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knowledge-effect (produced by the sciences).
But at the same time let us keep in mind that this internal result (the philosophy-effect) is
inseparable from the intervention of philosophy in reality = the sciences + theoretical
ideologies.

The first element in this reality is familiar to us: the sciences. They have a recognized
historical existence and scientists are witnesses not only to their existence but to their practices,
problems and their findings as well. The second element is not so familiar to us: theoretical

ideologies. We will provisionally leave this element on one side. Because it would take a long
analysis to attain knowledge of it: we would have to sketch out a theory of ideologies
culminating in a distinction between practical ideologies (religious, moral, juridical, political,
aesthetic, etc.), and theoretical ideologies, and in a theory of the relations between these two.
But also because we will begin to get an initial idea of the theoretical ideologies as we go along.
And finally because it is indispensable to dwell for some time on the philosophical question of
the existence of the sciences and of scientific practice, before we can approach the problem of
ideology.

This last reason is neither one of convenience nor simply of method. It not only concerns the
theoretical ideologies, it is primarily concerned with philosophy itself. For we can advance only
on one condition: that we enlighten philosophy as to its own nature.
I will therefore advance at this point a central Thesis that is going to command the remainder

of this course.

Thesis 24. The relation between philosophy and the sciences constitutes the specific
determination of philosophy.
I do not say: determination in the last instance, or primary determination, etc. Philosophy has
other determinations that play a fundamental role in its existence, its functioning and its forms
(for example, its relation with the world-views through practical or theoretical ideologies). I say

specific, for it is proper to philosophy and pertains to it alone.
We must be quite clear as to what is meant by the relation of philosophy to the sciences. It
does not mean that only philosophy speaks of the sciences. Science figures in other discourses:
for example, religion, ethics and politics all speak of science. But they do not speak of it as does
philosophy, because their relation to the sciences does not constitute the specific determination
of religion, ethics, politics, literature. It is not their relation to the sciences that constitutes them
as religion, ethics, etc. Similarly, that does not mean that philosophy speaks only of the
sciences! It speaks, as everyone knows, of everything and of nothing (of nothingness), of
religion, ethics, politics, literature, etc. The relation of philosophy to the sciences is not that of a
discourse to its 'specific'

page 109

themes, or even to its 'object' (since philosophy has no object). This relation is constitutive of
the specificity of philosophy. Outside of its relationship to the sciences, philosophy would not

exist.

In what remains of this lecture, I will restrict myself to commenting on Thesis 24.
I am going to adopt the only method possible in an introduction: proceeding by empirical
analyses with the sole purpose of showing, making perceptible by facts, this specific relation
and its importance.

I insist on this precise point: empirical analyses. Naturally, there is no such thing as a pure
empirical analysis. Every analysis, even an empirical analysis, presupposes a minimum of

Page 28 of 67

Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of Scientists

03/10/2011

http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/PSPS90ii.html

theoretical references without which it would be impossible to present what are called facts:
otherwise, we would not know why we accept and recognize them as facts. But to analyse the
'functioning' of philosophy in its relation to the sciences empirically is insufficient to furnish a

theory of philosophy: that is merely a preliminary to such a theory. In a theory of philosophy,
other realities (for example, practical ideologies) and other relations (relations of production)
must also be taken into account. And it is above all necessary to 're-examine' the findings of
empirical analyses from the viewpoint of the overall function (or functions) of philosophy in
the history of social formations, which does not contradict empirical findings but rather

transforms their meaning.
In this inquiry into the relation of philosophy to the sciences, we shall now explore the
scientific side of things.

II ON THE SIDE OF THE SCIENCES: SCIENTIFIC

PRACTICE

How does the relation of philosophy to the sciences appear on the side of the sciences or, more
precisely, on the side of scientific practice?

Thesis 25. In their scientific practice, specialists from different disciplines 'spontaneously'
recognize the existence of philosophy and the privileged relation of philosophy to the sciences.
This recognition is generally unconscious: it can, in certain circumstances, become partially
conscious. But it remains enveloped in the forms proper to unconscious recognition: these
forms constitute the 'spontaneous philosophies of scientists' or 'savants ' (SPS).
To clarify this Thesis I will begin with a case in which this recognition is (partially)

conscious.

The most famous and striking example of this recognition is furnished by the particular
situations called 'crises'. At a certain moment in its development, a science confronts scientific
problems which cannot be

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