Ideology, Political Philosophy, and the Interpretive Enterprise: A View from the Other Side

Gerald Gaus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Michael Freeden's magisterial work, Ideologies and Political Theory, is a key contribution to contemporary political theory, developing the systematic study of political ideologies in terms of their conceptual morphology. This chapter considers the relation of political philosophy, ideologies, and the study of political ideologies, focusing on Freeden's depiction of 'American philosophical liberalism', which he sees as 'an ideological phenomenon like any other liberal doctrine'. The chapter considers two questions. (1) Can we adequately distinguish liberalism as an ideology from philosophical theories of liberalism? (2) Can a second-level study of political doctrines such as Freeden's normatively criticize a first-level theory such as American philosophical liberalism as resting on false claims, without itself becoming just another first-level theory?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiberalism as Ideology
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Michael Freeden
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191738203
ISBN (Print)9780199600670
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • Cenceptual morphology
  • Contemporary political theory
  • Freeden
  • Freeden
  • Ideology
  • Liberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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