Randall Collins traces the movement of philosophical thought in ancient Greece, China, Japan, India, the medieval Islamic and Jewish world, medieval Christendom, and modern Europe. What emerges from this history is a social theory of intellectual change, one that avoids both the reduction of ideas to the influences of society at large and the purely contingent local construction of meanings. Instead, Collins focuses on the social locations where sophisticated ideas are formed: the patterns of intellectual networks and their inner divisions and conflicts.
No sociologist who is seriously concerned with understanding intellectual life can afford to ignore it… Randall Collins has rendered a service to sociology second to none.
The one work that all sociologists of ideas, novices and veterans alike, hereafter must read… It is beyond question Randall Collins’ masterpiece.
[A] rich, systematic and empirically grounded account of intellectual change in three civilizations. The Sociology of Philosophies is an ambitious, comprehensive, and brilliant account of the rationalization process of three world philosophies: Western, Indian, and Asian. In Collins’ analysis, this developmental process is shown to be generated via social and conceptual networks… The book expounds upon an immense range of intellectual history, and certainly makes inspiring and interesting reading. And, despite the heavy subject and incredible scope, Collins’ writing style resembles an oral lecture more than an abstruse disquisition.
This astonishing book testifies to decades of research through the greater part of philosophy—East and West… It reaches out to the ordinary reader, who could acquire a rich education in the humanities just by following it through.
What an impressive book Randall Collins has written…so broadly learned, so ambitious in its analysis, and readable to boot!
The Sociology of Philosophies is a truly astonishing work of scholarship based on a vast global erudition…it offers rich, highly illuminating and provocative insights on a vast array of topics.
- 1120 pages
- 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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