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False Consciousness$
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Denise Meyerson

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248194.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
False Consciousness

Denise Meyerson

Oxford University Press

Marx has not treated systematically the concept of ideology and ‘false consciousness’, which was a term her never used, even if he certainly described the phenomenon to which Engel gave the name. However, Marx's thoughts are scattered through his various texts which even the Marxists agreed appear to be inconsistent. This chapter aims to extract those themes and to explain the philosophical questions they raised. It is said that certain deep kinds of irrationality are possible. People are not necessarily the best judge of their interests. They can make motivated mistakes about their characters. Beliefs can be tenacious and held against the weight of what is taken to be good evidence. This thinking should appeal to other political groupings who believe that vested interests can play a role in explaining beliefs and that forces like conditioning can get in the way of and frustrate a true perception of interests.

Keywords:   Marx, ideology, false consciousness, Engel, irrationality, interests, characters, beliefs, conditioning

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