but I don't consider myself an atheist. I guess I am, but I don't call myself that.

Because even though I don't like the attitudes of a lot of people who claim to be Christians, bigoted and intolerant(ironic) I don't openly challenge anyone with Christian beliefs or try to argue with them about their beliefs, because just because you believe something different doesn't automatically mean you have to oppose and tear down the other side.

  • "I'm not convinced that there is a good reason to believe in god." This is the way i present my point of view when this subject comes. I am atheist, but Theism and Atheism are just conclusions, and nothing more. Some people like to use as ideology, breathing they absolute sure to (like you said) "challenge" others, but this just kill the possibility of a good conversation. Feminism is not different, treating important subjects as if they are soccer teams, and who scream louder, wins. Thank you for you answer! – Filipi Maciel Jul 12 '17 at 21:49

One who would proceed philosophically, must approach the question by asking what is ideology? You say:

"If ideology is a box with thinking patterns or a set of ideas about some point, how can i agree without stay inside this box?"

The next step is, to ask you, you yourself, ad hominem (in the older sense as that conception grew into the Western world, essential to Western existence, and not in the sense on the Wikipedia page), do you understand ideology that way? What's your opinion about the answer to the question, What is ideology? Put another way, how does the issue appear to you?

If we stay with the answer you give, it seems like a rule. Defined by the, e.g., "ten questions". If that is what ideology is, then there is nothing to be said except whether you answered the questions.

So, one has to ask, can one, oneself, adress one's knowing of what ideology means in another way? Gramsci offers two understandings. Vis, one's whole view of life (one's consciousness or "class consciousness"), or, on the other hand, a doctrine of some kind.

Ideology as a doctrine can mean: there's something I prefer, for example, the equality of women to men, Feminism, and then I supply a list of facts and arguments to defend that view. I think under this understanding one can answer

"I want a way to understand ideology, understand the important things on it without being part of it. How can i do that?"

by saying, I agree that the facts you bring forward are accurate, or valid, I agree that you make solid arguments. However, I don't subscribe to your 'ism' or group. One can, e.g., agree with all the arguments, but still not agree with the gist of the conclusion, or the value (form of consciousness) that is supposed to follow from the arguments and selected facts.

  • In a democracy the most thoughtful and well-informed answers are voted down... Without being understood. And without comment. – user26700 Jul 10 '17 at 20:51
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    I'm not the downvoter, but perhaps you were downvoted because your answers meander and your writing is verbose and difficult to parse. You hardly make it easy on your reader to figure out what you're up to here. – possibleWorld Jul 10 '17 at 23:19
  • I think people should be more willing to ask clarifying questions. Suave diction isn't necessary with those who want to learn. To put forward a subject that is weighty requires more than can be said in the crudest language, and it won't move one to change of opinion, unless one resolutely enter the gravitas of the issue at hand. – user26700 Jul 11 '17 at 20:15
  • Sure, 'enter the gravitas' all you want, but it's entirely possible to talk philosophy with straightforward, uncluttered prose. See: Kripke, David Lewis. Your answers might get more traction if you dropped the verbiage and wrote more like they do. – possibleWorld Jul 12 '17 at 11:57
  • British puzzle solving might be done that way, but philosophy requires entering the discussion, and the gravitas or burden of that discussion. It's not worth while speaking to childish people who won't make the effort to understand. True, one can't be said to teach if one isn't understood, but who would one aim at instructing but people unworthy of the instruction? – user26700 Jul 12 '17 at 17:42

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