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Alexander Voitov - PhD. in Economics,
Faculty of Economics and World Economy
Chair Moscow State University of Rail Engineering

Practical philosophy - the true meaning and perspectives

Science will save Society

Social progress has its own shadowy sides, some that even threaten its very existence. Commercial cooperation does not concern itself morality and thus present a threat of social self-annihilation. More and more people, seeking for a way to save society, are starting to realize this. Even though they have different opinions, as to what will save society in the future. Many are putting their trust in morality. At the same time, there is reason to believe that the commercialization of life is killing the little morality that remains, and mere appeals calling for moral behavior are simply naive. In a market economy, “the winners judge the losers”. We need to find powerful factors, which will help create a righteous way of life and turn morality into the foundation of society. A widespread and long-time hope has been that Science would be the means of social progress.

Science → righteous way of life → morality


The progress of science was considered the basis for social progress. Why then is modern science not fulfilling this function? Because for a long time now, it has been inadequate for the needs of society, it is undergoing a crisis and its 25-century old crucial problem has not been resolved. We need a scientific revolution, which would qualitatively raise the status of science and make it a social ideology. However, scientific progress requires a way of life that is adequate to enable it to flourish, yet the reigning powers in society strive to maintain the status quo, becoming more and more obscurantist. Theological mysticism and esotericism are gradually becoming the dominant ideologies. They are holding back science, hindering its progress and keeping it from becoming the leading ideology of society. This battle with science (obscurantism) threatens the destruction of society. The main reason, that science is inadequate in fulfilling its social mandate, is the interference from the reigning powers of society. They allow scientific development only in areas that are beneficial to them, while destroying all science that threatens them. This applies, above all, to the liberal art, social and economic sciences. Commercial profit gradually becomes the driving force of apologetics, and researchers seek the truth less and less. Moreover, they develop the ideas that distort the perception of reality of social life. Research often breeds obscurantism. The guilt of scientists lies in the fact that there is no adequate scientific progress, and thus science cannot save the society. In the scientific development sphere, there reigns a mafia-like monopolism, which comes out of the practice of appraising scientific researchers. Vivifying ideas exist in society, but these are not recognized by the ruling elites.

Science about Science

Scientific progress implies a qualitative growth in its recognition as a social phenomenon. As long as obsolete interpretations of its essence, meaning, forms, etc. dominate science, these will remain the main reason for its regress. Therefore, we need to start from the recognition of science as a social phenomenon, its form and tendencies, etc. Only then, will we be able to understand its main problem and the direction of its progress. One must overcome the dominant dogma, which says that new knowledge developed by professional researches is the only science that we should recognize. Without belittling their special role in science, it is erroneous to say that only their activities should be considered as science. We need to identify the spiritual heritage of society with regards to science, and those ideas, which truly reflect its essence, forms, tendencies, etc.

The Wisdom of the Poor is Ignored

In Ancient Egypt, people already realized the fact that mind power was the main tool that people possessed, their spiritual world was the main determining factor in leading a successful life - ideas rule the world of people. It was back then that differentiation of people according to their levels of development in the spiritual realm had started, and the words describing such levels appeared - like insanity, stupidity, cleverness, wisdom and reason. At the same time, the acquisition of wisdom became the prerogative of the elites.
Wisdom allows one to resolve problems successfully, and thus becomes the foundation for the appearance of authority power and source of income for the "wise men". This is the way the image of power and wealth, appeared as an attribute of wisdom. Later on, there occurred a revolution in the relationship of these phenomena - cause became the effect and the effect became the cause. Wisdom started being considered as an attribute of the elites. This is the way things are today. In reality it is the opposite - wisdom is least of all inherent in the to-day so called “elites”, yet these “elites” nevertheless disregard the wisdom of the poor, thus becoming the main hindrance to social and scientific progress.
“Elites” do not need the ability to philosophize, while the poor have no possibility to so. But the establishment of philosophizing in people, as the supreme form of wisdom, can only occur they are helped in breaking the vicious circle of commonly heard sayings: “why is he stupid - because he’s poor, and why is he poor - because he's stupid".

Word, Wisdom, Reason and Science

In ancient society, the principal ways in which accumulated information was described by society were the terms "word", "wisdom" and "reason". Only later did the notion of science appear – understanding its existence as being the adoption of ideas on the basis of special activities of older generations. The understanding of the scientific nature of information accumulated by society was achieved in Ancient Greece, when philosophy appeared as a metascience. But even today, the process of establishing metasciences is not over, therefore its inadequate concepts dominate, and therefore obscurantism triumphs, including postmodernism. Metascience cannot ignore the spiritual heritage of society, from which one must take everything that is true. Many originators of science recognized that seeing science itself as a social phenomenon was required for its progress.

Culture, Science, Philosophy

Culture is a way of life in developed communities of living creatures. It is characterized by tolerance, mutual cooperation, imitation, etc. This is where the information appears about the requirements for successful life, which exists in a community, based on imitation of other individuals. Modern researchers describe this information as experience. We may well assume that the ancestors of people - hominids, also lived in modern-type communities common to living creatures, and culture originated among them as well, including information accumulated by their community as a factor for a successful life. The cultural progress of hominids is the reason their communities turned into societies of people. The main factor contributing to such a transformation was the information about the conditions needed for successful life that was accumulated by hominids. The experience of animals is pre-science, and in human society, it is science. Science is an attribute of a society laying in the basis of its progress.
The science of people is distinguished from the pre-science of animals only by its existence not only through imitation, but as a result of purposeful activity of senior generations towards the development of the mind, mentality, erudition, intellect of the younger generations. Understanding of the scientific nature of the information accumulated by society, that is, its existence by virtue of adoption, on the basis of special activities of the senior generations of people, led to the appearance of a classical pedagogical term - learning.

Learn → Teach → Science

Science is the information that is taught to new generations of people. Each generation shall adopt the information accumulated by its ancestors – the experiences of their lives. In general, science is a set of ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, etc., accumulated by the society and adopted by new generations of people as means of life. There is no society without science; the latter is the attribute of the former.
Experience is the original form of science. It appears on the basis of imitation by the younger generations and their upbringing. Experience is the basic form of science. It is determined by the circumstances of life and considerably differs in various natural and climatic conditions. Its volume in the societies of people is not great, and all younger generations adopt it. Its differentiation in communities of people is not essential, appearing mainly due to the level of development of mental abilities of the people. In connection with that, people are divided into sane and insane, distinguishing wise men as the most developed individuals. The first wise men were the healers, witches, wizards and shamans. Experience remains the main form of science in the traditional economies and as the basic form of science for all people.

Doctrinal Science

Development of experience, mutual informational improvement of the representatives of various countries, etc., has resulted in a considerable growth of its volume and thus making it impossible for all of it to be known by every person. Thus the informational specialization of people started. They started to discover more than simple ideas that are necessary for ordinary life. The fragmentary nature of experimental knowledge forced people to seek out the missing links in order to arrive at a new evaluation of reality. That is the way the main form of science today – doctrines – appeared. They were the basis of life in Ancient Egypt and implied existence of specialists concentrated on the formation, understanding, teaching, etc. In Ancient Egypt that was done by priests.
In the Ancient Egyptian society the first division of people appeared – into the rich and the poor, to the dominant and the subordinate. Power and wealth create governments that assert their prerogative to wisdom. The practical meaning of wisdom for the life of society is also comprehended. The understanding of this fact is deemed necessary for understanding science as a whole, for which purposes it is enough to read carefully the writings of Ptahotep and Merikare, the speeches of Ipuwer. In the Ancient Egyptian texts, the word "science” appears for the first time for describing everything which can be adopted by people from the preceding generations.
Doctrinal science created the possibility of hypothetical interpretations of many unobservable phenomena. Not only rational, but irrational hypotheses of the mystics - myths. It became the ideology of the society, especially due to growth of theology, and remains so to this day.

Theoretical Revolution

Wisdom appeared in many ancient societies – China, India, Egypt and others. It was not philosophy, but scientific revolution, which gave birth to doctrinal science. Later there appeared a necessity for a new scientific revolution - the appearance of a theoretical science. The ancient Greeks proclaimed it and introduced the word "theory". Accordingly, they called the means of theorizing of science – the development of philosophy as the science of science. Such genesis of the forms of revolutions at the same time reveals their reverse actuality. The philosophical revolution, which was genetically passed on through the previous, more common processes, becomes their driving force – the beginning of their actualization in the present. Only philosophical revolution allowed us to create a theoretical and thus scientific revolution – turning science into the leading ideology of society. This starts from the recognition of philosophy as a science, its theorization in order for it to become the means of theorization of all other sciences.
Philosophy is the general theory of science. It must show the essence of science, its meaning for society, tendencies, forms, etc. The necessity of this appears only at a certain stage of progress of science during recognition of the relativity and insufficiency of doctrines for the progress of society. Historically that is what occurred in the Ancient Greece when the philosophical revolution started, which is still not over today. Based on it, the theoretical revolution of science must occur. The theory must ensure entire, harmonic, systematic, monistic explanation of all phenomena of reality. The theorization of science will turn it into the leading ideology of the society. But saving classical philosophy of the ancient Greeks as a science of science shall be deemed to be its precondition.

Genesis of Theoretical Philosophy.

Ancient Egyptian society is the cradle of European civilization. People of the surrounding countries, especially Greeks, kept in contact with Ancient Egypt, had their diasporas in it, etc. They preserved the succession of ancient Egyptian culture, including science. They absorbed the doctrinal science of Ancient Egypt and developed it. The main characteristics coming to us from the Ancient Greeks:
– the word "wisdom" was the main description for science.
– they attached due significance to wisdom and teaching of it. In connection with that, sophistry appeared – teaching of wisdom, which resulted in teaching rhetoric.
– they understood the pluralistic nature of doctrinal science and impossibility of its synthesis into a non-contradictory worldview.
– they understood the relevancy of wisdom and impossibility to master it to the full extent. They recognized gods as wise men, and people could only strive for wisdom, love it, etc. That is from where the word “philosophy” originated.
– they recognized the necessity of qualitative breakthrough in science. They strived for consistent, integral, conceptual science, which led to the word theory.
Overall, philosophy as a science was called upon to become a canon and organon in the theorization of science. They started to theorize philosophy itself. First of all, by the development of methods for discussing the truth – dialectics, and then logic. And finally, the scientific miracle appeared at the same time – Euclid's theoretical geometry, which practically demonstrated the possibilities of both philosophy and theoretical science. That was the way the philosophical project of science appeared, remaining its main problem for 2500 years. And only its resolution will save society.
For 25 centuries, philosophy had its high and low points, criticism and praise. Philosophy remains a doctrinal science and shall be theorized as all other sciences. But it differs from other science in that it theorizes only on its own basis. Philosophy is a science of science and what it offers to other sciences must, first of all, occur to philosophy itself. This mission was undertaken by European philosophy of the second millennium. Outside of the textual analysis of their ideas, there is no understanding of philosophy and its modern problems. But the condition of its success is anticipating the theorization of philosophy and mastering the technology of philosophizing. Overall, European philosophy was progressively, cumulatively moving ahead and was serving social progress. Capitalism appeared and establishment of socialism started with its help.

Philosophy and Philodoxy

The claims of the governing “elites” to wisdom, striving of narrow-minded people to hide their spiritual poverty, etc., predetermined the philodoxal degradation of philosophy. The process was complemented by other factors, including the system of information, attestation accreditation, etc. But the main role in killing philosophy was the social mandate of the “elites”, which perceived it as a threat to their status quo.
Philosophical freethinking manifested itself in mutual criticism of its originators, helping to overcome erroneous provisions. And the "dawn of philosophy” lightened the new world. But philosophy is the only instrument for theorization of science; likewise, science is an instrument of social progress. Understanding all that, the “elites” of society saw the danger of a philosophical revolution, and therefore developed a social mandate for killing philosophy as a science of science. Having huge material and administrative resources, they still counteract philosophy, aiming to kill it. This truth was understood by many outstanding people and resulted in ideas to save philosophy as a science of science. The main ideological struggle of modern times started – between philosophy and philodoxy. By the end of the 20th century, philodoxy generally defeated philosophy, thus denuding society of hope for survival and progress.
Philosophy is an instrument of good, while philodoxy is the tool of evil. Philosophy is a means for the progress of science, while philodoxy is a way of killing it - obscurantism. Philosophy is a science of science, while philodoxy joins whatever there is. Philosophy is an objective science, while philodoxy is a subjective verbiage. Philodoxes claim their prerogative to wisdom, reason.
In ancient times, perceiving wisdom as the supreme form of the mind became the justification for wisdom, and then philosophy, attracting philodoxes. That was clearly demonstrated by Plato - “to all, their own ignorance seems as wisdom". That was the reason for the “ill fame" philosophy appearing in all its doctrines. Philodoxes negate the essence of philosophy, blur the certainty of philosophy and conceal its true mission, thus creating the appearance of the absence of an objective, stable, practical, available, etc. theory of philosophy.

Philosophize or Die

The need for philosophy appeared in connection with the necessity to theorize science. It is not necessary for the overwhelming majority of modern professions, but without it, the intellectual progress of society, concerning the interests of all people, is impossible. Today's life requires understanding by people of their modern society, and that is possible only based on the theoretical science to which philosophy is a key. Therefore, a scientific revolution it necessary, whose background factor can be only a revolution in philosophy. The philosophical project of the Ancient Greeks must be completed. Philosophy is necessary to all normal people for successful life and qualitative improvement of their intellect in order for them to comprehend modern society and understand each other, show solidarity, cooperate. Only in this way will society survive in the third millennium.

Functions of Philosophy

Philosophy is a means of theorization of science based on ensuring its universal, practical, illustrative, etc. methodology, epistemology, ontology.
Methodologic function of philosophy implies explanation of the techniques of thinking and understanding the essence of objects. Philosophy determines the ABCs of dialectical thinking, known from the ancient times in the Plato's “Feast”, Euclid’s geometry, systematic of chemical elements and forms of life. K. Ushinsky (1823–1870) used it in children's study guides. And today it is widely used in educational literature. The masterpiece of modern biology - cladism (cladistics) as a universal technology of dialectic thinking has a special meaning. The point is to make it a norm based on explanation of its technology – a system of methods of dialectical logic. Philosophy approved such method of thinking, and more consistently, it is approved by its applied science - dialectical logic.
Epistemological function of philosophy consists in the explanation of the whole set of scientific disciplines, their systematics, in order to determine the limits (function) of each of them during explanation of objects. This is especially true for researchers and pedagogues.
The ontological function of philosophy consists in the approval of universal notions for theoretical (systematic) explanation of the whole reality.

Philosophical Sciences

Philosophy is usually thought of as a single science. At the same time, the number of philosophical sciences has been growing from the ancient times. Philosophy generally explains science and its main functions - methodological, epistemological, ontological. It does not disclose them content-wise, which is the function of applied philosophical sciences, first of all logic – the general theory of thinking. Logic does not exhaust all the knowledge of technology of thinking and implies applied logical disciplines, say, mathematical logics. The system of applied philosophical sciences, including scientometrics, scientology, systematics of sciences, ontology is similar to that.

Philosophical FAQ for Society

Problems are perceived to the extent of their resolution. The theory of philosophy, as a science of science, was generally developed and ensures turning philosophy into the ordinary consciousness of people. The same which mathematics has undergone a thousand years ago – the decimal system made it available to people with common sense – must happen to philosophy. Mathematics became the main science of the second millennium, and philosophy will become the main science of the third millennium.
It is difficult to teach philodoxy – the skills of speaking convincingly and eloquently about everything. While it is easy to teach philosophy, especially propaedeutically similar to mathematics, starting from the first grade. Without telling children about philosophy, they must be taught to describe an object based on their development. That practice has been known from the ancient Greeks. Gradual learning of the skills of such explanation of objects with the perception of all sciences will be the foundation for the gradual explanation of science as a social phenomenon. This shall be done by the representatives of all training courses, and at a certain stage of upbringing of children, philosophers will generalize the thoughts of previous teachers and provide the impetus for the theoretical understanding of the objects of reality.

Gain Wisdom First-hand

The reign of philodoxes turned them into the opponents of philosophy, therefore, the recommendation of Lukian from Samosata remains topical: “avoid them as mad dogs”. Mastering philosophy is possible only with the help of the ideas of its originators. This is neither simple nor labor-intensive – it needs a life under the most favorable conditions for getting involved in science. Our philosophical heritage is huge – no one can comprehend it fully, it is necessary to find the main thing in it to master the technology of philosophizing. Plato’s "Feast” can be deemed to be the pattern of theoretical explanation. Understanding its composition allows us apply it to understanding of other objects. It is better when the dichotomy model of Porphyrius, lying in the basis of "Feast", is used. One can go further - use the technology of cladistics of paleontology, which more meaningful, disclosing the explanation of objects based on their development. Of course, modern pedagogy explains topicality of teaching materials as the optimal means of gaining knowledge. The prepared teaching materials in philosophy allows easy and quick mastering of the technology of philosophizing.

A Self-Teaching Guide to Philosophizing, Teaching Material

Economics is one of the most complex and topical social sciences. It is reasonable to state that it is connected with philosophy closer that other sciences. Many outstanding economists were philosophers or leaned on philosophy. Economics cannot be understood without philosophy, and the current crisis in economic science is the result of their principle "we'll do without philosophy". Nevertheless, many economists research philosophy. Based on such tradition, they try to turn philosophy into the best instrument of labor and the sharpest weapon in their profession. During a half a century, I have found all that is necessary from the originators of philosophy and synthesized it into the theory of philosophy and a complex of training materials, which allows for easy and quick mastering of the technology of philosophizing and use them pragmatically both in a profession and in everyday life (sorit.ru). As a result, there appears the possibility of performing the long proclaimed transition from the school of knowledge to the school of thinking, capabilities (competencies).
Philosophizing will become the grounds for the growth of professionalism, especially in researchers and pedagogues. It will increase the meaning of theoretical science in society. It will insure theoretical nature of people's ideology and make their cooperation and commonwealth easier, thus finally leading to the victory of the moral way of life... This way is not quick, but its beginning lies only in overcoming philosophical illiteracy of the society.

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