"Pseudophilosophy" refers to a philosophical idea or system that fails to meet the anticipated philosophical standards. The term has been applied to numerous contexts and targets over time.
In the realm of German Idealism, Arthur Schopenhauer dismissed Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's philosophy as pseudophilosophy, characterizing it as a convoluted misuse of language that stifles genuine thought. This criticism was echoed a century and a half later by physicist and philosopher Mario Bunge, who argued that while Hegel's work tackled significant problems, it was often incomprehensible and incorrect in the context of his contemporary science. Bunge contended that Hegel's work perpetuated the misconception that depth must inherently be obscure.
The concept of pseudophilosophy also finds relevance in continental philosophy. Analytically inclined philosophers frequently classify Heidegger's philosophy as pseudophilosophy. Heidegger himself reportedly labeled Husserl's philosophy as scheinphilosophy.
Dietrich von Hildebrand applied the term in the context of scientism, criticizing the dominant role modern science plays in Western society. He argued that this pseudophilosophy blinds humans to the full complexity, depth, and mystery of the cosmos.
In the context of objectivism, journalist Jonathan Chait used the term to critique the work of Ayn Rand, characterizing her as an uninformed amateur who viewed herself as an exceptional figure due to her limited familiarity with the philosophical canon. Bunge classified Rand as a "mercenary" more concerned with propagating a doctrine than analyzing ideas or seeking new truths. Despite her popularity, Rand's work is taken seriously by only a few professional philosophers.
The term "pseudophilosophy" has been used more broadly to critique dogmatism, philosophies that fail to meet the criteria of analytical or positivistic philosophy, and specific philosophical schools such as Platonism, Scholasticism, and Medieval philosophy. It's also been used to critique forms of idealism, entire political worldviews deemed illogical, certain (pseudo)sciences, and various theistic worldviews.