Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Ideology, Rationality, and Revolution: An Essay on the Persistence of Oppression
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This essay is concerned with two explanations of why oppressive social orders persist. According to the first, the so-called gunman theory of oppression (GT), these social orders persist because the oppressed are afraid being punished if they participated in a revolt. According to the second, the so-called ideology theory of oppression (IT), oppression persists because the oppressed are subject to ideology. Traditionally, the former has been associated with rational choice theory, and the latter with Marxism and critical theory. Analytical philosophers have been suspicious of IT since it involves functional claims. This essay shows that it is possible to make sense of both IT and its associated functional claim within the framework of rational choice theory. Chapter one provides an overview of the discussion and a presentation of the general argument against IT. Chapter two specifies the explanandum for the two theories in more detail. The chapter concludes with a description of three real-life persistent oppressive social orders. In chapter three, the basics of rational choice theory are introduced and GT spelled out. Some problems for the theory are identified and then dealt with. It is concluded that GT does a good job at explaining the persistence of tyrannies. Chapter four argues that ideology is necessary to provide satisfactory explanations of the other two cases of oppression described in chapter two. The chapter concludes with a specification of IT where the functional claim is made explicit. Chapter five defends Gerald Cohen's account of functional explanations against a dilemma formulated by Ann Cudd. In chapter six, three mechanisms are provided that indicate how the functional claim of IT can be demystified. Chapter seven concludes by indicating a statistical method for testing IT and describing some policy implications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University , 2012. , 176 p.
Keyword [en]
Oppression, ideology, revolution, rational choice theory, analytical Marxism, functional explanations, Gerald Cohen, Gordon Tullock
National Category
Research subject
Practical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76372ISBN: 978-91-7447-532-6OAI: diva2:526422
Public defence
2012-06-16, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Swedish Research Council, 2006-1853
Available from: 2012-05-24 Created: 2012-05-11 Last updated: 2012-05-25Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(926 kB)655 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 926 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Olsson-Yaouzis, Nicolas
By organisation
Department of Philosophy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 655 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 822 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link