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The Sociology of Philosophies

A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

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$48.00 • £41.95 • €43.95

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


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  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Skeleton of Theory
    • 1. Coalitions in the Mind
      • General Theory of Interaction Rituals
      • The Interaction Rituals of Intellectuals
      • The Opportunity of Structure
      • The Sociology of Thinking
    • 2. Networks across the Generations
      • The Rarity of Major Creativity
      • Who Will Be Remembered
      • What Do Minor Philosophers Do?
      • The Structural Mold of Intellectual Life: Long-Term Chains in China and Greece
      • The Importance of Personal Ties
      • The Structural Crunch
    • 3. Partitioning Attention Space: The Case of Ancient Greece
      • The Intellectual Law of Small Numbers
      • The Forming of an Argumentative Network and the Launching of Greek Philosophy
      • How Long Do Organized Schools Last?
      • Small Numbers Crisis and the Creativity of the Post-Socratic Generation
      • The Hellenic Realignment of Positions
      • The Roman Base and the Second Realignment
      • The Stimulus of Religious Polarization
      • The Showdown of Christianity versus the Pagan United Front
      • Two Kinds of Creativity
  • Comparative History of Intellectual Communities, Part I: Asian Paths
    • 4. Innovation by Opposition: Ancient China
      • The Sequence of Oppositions in Ancient China
      • Centralization in the Han Dynasty: The Forming of Official Confucianism and Its Opposition
      • The Changing Landscape of External Supports
      • The Gentry-Official Culture: The Pure Conversation Movement and the Dark Learning
      • Class Culture and the Freezing of Creativity in Indigenous Chinese Philosophy
    • 5. External and Internal Politics of the Intellectual World: India
      • Sociopolitical Bases of Religious Ascendancies
      • Religious Bases of Philosophical Factions: Divisions and Recombination of Vedic Ritualists
      • The Crowded Competition of the Sages
      • Monastic Movements and the Ideal of Meditative Mysticism
      • Anti-monastic Opposition and the Forming of Hindu Lay Culture
      • Partitioning and the Intellectual Attention Space
      • The Buddhist–Hindu Watershed
      • The Post-Buddhist Resettlement of Intellectual Territories
      • Scholasticism and Syncretism in the Decline of Hindu Philosophy
    • 6. Revolutions of the Organizational Base: Buddhist and Neo-Confucian China
      • Buddhism and the Organizational Transformation of Medieval China
      • Intellectual Foreign Relations of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism
      • Creative Philosophies in Chinese Buddhism
      • The Ch’an (Zen) Revolution
      • The Neo-Confucian Revival
      • The Weak Continuity of Chinese Metaphysics
    • 7. Innovation through Conservatism: Japan
      • Japan as Transformer of Chinese Buddhism
      • The Inflation of Zen Enlightenment and the Scholasticization of Koan
      • Tokugawa as a Modernizing Society
      • The Divergence of Secularist Naturalism and Neoconservatism
      • Conservatism and Intellectual Creativity
      • The Myth of the Opening of Japan
    • Conclusion to Part I: The Ingredients of Intellectual Life
  • Comparative History of Intellectual Communities, Part II: Western Paths
    • 8. Tensions of Indigenous and Imported Ideas: Islam, Judaism, Christendom
      • Philosophy within a Religious Context
      • The Muslim World: An Intellectual Community Anchored by a Politicized Religion
      • Four Factions
      • Realignment of Factions in the 900s
      • The Culmination of the Philosophical Networks: Ibn Sina and al-Ghazali
      • Routinization of Sufis and Scholastics
      • Spain as the Hinge of Medieval Philosophy
      • Coda: Are Idea Imports a Substitute for Creativity?
    • 9. Academic Expansion as a Two-Edged Sword: Medieval Christendom
      • The Organizational Bases of Christian Thought
      • The Inner Autonomy of the University
      • The Breakup of Theological Philosophy
      • Intellectuals as Courtiers: The Humanists
      • The Question of Intellectual Stagnation
      • Coda: The Intellectual Demoralization of the Late Twentieth Century
    • 10. Cross-Breeding Networks and Rapid-Discovery Science
      • A Cascade of Creative Circles
      • Philosophical Connections of the Scientific Revolution
      • Three Revolutions and Their Networks
      • The Mathematicians
      • The Scientific Revolution
      • The Philosophical Revolution: Bacon and Descartes
    • 11. Secularization and Philosophical Meta-territoriality
      • Secularization of the Intellectual Base
      • Geopolitics and Cleavages within Catholicism
      • Reemergence of the Metaphysical Field
      • Jewish Millennialism and Spinoza’s Religious of Reason
      • Leibniz’s Mathematical Metaphysics
      • Rival Philosophies upon the Space of Religious Toleration
      • Deism and the Independence of Value Theory
      • The Reversal of Alliances
      • Anti-modernist Modernism and the Anti-scientific Opposition
      • The Triumph of Epistemology
    • 12. Intellectuals Take Control of Their Base: The German University Revolution
      • The German Idealist Movement
      • Philosophy Captures the University
      • Idealism as Ideology of the University Revolution
      • Political Crisis as the Outer Layer of Causality
      • The Spread of the University Revolution
    • 13. The Post-revolutionary Condition: Boundaries as Philosophical Puzzles
      • Meta-territories upon the Science-Philosophy Border
      • The Social Invention of Higher Mathematics
      • The Logicism of Russell and Wittgenstein
      • The Vienna Circle as a Nexus of Struggles
      • The Ordinary Language Reaction against Logical Formalism
      • Wittgenstein’s Tortured Path
      • Form Mathematical Foundations Crisis to Husserl’s Phenomenology
      • Heidegger: Catholic Anti-modernism Intersects the Phenomenological Movement
      • Division of the Phenomenological Movement
      • The Ideology of the Continental-Anglo Split
  • Meta-Reflection
    • 14. Sequence and Branch in the Social Production of Ideas
      • The Continuum of Abstraction and Reflexivity
      • Three Pathways: Cosmological, Epistemological–Metaphysical, Mathematical
      • The Future of Philosophy
    • Epilogue: Sociological Realism
      • The Sociological Cogito
      • Mathematics as Communicative Operations
      • The Objects of Rapid-Discovery Science
      • Why Should Intellectual Networks Undermine Themselves?
  • Appendices
    • 1. The Clustering of Contemporaneous Creativity
    • 2. The Incompleteness of Our Historical Picture
    • 3. Keys to Figures
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index of Persons
  • Index of Subjects

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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