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:
- business corporations and
- the military.
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 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.
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.
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
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 http://www.gutenberg.org 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