Pseudophilosophy is a philosophical idea or system which does not meet an expected set of philosophical standards.

The philosopher Karl Albert had already argued that Eckhart had to be placed in the tradition of philosophical mysticism of Parmenides, Plato, Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus and other neo-Platonistic thinkers.[15] Heribert Fischer argued in the 1960s that Eckhart was a mediaeval theologian.[15]

German Idealism

Main article: German Idealism

Arthur Schopenhauer wrote the following about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:

If I were to say that the so-called philosophy of this fellow Hegel is a colossal piece of mystification which will yet provide posterity with an inexhaustible theme for laughter at our times, that it is a pseudophilosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking, and, by the most outrageous misuse of language, putting in its place the hollowest, most senseless, thoughtless, and, as is confirmed by its success, most stupefying verbiage, I should be quite right.[16]

A hundred and fifty years after Schopenhauer's death, physicist and philosopher of science Mario Bunge recommended "avoiding the pseudo-subtleties of Hegelian dialectics",[17] and wrote of "Hegel's disastrous legacy": "It is true that Marx and Engels criticized Hegel's idealism, but they did not repudiate his cult of nonsense and his rejection of all modern science from Newton on."[18] Bunge noted,

True, Hegel tackled a number of important problems, so his work cannot be dismissed lightly. However, his work, when understandable at all, was usually wrong in the light of the most advanced science of his own time. Worse, it enshrined the equivocation that depth must be obscure.[7]

Continental philosophy

Main articles: Continental philosophy and Analytic philosophy

Soccio notes that analytical inclined philosophers tend to dismiss Heidegger's philosophy as pseudophilosophy.[19] According to Christensen, Heidegger himself called the philosophy of Husserl scheinphilosophy.[20]


Main article: Scientism

Dietrich von Hildebrand used the term to critique the central place modern science is occupying in western society:

This pseudo philosophy, in which science takes the place of metaphysics and religion, more and more corrodes the life of man, making him more and more blind to the real cosmos, in all its plenitude, depth and mystery ... Today we are witnessing a revolt against the deformation expressed in this pseudo philosophy.[21]


Main article: Objectivism (Ayn Rand)

Journalist Jonathan Chait used the term to criticize the work of Ayn Rand in "Ayn Rand's Pseudo-Philosophy", an article in The New Republic, in which he wrote, "She was a true amateur who insisted on seeing herself as the greatest human being who ever lived because she was almost completely unfamiliar with the entire philosophical canon."[22] Physicist and philosopher of science Mario Bunge classified Rand as a "mercenary", among those who "seek to defend or propagate a doctrine rather than an analyzing ideas or searching for new truths",[23] while science writer and skeptic Michael Shermer claimed that "it becomes clear that Objectivism was (and is) a cult, as are many other, non-religious groups".[24] The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy said of Rand, "For all her popularity, however, only a few professional philosophers have taken her work seriously."[25]

Other uses

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The term has been used against many different targets, including:

To criticise dogmatism in general, "which is dissolved when philosophy incorporates the scientific method"[26]

To criticise any philosophy in general which does not meet the criteria of analytical or positivistic philosophy[27]

To criticise specific philosophical schools, traditions and systems:

Platonism as "dogmatic metaphysics"[4][note 1]

Scholasticism[28] and Medieval philosophy[29]

Romantic[3][7] philosophy, which is based on feeling and intuition, not on discursive thought,[3] "giving up rationality"[7]

To criticise some forms of idealism:

German idealism,[7] especially Hegel[16][note 2]

Continental philosophy[19][30][note 3]

Positivistic philosophy[21]

To label entire specific political worldviews as illogical:



Ayn Rand's Objectivism[24][22][note 4][23]

To criticise several (pseudo)sciences:

Social Darwinism[36]

Psychoanalysis[37][note 5][note 6]

To criticise some theistic worldviews:

Catholicism[40][note 7]


Modern spirituality and esotericism[note 8]