I am new to this site, it will be really helpful if you can help me with tags.

I live in an area which is a socially, morally and intellectually very backward part of the world, although materially it is average.

I am interested in Philosophy and I have read few works of Zizek, Sartre and Michel Foucault and some gaints of my own country although my major is STEM.

I have observed that my region of the country has extreme power politics, relations and friendships only based on power and money, consolidation of land and administrative jobs by dominant groups with absolute ruthlessness, endogamy (lovers from two different ethnic groups are killed despite it is illegal to do so), affinity to ethnic groups and family (families are large) instead of rule of law, corruption but simultaneous boasting of patriotism, moral policing, extreme verbal and physical violence, killing of girl child, absolute nepotism in policymaking rather than doing the fair thing, still dominant groups doing preaching patriotism.

Under what topics in philosophy do these things come? Which philosophers have worked on these issues that would have transferable insights relevant to my place and time? ( So, that I can think of their works with respect to my own region of the country)

I think study of societies and assumptions of good and bad society, corruption, might be the area but I am still very confused.

Kindly let me know!

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    Relevant answer: 'Relation of dialectics, as of Hegel and Marx, toward Enlightenment liberalism' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/91665/…
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 19:09
  • @CriglCragl Thank you very much!
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 16:53
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    While moral and political philosophy from Plato through Hobbes would be relevant, it sounds like you lean towards the sociological. Hegel and Marx would indeed be mainstays here, but I would also highly recommend a book called "Hegel for Social Movements," by Andy Blunden, which I believe is also in an audio version. You might also like some of the political works in liberal pragmatism by Richard Rorty. Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 22:41
  • @Nelson Thank you very much!
    – Ben
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


Two key starting points:

Sociology was a branch of philosophy when Hegel revived the ancient Greek conception of dialectics. It is now a science.

THAT societies operate under a principle of dialectics is -- disputed.

Hegel's dialectic thinking was adopted by two early branches of sociology

Structuralism started with Hegel's dialectics, applied them to language, and then generalized these principles to be key aspects of our world. Structuralism found its greatest application in sociology. Here is a summary: https://www.philosophybasics.com/movements_structuralism.html

Structuralism is still an active movement in sociology, although not one of the dominant movements today: https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/63/4/1085/2231623

Karl Marx adopted Hegel's dialectic, but rejected that there is a Idealist basis for it. He instead proposed a Dialectic Materialism: https://www.wondriumdaily.com/a-dialectic-view-of-social-development-hegel-and-marx/ https://abhipedia.abhimanu.com/Article/sociology/MTAwMzU1/Laws-of-Dialectics--Paper--I---Fundamentals-Of-Sociology-sociology

Structuralism suffered setbacks when structuralists applied their structural analysis to structuralism itself, and found that their assumed universal principles were embedded in their methodology. Marxism also suffered setbacks when workers utopias did not appear as deterministically predicted. Post-structuralism, now called post modernism, rejected both movement's assumptions of an objective reality, and fuzed them into a new subjectivist worldview, which continued to feature dialectics. Here is an example: https://nonsite.org/max-horkheimer-and-the-sociology-of-class-relations/

Refutation-based science may throw cold water on dialectics

Hegel, Marx, and the Structuralists all were operating under a Humean view of science, where one seeks out confirmations of a theory. Confirmations tend to lead to confirmation bias. Karl Popper transformed science to instead focus on falsifications.

Note the Structuralist movement was seriously harmed when its presumption of universal laws of the universe being revealed by its methods was found to be circular logic. This was a "refuting test case" and led to widescale abandonment of structuralism.

Also note Horkheimer's Marxist prediction in the linked essay of a continual and inevitable drop in worker welfare, which did not happen during the 20th century. Instead, workers for most of the 20th century experienced a significant and sustained increase in relative welfare. That, plus the failure of Marxist economics everywhere they were applied, led to a drastic drop in the appeal of and adoption of Marxism.

The post modernists reject the concept of objective testability, which makes their theory and predictions immune to testing, and in Popperian science terms -- "not even wrong" (a far worse status than a falsified theory).

Doing sociology scientifically, rather than with a dialectic-based dogma, does not tend to reveal dialectics as a significant feature of sociology. Here is a reference for how to do sociology with an empirical rather than dogma focus: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/books/review/the-better-angels-of-our-nature-by-steven-pinker-book-review.html

Dialectics has found its way into psychology, and this plausibly could be why so may early sociologists latched onto its postulates. If we are geared to think dialectically, then we are likely to see dialectics when we want to confirm it. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9235839/


Dialectics was found to be very useful for three major movements in sociology, and at least one in psychology. The counter "scientific" view may be too negative. This background, and links, should just be a jumping off point for you to dig into this area yourself.

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    This is a very good answer, but I can't resist a couple of peeves. First while Popper certainly made an invaluable distinction, Quine, Kuhn, and others have also pointed out problems with "falsifiability." Second, while it is debatable that Russia, China, and others implemented "Marxism," we should remember that for all their grim faults their economies did raise more people out of poverty faster than at any other period of human history. Third, Pickety and others have indicated a "relative" decline in workers' share of wealth overall, interrupted by WWII. Just dialectical grey areas. Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 19:00
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    @NelsonAlexander Good caveats. Both philosophy and our world are more complex than simple stories imply. Popper’s falsifiability is a huge improvement over confirmation but IT has been falsified. It is an excellent first approximation and shorthand to science but Latakos’ Research Programs are a better 2nd approximation. And yes communist regimes corrected the market’s chronic underinvestment in infrastructure, education, and medical care and this boosted those nations for decades before weak tech growth and micro inefficiency led to their stagnation.
    – Dcleve
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 22:44
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    Likewise the rise in western worker welfare ended in the 1970s then reversed. Worldwide though we see a slight rise in the 21st century due to BRICs workers. Yes all of these are more complex stories BUT the predictions of Marxist sociology and economics are very clearly not coming true.
    – Dcleve
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 22:50
  • Yup agree. Would like to think a decent socialism has not been falsified...yet. But I'm not actually such a rosy optimist. As they used to say "Socialism or Barbarism." Looking more like the latter these days... Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 3:41
  • @NelsonAlexander -- the premise of The End of history was that societies were converging on a mixed regulated economy. Not socialism, but not market free for all either. 3rd way liberal/social democracy with somewhere between 25-45% government actor ship in the economy.
    – Dcleve
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 4:18

I think slowly reading (or listening on audiobook) to some of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels could be a good start. They have such deeply flawed characters in a troubled society. You may be able to draw parallels with what you see around you. The novels explore it from an individual standpoint first, rather than making society wide pronouncements as some, especially leftist, philosophers tend to do.

I wouldn't look to the novels for providing direct answers but rather, for slowly exploring dark themes while telling a story.

The Underground Man is quite short and probably a good place to start.

I just finished The Brothers Karamazov, it's a journey but really a masterpiece.

I'd also recommend Charles Dickens, his stories take place in a similarly troubled society.

So far I've only read Oliver Twist, but it is really excellent and I've heard great things about his other books.

Beware of simple answers, read broadly and enjoy your journey!

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