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The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Through network diagrams and sustained narrative, Randall Collins traces the development of philosophical thought in China, Japan, India, ancient Greece, the medieval Islamic and Jewish world, medieval Christendom, and modern Europe. What emerges from this history is a general theory of intellectual life, one that avoids both the reduction of ideas to the influences of soc ...more
Paperback, 1120 pages
Published March 15th 2000 by Belknap Press (first published March 4th 1998)
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Dustyn Hessie
The sheer audacity of this book's mission is worthy of praise.

Unfortunately, our author should have been a little more specific about his aims. What I am referring to is his tendency to use "creativity" in place what should (probably) be termed "large-scale creative influence." There are creative philosophers he didn't mention who have had mightier creativity than many of the philosophers he mentioned in his book. Fernando Pessao certainly deserves some consideration, seeing as though he has a
...more
R. Kevin
OK, so I didn't read the whole thing. I read most of the history of western philosophy (skipping medieval and recent French) but not the Asian material and skimmed lightly the sociological chapters.

This is an odd book, and I find it hard to imagine an audience for it. It is purportedly a sociological explanation for the history of philosophy. Though there are a few bells and whistles, the crux of it is that people who make noise for a living seek attention, attention is scarce, some people are b
...more
Jeremy
Ok, to be honest I gave out and didn't actualy finish reading all of this; skipped/skimmed the last few chapters and still felt like a received a beat-down. An incredibly long, complex sociological history of the great movements in philosophy (and philosophical religion/theology). Apparently Collins researched this book for something like 30 years and his grasp of the different schools of thought is nothing short of astounding; I'm srue there's never been a book produced like it. And that leads ...more
Katie
Some thoughts about thinking. Validated my compulsion to put words in the world.
Newsblogger
He is a very good writer. He even wrote a good novel.

It starts out with a theoretical sociological analysis of interactions between intellectuals and then it is mostly narrative. Warning, 800 pages of sociology, not evaluation of the philosophical ideas.
Richard Anderson
Full of information you can't find elsewhere. And this is as far as I know a unique way of looking at philosophic systems.
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