Ideology and Philosophy


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

The Transformation of Modern Thought – Philosophy, psychoanalysis, culture

Course code: 84

Year of study: Not specified

Course principal:
Assoc. Prof. Jan Völker, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective 

Languages: Slovene, English

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, seminars, discussion classes 

Objectives and competences

Ideology is a classical subject of political theory, and it might be said that ideology never made it to be introduced as a proper philosophical concept. But at the same time, ideology has always stirred up the philosophical thoughts about politics as well as about the phenomenological reality as such. Ideology then is a concept, the place of which is as unsecure as its content difficult to grasp. The aim of this course is to reconsider ideology in its relation to philosophy, and to reconsider its validity as a philosophical concept that defines a structural moment in the reality of thought.

The source of this problematic can be found in the early Marx: Here, ideology designates a material development of a society that finally leads into the production of false ideas – thus ideology then refers to false ideas that are upheld for other reasons, but this development itself can be explained in material, economic terms. Subsequently, philosophy becomes for the early Marx one of the main targets of a new critical materialism. But already in the early Marx, the problem of a critique of ideology is complicated: For the material facts that are called for by this critique are not simply different facts, they rather present a different structure of the given reality. Thus, the critique in its first essential trait is an intervention into the discourse about the given reality: Into the question of ‘what is?’ This difficulty marks all the relevant relations that structure the framework of ideology – the notions of science, of the state, of the subject, and of philosophy – and makes it necessary to rethink them in the consequence of the split induced by ideology.

The aim of the course is to analyze this relation between philosophy and ideology in all its implications and consequences. We will follow a historical line in the debate on ideology, and we will link this debate to the psychoanalytical restructuring of the subject, as it parallels the restructuring of the question of truth in the discourse on ideology. Finally we will attempt to understand which use the notion and the concept of ideology can have under the present equality of discourses in the realm of democracy.   



None required.


Content (Syllabus outline)

  • The Marxian Field
  • Ideology and Illusion
  • Critique and Method
  • Fetishism
  • Materialism of the relation
  • Ideological State Apparatuses
  • Frankfurt School
  • The Psychoanalytic Field
  • Imaginary Scenes
  • Science and Truth
  • Encore
  • Reality of Idealism
  • The Logic of Essence
  • The State
  • The Transcendental Displacement
  • Democracy and Capitalism
  • General Equivalences
  • Democracy and the State
  • Absence of Ideology, Presence of Ideology
  • Meaning of Truth



  • Theodor W. Adorno / Max Horkheimer 2002: Dialectic of Enlightenment, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Louis Althusser 2011: Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.
  • Louis Althusser 2014: On the Reproduction of Captalism. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, London / New York, NY: Verso.
  • Louis Althusser 2016: Reading Capital: The Complete Edition, London / New York: Verso.
  • Alain Badiou, Francois Balmès 1976: De l’idéologie, Paris: Maspero.
  • Alain Badiou 2005: Being and Event, London / New York, NY: Continuum.
  • Alain Badiou 2008: Conditions, London / New York, NY: Continuum.
  • Alain Badiou 2009: Logics of Worlds, Being and Event 2, London / New York, NY: Continuum.
  • Alain Badiou 2011, “The Democratic Emblem”, in: Agamben et al., Democracy in What State? New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
  • Etienne Balibar 1995: The Philosophy of Marx, London / New York, NY: Verso.
  • Jürgen Habermas 1971: “Technology and Science as ‘Ideology’,” in: Jürgen Habermas: Towards a Rational Society. Student Protest, Science, and Politics, London: Heinemann.
  • G.W.F. Hegel 1991: Element of the Philosophy of Right, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • G.W.F. Hegel 2010: The Science of Logics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Immanuel Kant 1998: Critique of Pure Reason, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jacques Lacan 1991: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge (Encore) (Vol. Book XX), New York, NY / London: Norton.
  • Jacques Lacan 2007: Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English, New York, NY / London: Norton.
  • Octave Mannoni 1969: Clefs pour l’Imaginaire ou L’Autre Scène, Paris: Seuil.
  • Herbert Marcuse 2007: One-Dimensional Man. Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society, London / New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Karl Marx 1992: Early Writings, London: Penguin.
  • Karl Marx 1973: Grundrisse, London: Penguin.
  • Karl Marx 1976: Capital. A Critique of Political Economy. Vol. 1, London: Penguin.
  • Slavoj Žižek 1989: The Sublime Object of Ideology. London / New York, NY: Verso.
  • Slavoj Žižek 1993: Tarrying with the Negative. Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology, Duke University Press.
  • Alenka Zupančič 2008: The Odd One In. On Comedy, Cambridge, MA / London: MIT Press..



  • Active participation in lecture and discussion classes.
  • Short written presentation of issues selected from the course content as a precondition for writing a term paper. – Term paper (15–20 pages) addressing a topic from the overall course content.
  • Assessing learning outcomes: 
    • Students are to demonstrate thorough knowledge of the relevant literature, mastery of writing, and the ability to think analytically and provide good arguments through short presentation of selected issues; 
    • The oral exam together with the term paper assesses whether students have mastered the topics addressed in the lecture classes, can write papers including citations and a bibliography, can apply, analyse, and build upon the professional literature used, can present a topic with good argumentation, can think analytically, and whether they are creative.


Contemporary philosophy and modernist literature

Assist. Prof. Rok Benčin, Ph.D.,


Critical Aesthetics and Twentieth-Century Art

Prof. Aleš Erjavec, Ph. D. ,

Prof. Lev Kreft, Ph. D. ,


Formation of the Concepts

Assist. Prof. Aleš Bunta, Ph. D. ,

Assist. Prof. Tadej Troha, Ph. D. ,


German Idealism and its Consequences

Assoc. Prof. Frank Ruda, Ph. D. ,


Ideology and Philosophy

Assoc. Prof. Jan Völker, Ph. D. ,


Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Prof. Jelica Šumič Riha, Ph. D.,


Philosophy and Scientific Revolution

Assoc. Prof. Matjaž Vesel, Ph.D.,


Psychoanalysis and the Social Bond

Prof. Alenka Zupančič, Ph.D.,

Assoc. Prof. Peter Klepec, Ph. D.,