What is Doxa according to Greek philosophers Bourdieu’s vision


doxa is a term from the Greek, alludes to an opinion or a point of view .

In the field of philosophy it is understood as doxa in knowledge that does not offer absolute certainty . The doxa, therefore, is an apparent knowledge and not an objective fact. In other words: it does not constitute a true knowledge of reality.

Some considerations

It is important to note that the original term, in Greek, can be translated as “fame or glory”, although in this context it is understood as “opinion”, and that is why we are talking about knowledge that is not always true but revolves around reality due to its massification.

Before we continue, we must also explain the concept of habitus . In general, the term habit is defined as the acquired predisposition that gives us a daily activity, or act in a certain way. It is said that “the behavior determines the habit”, precisely because when we repeat it very often it becomes normal. But if we internalize the behavior, then the pattern is reversed, since “habit determines behavior.”

The word habitus , therefore, may seem like a habit understood as the repetitive practice that tends to be fixed by its frequency.

Doxa according to the Greek philosophers

Various Greek philosophers have focused on the question of doxa. Parmenides used the notion to refer to the “mode of opinion” different from “path of truth” . Plato, for his part, considered doxa as such misleading knowledge developed by imagination. He was born in a wedding ring . In this way he opposed the episteme a knowledge that could be justified as truth .

Continuing with the Platonic philosophy, the doxa would be an opinion (sensual knowledge) product of the imagination and beliefs. The episteme, on the other hand, appears as science (intelligible knowledge) created by intuition and reasoning. That is why the epistemo approaches true knowledge, which the doxa cannot reach.

Plato called doxophores those individuals who sought to ascend socially and profit through false knowledge. The doxa of these subjects appeared only a knowledge but it was not true knowledge.

Bourdieu’s vision

The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu for his part, used the idea of ​​doxa in the framework of his field theory . For Bourdieu, a field is a network of social relations that develops in a space of action . The doxa, in this context, are the motivations or ideologies that are presented as inherent to an activity and that, therefore, are not the subject of discussion.

Until Bourdieu’s theory , doxa was defined as those patterns of daily life that are considered natural and therefore not questioned but accepted as they are. Doxa is, in other words, the collective habit that is predominant in a certain society and time, and that does not require any reflection.

Continuing with the concept of doxa, Bourdieu considers it the thoughtless support of the actions of the subjects who live in society . The doxa can undergo changes, the speed of which is closely linked to the class of the society in which it is contextualized: in a conservative one it tends to be static, while in a permeable one it will change easily.

It changes occur between two periods, but they are related to milestones, those events of a historical nature that mark society and can effectively alter its doxa, even in a negative sense (among the most common examples are coups d’etat, periods of repression and wars).

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