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The Sociology of Philosophies

The Sociology of Philosophies

A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

Randall Collins

ISBN 9780674001879

Publication date: 03/15/2000

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.

    —Canadian Journal of Sociology


  • Randall Collins is Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Book Details

  • 1120 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press