Cover: The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change, from Harvard University PressCover: The Sociology of Philosophies in PAPERBACK

The Sociology of Philosophies

A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

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Product Details


$47.00 • £37.95 • €42.50

ISBN 9780674001879

Publication Date: 03/15/2000


1120 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 maps, 57 line illustrations, 2 tables

Belknap Press


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.—Peter Baehr, Canadian Journal of Sociology

The one work that all sociologists of ideas, novices and veterans alike, hereafter must read… It is beyond question Randall Collins’ masterpiece.—Charles Camic, European Journal of Sociology

[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.—Ilan Talmud, European Sociological Review

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.—Leslie Armour, Library Journal

What an impressive book Randall Collins has written…so broadly learned, so ambitious in its analysis, and readable to boot!—William H. McNeill, author of The Rise of the West

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.—Benjamin I. Schwartz, author of The World of Thought in Ancient China

Awards & Accolades

  • 2002 Ludwik Fleck Prize, Society for Social Studies of Science
  • 2000 American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award
  • 1999 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, American Sociological Association
  • 1998 Association of American Publishers PSP Award for Excellence, Sociology and Anthropology Category
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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene