Anti-Intellectualism

Article

July 6, 2022

Anti-intellectualism is the denial of the possibility of cognition with the help of reason, associated with the primacy of non-rational cognition and perception of the world (irrationalism and fideism). In the everyday sense - hostility and distrust of intellectuals and intellectual work. It can be expressed in various forms, such as attacks on science, literature or the education system. It emerged as a reaction to the scientific and technological revolution. It is associated with the distrust of the masses in education that is not of a practical nature. The American publicist Herbert Aptheker wrote: “In an imperialist society, which is in the stage of progressive insanity - and the United States is already struck by it - the rulers' fear of humanity is increasingly intensifying. They are afraid of a sense of social duty, collectivism, love, compassion, courage, solidarity, dissatisfaction with the existing order. But their main enemy is the human mind. The physicist R. Hofstadter, who titled his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, notes the same[specify].

Anti-intellectualism in philosophy

Representatives of the anti-intellectualist trend in Russian philosophy (L. I. Shestov, S. N. Bulgakov, P. A. Florensky) intended to cultivate a religiosity in which feelings would prevail over the rational principle. Anti-intellectualists sought to close religious life within the framework of the emotional sphere, to make it inaccessible to criticism from the standpoint of logical thinking. One of the leading themes in the works of anti-intellectual philosophers is the theme of the limitedness, inferiority of the mind, its inability to reflect the diversity of being, the innermost part of human life. A significant contribution to the formation of this direction of thought was made by the works of Freud, the founder of such a direction as psychoanalysis. His research, which revealed three components of human consciousness (Super-ego, Ego and Id), confirmed that the human mind, intellect, is highly dependent on various factors beyond the control of the person himself, and also that often a person is driven by his own suppressed aspirations. This discovery made society even more questioning the supremacy of reason and strengthened anti-intellectualist sentiment at the dawn of the 20th century.