FOUR DEPARTMENTS: PHILOSOPHY
Given that science and ideology are two main departments of
disciplinary thought, what is, then, the position
of philosophy and the arts insofar as they belong to the domain of thought?
The special nature of the arts seems to be less problematic than that of
tho what is called "art"
may vary from the standard rime royals of a poet laureate to the
exceptional marvels of a painter in whose work no-one was interested
If we include attempts to do so, 'art' is somehow the purposeful
creation or expression of particular feelings by means of
material effects in a nonpersonal medium (or a medium which is
in principle freely accessible to everyone). These material
effects may range from sound waves in air to relief patterns in
concrete slabs, from the constant utterance of one and the same
word to an ever-changing palette of colors in a visual display.
One may disagree about the claim that a work of art has to be
the result of an intentional activity, but it is a plain mistake
to maintain that art must create or express beauty or must
produce esthetic objects. It may be true that the artist often,
or usually, tries to create an object which is as nice and
pleasing as possible, and that we prefer
'im to do that, yet
this is not a necessity. 'Er aim may also be, for example, to
create the feelings one has when visiting a particular (kind of)
place (a sense of its atmosphere) or when meeting a particular
(kind of) person. These feelings, if not neutral, may be either
pleasant or unpleasant, and a good artist creates a feeling of
ugliness in the reader, spectator, listener or other person
confronted with 'er work when the thing
'e wants to portray
'happens to be' not beautiful but ugly. Similarly, a good artist
does not only know how to portray a good character (whatever
that may be) but also how to portray a bad one.
This is why the conscious use of skill, and not only of taste, is
important in art too.
When an artist expresses 'er own particular feelings in a
work of art, or endeavors to create the same feelings in others,
'e may do so for ideological or other nonartistic reasons.
Within the scope of the arts, however, the creation of certain
feelings (rather than thoughts) is an end in itself. This is
what distinguishes art from ideology where the creation or
expression of certain feelings is an instrument to serve
the end or ends of the whole doctrine. One of these ends may be, for
example, the promotion of beauty itself, but this, again, is a
mere contingence so far as the concept of ideology is concerned
(except, perhaps, in those cases where the word for what is nice
is the same as the word for what is red).
Philosophy (in the sense used here) does not encompass the
creation or expression of particular feelings but of thoughts.
This does identify philosophy as distinct from art, altho many a
writer may (have) be(en) involved in a creative process which
is or was at once philosophical and artistic, that is, literary.
It does not yet identify philosophical as distinct from ideological
or scientific disciplinary thought. However, the relationship
between philosophy and ideology is in a way similar to that
between art and ideology.
Just as artistic feelings are an end for the arts but (also) a means for
ideology, so is philosophical thought an end for philosophy but (also) a
means for ideology.
To put it roughly: in art it is the quality of feeling which matters, in
philosophy it is the quality of thought which matters, but in ideology it
is the quality of the world which matters.
The prime business of the arts, of philosophy and of science is to
experience, to reflect on and to understand the state of the world as it
is, can be or should be; the prime business of ideology is not to change it
—as has been argued— but to leave it as it is insofar as it is
good, and to improve it insofar as it is bad.
There is now one barrier left to negotiate, namely the distinction between
philosophy and science.
Of these two philosophy has been defined as thought about
thought, yet even disciplinary thought about thought need not be
philosophical — it could be sociological or linguistic.
But then, philosophy has been said to rely 'more or less exclusively on
reasoning to justify its claims' rather than on observation, quantification
and experience. The scientist's business is to systematically
organize regularities between events and possibilities into a
body of knowledge on the basis of which predictions can be made.
The last thing is controversial, but ideally science can explain
what it can predict and predict what it can explain.
A philosopher, on the other hand, speculates about regularities and
irregularities between events, possibilities and values without attempting
to prove anything by observation or quantification in the
ground-world, and —what seems to
be the main occupation of most philosophers— 'e speculates about
regularities and irregularities in other people's (usually other
Of course, also scientists speculate, but not necessarily as scientists.
If so, then to determine what they have observed or quantified, or what
they are going to, or ought to, investigate.
We should now have a general idea of the meanings of the
concepts of 'ideology', 'art', 'philosophy' and 'science' as they will be
used in this Model. The
characteristics given may not be precise and are, perhaps, incorrect in a
certain respect or to a certain degree, even from a systematic point of
But fortunately, we do not need an entirely accurate description (if
existing at all) of these four departments of disciplinary thought, since
practise all of them
Intellectual undertakings do not consist of isolated thoughts, and it
was mentioned already that an intellectual undertaking may be at
once philosophical and artistic. Similarly, it may be at once
scientific and ideological, scientific and philosophical, and so
on. There are common grounds between all departments of disciplinary
thought, some wider than others. We may assume the
overlap between science and art to be the smallest, the one
between philosophy and ideology the largest. Yet, for all
departments there are intellectual activities which are unmistakably
on this or on the other side of the fuzzy border, for
example, statements which are indubitably religious or otherwise
ideological instead of scientific, or statements which are
indubitably literary instead of philosophical. This general
state of 'disciplinary affairs' is schematically represented in
There is not one science, not one philosophy, not one
ideology and not one art, there are many different (departmental)
sciences, philosophies, ideologies and forms of art. Since
our ultimate intellectual concern will be the development of a
denominational doctrine in this Model, it is
especially the category of
comprehensive ideologies which demands our
The subdivision of these ideologies into religious and nonreligious, theist
and nontheist ones, for instance, will be the subject of the
But all ideology is
normative and employs a more
or less artistic symbolism (however vehemently we may reject the norms and
values propagated, and however distasteful we may find the symbols used).
To make sure that our own ideological thought will satisfy the minimum
requirements of valid normative reasoning (and preferably the highest
requirements) we must be familiar with the
elements of normative philosophy in particular,
that is, the instruments of thought this branch of philosophy, which
especially deals with norms and values, has to offer us.
The following chapters of this book are therefore dedicated to the
normative-philosophical issues which will have the strongest bearing on
our own ideological position.
It is in the Book of Symbols that we will
return to the role the arts play, or may play, in the symbolic enrichment
and social acceptance of a new paradigm in denominational thought.