Hopefully, peace; whereas Public opinion is Philosophy


At first sight, Public Opinion seems in the field of Sociology, but what is Sociology, and from where does it is originated? Then I question, is that completely true? In other words, does Public Opinion belong only to Sociology? Or it is in a certain manner also into the field of Philosophy? Let us see these questions and let us try to understand if Public Opinion exists without social structures such as states, federations, and democracy.

Philosophy is the main field from which Sociology originated to become an independent subject in respect of Philosophy, and that is actually what happened to any other science not only to Sociology (back in times everything was a belongs of Philosophy, i.e. Pitagora was a “Philosopher of Math”, Talete was a “Physicist of Philosophy”) but sometimes it is a piece of good advice to back to the main field and try to understand a problem that seems incomprehensible or solvable only in an immoral manner.

Nowadays in a period during which during important conferences the mighty refers to the fact that after the pandemic the elite became stronger and stronger because they trust each other all over the world, let us see what is the elite, and which is the problem with that, then please come with me to the Philosophy field and let us thinking among public opinion.

Have you ever spent some on The Critic of Pure Reason, before? Did you hear of Charles Wright Mills? Robert Dahl is one of your main readings recently? It may be useful to get why civilization is under the attack of darkness.

What is the elite?

The American sociologist with a strong inclination towards Marxism, Charles Wright Mills, identifies the existence in the US of a power elite that concerns three areas:

  • government,
  • business corporations and
  • the military.

Charles Wright Mills (1916-1962) American sociologist and professor of Sociology at Columbia University from 1946.

The top people in these areas were in a position to make fundamental and far-reaching decisions but the point stressed by Mills is the fact that they act as a unified and relatively coherent group.

penetration of each elite area by individuals from other areas

The coherence arose from penetration of each elite area by individuals from other areas; those who sit in the seats of the high and the mighty are selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, the mechanics of celebrity which prevail in their society.

They are neither men selected and formed by a civil service that is linked with the world of knowledge and sensibility nor men shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues the nation unintelligently confronts.

They are not men held in responsible check by a plurality of voluntary associations which connect debating publics with the pinnacle of decision; within the American system of organized irresponsibility commanders of power unequally in human history have succeeded. 

and the problem

From Mills’s view, civilization is not under attack from the ignorant masses but rather democracy is under threat from an immoral and uncultured elite.

Nowadays the choice of these top people is not made under meritocracy; skills, competence, and expertise in a specific field are not what it counts, they are chosen under some other criteria; sadly the goal is not welfare, advancement, and truth but the submission of people considered powerless, then dissident or consenting, period.

If at the time of Charles Wright Mills democracy was under threat from an immoral and uncultured elite, now, sixty years later considering all those youthful transnational executives and their creepy bosses, I re-modulate Mills’s point as follows: civilization is in danger.

Other philosophers talking

Robert Dahl

Robert Dahl has called polyarchy the so-called democratic elitism, considering the recognized existence of the elites as compatible with democracy and suggesting that the masses were not effectively powerless. 

Robert Alan Dahl (1915-2014), American political theorist, sterling professor of Political Science at Yale University.


My researches among public opinion in Philosophy

The Philosophical research I am doing links Public opinion to Kantian Criticism or at least to a part of it.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Prussian philosopher, his contribute to metaphysic, epistemiology aesthetic and ethic have made him one of the most influential figure in Western philosophy.

From the moment Social science increased autonomy within Philosophy to the one it will no longer be considered part of it at all, there is something to do, something to research, something to study during this lack of time.

So to anybody who believes Social science is already absolutely alien to Philosophy, please consider first his opinion or be aware, you may change your mind before the end of this work.

Let me speak up my mind now; social science is built on concepts and concepts should be used only insofar as they help to clarify thinking; they should be precise and their meaning should be agreed upon.

They should refer to something that can be studied or analyzed, we should be able to relate them to each other, but concept and thinking are what belong to Philosophy.

Kantian Criticism is useful in order to rationalize concepts and thinking and that is it; I will show you parts of it.

I will collect some appropriate parts as tools for any reader that will be able to freely think on some concepts and on some kinds of thinking. 

In the Sociological field, a common problem that arises when comparing one piece of research with another is that different sociologists have operationalized the same concept in different ways, the same happens in the philosophical field.

Otherwise, since concepts are abstract they must be operationalized for research purposes; for example, the temperature is a concept and thermometers give a quantitative measure of it, usually rating the expansion of the metal inside the thermometer.

The concept is thus operationalized and quantified; for example occupation, social class, ethnic origin, and so on are something more concrete to classify and count qualities wrapped up in a concept and -as the second stage- in a model.

Models are the second stage in theory building; these are tentative descriptions of the relations between the phenomena we are studying.

They are not right and wrong nor are they attempting to describe things as they really are; rather they aim to link concepts and evidence into a pattern that will throw light on reality. 

Kantian Criticism may be used as a mental gym to see one side and the dark side of concepts; have you ever read i.e. the chapther so called “Der Antinomie der reinen Vernunft, Dritter Widerstreit der transzendentalen Ideen”? 

From the Critique of Pure Reason


Causality according to the laws of nature, is not the only causality operating to originate the phenomena of the world. A causality of freedom is also necessary to account fully for these phenomena.


Let it be supposed, that there is no other kind of causality than that according to the laws of nature. Consequently, everything that happens presupposes a previous condition, which it follows with absolute certainty, in conformity with a rule. But this previous condition must itself be something that has happened (that has arisen in time, as it did not exist before), for, if it has always been in existence, its consequence or effect would not thus originate for the first time, but would likewise have always existed. The causality, therefore, of a cause, whereby something happens, is itself a thing that has happened. Now this again presupposes, in conformity with the law of nature, a previous condition and its causality, and this another anterior to the former, and so on. If, then, everything happens solely in accordance with the laws of nature, there cannot be any real first beginning of things, but only a subaltern or comparative beginning. There cannot, therefore, be a completeness of series on the side of the causes which originate the one from the other. But the law of nature is that nothing can happen without a sufficient à priori determined cause. The proposition therefore—if all causality is possible only in accordance with the laws of nature—is, when stated in this unlimited and general manner, self-contradictory. It follows that this cannot be the only kind of causality.

From what has been said, it follows that a causality must be admitted, by means of which something happens, without its cause being determined according to necessary laws by some other cause preceding. That is to say, there must exist an absolute spontaneity of cause, which of itself originates a series of phenomena which proceeds according to natural laws—consequently transcendental freedom, without which even in the course of nature the succession of phenomena on the side of causes is never complete.


There is no such thing as freedom, but everything in the world happens solely according to the laws of nature.


Granted, that there does exist freedom in the transcendental sense, as a peculiar kind of causality, operating to produce events in the world—a faculty, that is to say, of originating a state, and consequently a series of consequences from that state. In this case, not only the series originated by this spontaneity, but the determination of this spontaneity itself to the production of the series, that is to say, the causality itself must have an absolute commencement, such that nothing can precede to determine this action according to unvarying laws. But every beginning of action presupposes in the acting cause a state of inaction; and a dynamically primal beginning of action presupposes a state, which has no connection—as regards causality—with the preceding state of the cause—which does not, that is, in any wise result from it. Transcendental freedom is therefore opposed to the natural law of cause and effect, and such a conjunction of successive states in effective causes is destructive of the possibility of unity in experience and for that reason not to be found in experience—is consequently a mere fiction of thought.

We have, therefore, nothing but nature to which we must look for connection and order in cosmical events. Freedom—independence of the laws of nature—is certainly a deliverance from restraint, but it is also a relinquishing of the guidance of law and rule. For it cannot be alleged that, instead of the laws of nature, laws of freedom may be introduced into the causality of the course of nature. For, if freedom were determined according to laws, it would be no longer freedom, but merely nature. Nature, therefore, and transcendental freedom are distinguishable as conformity to law and lawlessness. The former imposes upon understanding the difficulty of seeking the origin of events ever higher and higher in the series of causes, inasmuch as causality is always conditioned thereby; while it compensates this labour by the guarantee of a unity complete and in conformity with law. The latter, on the contrary, holds out to the understanding the promise of a point of rest in the chain of causes, by conducting it to an unconditioned causality, which professes to have the power of spontaneous origination, but which, in its own utter blindness, deprives it of the guidance of rules, by which alone a completely connected experience is possible.


The transcendental idea of freedom is far from constituting the entire content of the psychological conception so termed, which is for the most part empirical. It merely presents us with the conception of spontaneity of action, as the proper ground for imputing freedom to the cause of a certain class of objects. It is, however, the true stumbling-stone to philosophy, which meets with unconquerable difficulties in the way of its admitting this kind of unconditioned causality. That element in the question of the freedom of the will, which has for so long a time placed speculative reason in such perplexity, is properly only transcendental, and concerns the question, whether there must be held to exist a faculty of spontaneous origination of a series of successive things or states. How such a faculty is possible is not a necessary inquiry; for in the case of natural causality itself, we are obliged to content ourselves with the à priori knowledge that such a causality must be presupposed, although we are quite incapable of comprehending how the being of one thing is possible through the being of another, but must for this information look entirely to experience. Now we have demonstrated this necessity of a free first beginning of a series of phenomena, only in so far as it is required for the comprehension of an origin of the world, all following states being regarded as a succession according to laws of nature alone. But, as there has thus been proved the existence of a faculty which can of itself originate a series in time—although we are unable to explain how it can exist—we feel ourselves authorized to admit, even in the midst of the natural course of events, a beginning, as regards causality, of different successions of phenomena, and at the same time to attribute to all substances a faculty of free action. But we ought in this case not to allow ourselves to fall into a common misunderstanding, and to suppose that, because a successive series in the world can only have a comparatively first beginning—another state or condition of things always preceding—an absolutely first beginning of a series in the course of nature is impossible. For we are not speaking here of an absolutely first beginning in relation to time, but as regards causality alone. When, for example, I, completely of my own free will, and independently of the necessarily determinative influence of natural causes, rise from my chair, there commences with this event, including its material consequences in infinitum, an absolutely new series; although, in relation to time, this event is merely the continuation of a preceding series. For this resolution and act of mine do not form part of the succession of effects in nature, and are not mere continuations of it; on the contrary, the determining causes of nature cease to operate in reference to this event, which certainly succeeds the acts of nature, but does not proceed from them. For these reasons, the action of a free agent must be termed, in regard to causality, if not in relation to time, an absolutely primal beginning of a series of phenomena.

The justification of this need of reason to rest upon a free act as the first beginning of the series of natural causes is evident from the fact, that all philosophers of antiquity (with the exception of the Epicurean school) felt themselves obliged, when constructing a theory of the motions of the universe, to accept a prime mover, that is, a freely acting cause, which spontaneously and prior to all other causes evolved this series of states. They always felt the need of going beyond mere nature, for the purpose of making a first beginning comprehensible.


The assertor of the all-sufficiency of nature in regard to causality (transcendental Physiocracy), in opposition to the doctrine of freedom, would defend his view of the question somewhat in the following manner. He would say, in answer to the sophistical arguments of the opposite party: If you do not accept a mathematical first, in relation to time, you have no need to seek a dynamical first, in regard to causality. Who compelled you to imagine an absolutely primal condition of the world, and therewith an absolute beginning of the gradually progressing successions of phenomena—and, as some foundation for this fancy of yours, to set bounds to unlimited nature? Inasmuch as the substances in the world have always existed—at least the unity of experience renders such a supposition quite necessary—there is no difficulty in believing also, that the changes in the conditions of these substances have always existed; and, consequently, that a first beginning, mathematical or dynamical, is by no means required. The possibility of such an infinite derivation, without any initial member from which all the others result, is certainly quite incomprehensible. But, if you are rash enough to deny the enigmatical secrets of nature for this reason, you will find yourselves obliged to deny also the existence of many fundamental properties of natural objects (such as fundamental forces), which you can just as little comprehend; and even the possibility of so simple a conception as that of change must present to you insuperable difficulties. For if experience did not teach you that it was real, you never could conceive à priori the possibility of this ceaseless sequence of being and non-being.

But if the existence of a transcendental faculty of freedom is granted—a faculty of originating changes in the world—this faculty must at least exist out of and apart from the world; although it is certainly a bold assumption, that, over and above the complete content of all possible intuitions, there still exists an object which cannot be presented in any possible perception. But, to attribute to substances in the world itself such a faculty, is quite inadmissible; for, in this case; the connection of phenomena reciprocally determining and determined according to general laws, which is termed nature, and along with it the criteria of empirical truth, which enable us to distinguish experience from mere visionary dreaming, would almost entirely disappear. In proximity with such a lawless faculty of freedom, a system of nature is hardly cogitable; for the laws of the latter would be continually subject to the intrusive influences of the former, and the course of phenomena, which would otherwise proceed regularly and uniformly, would become thereby confused and disconnected.

Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason.

I suggest, my readers, read this part from the Critique of Pure reason all in your own language, transcription in English of Critique of Pure Reason is online at as I linked before; in an easier manner I would link you, insiders, to KRV from A444/B473 to A455/B484 to read the part you see glued by me upper; I will consider any question on this part but -considering the problem underlined before- I would stress this rhetorical couple:.

May be possible that freedom and free will in Public opinion is part of the count of civilization and that anybody must respect that? And why a lack of Freedom is the ground of every war from the beginning of time to nowaday?.

The article is being updated.

by Elettra Nicodemi

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