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The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  79 Ratings  ·  7 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
May 02, 2014 Dustyn Hessie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, big-books
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
Peter Mcloughlin
Very long book outlining intellectual networks and sociology of various intellectual traditions as seen through these networks. Very nice application of sociology to these networks and comes up with some universals on how Philosophy interacts with the societies and networks from within. by showing both western and eastern traditions the author tries to show how social factors are universal to the enterprise of philosophy no matter the culture. Fairly good and detailed. Spent a lot of time time t ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Katie rated it liked it
Some thoughts about thinking. Validated my compulsion to put words in the world.
Jun 30, 2009 R. rated it it was ok
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
Apr 07, 2010 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2010 Newsblogger rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 11, 2012 Richard Anderson rated it it was amazing
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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“language is no deus ex machina to account for philosophy.” 0 likes
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