/uy'dee ol"euh jee, id'ee-/, n., pl. ideologies.1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.3. Philos.a. the study of the nature and origin of ideas.b. a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.4. theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.[1790-1800; IDEO- + -LOGY; cf. F idéologie]
* * *Form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones.The term was coined in 1796 by the French writer Antoine-Louis-Claude, Comte Destutt de Tracy (b. 1754d. 1836), as a label for his "science of ideas." Certain characteristics of his thought proved generally true of ideologies, including a more or less comprehensive theory of society, a political program, anticipation of a struggle to implement that program (thus requiring committed followers), and intellectual leadership. Destutt de Tracy's ideas were adopted by the French Revolutionary government in building its version of a democratic, rational, and scientific society (see Directory). Napoleon first gave the term a negative connotation with his scorn for what he called idéologues. Ideology is often contrasted unfavourably with pragmatism. The significance of ideology follows from the fact that power is rarely exercised without some ideas or beliefs that justify support.
* * *▪ philosophical movementFrench Idéologie,French philosophic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries that reduced epistemological problems (concerning the nature or grounds of knowledge) to those of psychology (as in the work of Étienne Condillac (Condillac, Étienne Bonnot de)), before advancing to ethical and political problems. The Idéologues, by analysis of ideas, viewed the simple sensory elements of Condillac's sensationalism as generating, by successive composition, the totality of the psychic and spiritual sentiments and, finally, of the social, moral, and political sentiments as well. Named by Destutt de Tracy (Destutt de Tracy, Antoine-Louis-Claude, Comte), the movement had as active members the Marquis de Condorcet (Condorcet, Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de), Maine de Biran (Maine de Biran, Marie-François-Pierre), and Pierre-Jean-Georges Cabanis (Cabanis, Pierre-Jean-Georges).
* * *