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The Sociology of Philosophies

1121 Pages · 2005 · 4.14 MB · English

  • The Sociology of Philosophies

    THE SOCIOLOGY


    OF PHILOSOPHIES THE SOCIOLOGY


    OF PHILOSOPHIES


    A Global Theory


    of Intellectual Change


    £


    RANDALL COLLINS


    THE BELKNAP PRESS OF


    HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS


    Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College


    All rights reserved


    Printed in the United States of America


    Fourth printing, 2002


    First Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2000


    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


    Collins, Randall, 1941–


    The sociology of philosophies : a global theory of intellectual


    change / Randall Collins.


    p. cm.


    Includes bibliographical references and index.


    ISBN 0-674-81647-1 (cloth)


    ISBN 0-674-00187-7 (pbk.)


    1. Knowledge, Sociology of. 2. Philosophy—History.


    3. Comparative civilization. 4. Philosophers—Social networks.


    I. Title.


    BD175.C565 1998


    306.4′2′09—dc21 97-18446 In every hair there are an infinite number of lions, and


    in addition all the single hairs, together with their infinite


    number of lions, in turn enter into a single hair. In this


    way the progression is infinite, like the jewels in Celestial


    Lord Indra’s net.


    Fa-tsang (T’ang Dynasty)


    Homer was wrong in saying, “Would that strife might


    perish from among gods and humans.” For if that were


    to occur, all things would cease to exist.


    Heraclitus Contents


    Preface xvii


    Acknowledgments xxi


    Introduction 1


    THE SKELETON OF THEORY


    1 Coalitions in the Mind 19


    General Theory of Interaction Rituals 20


    The Interaction Rituals of Intellectuals 24


    The Opportunity Structure 37


    The Sociology of Thinking 46


    2 Networks across the Generations 54


    The Rarity of Major Creativity 54


    Who Will Be Remembered? 58


    What Do Minor Philosophers Do? 61


    The Structural Mold of Intellectual Life: Long-Term Chains


    in China and Greece 64


    The Importance of Personal Ties 68


    The Structural Crunch 74


    3 Partitioning Attention Space:


    The Case of Ancient Greece 80


    The Intellectual Law of Small Numbers 81


    The Forming of an Argumentative Network and the


    Launching of Greek Philosophy 82


    How Long Do Organized Schools Last? 89


    Small Numbers Crisis and the Creativity of the


    Post-Socratic Generation 97 viii • Contents


    The Hellenistic Realignment of Positions 103


    The Roman Base and the Second Realignment 109


    The Stimulus of Religious Polarization 119


    The Showdown of Christianity versus the Pagan United


    Front 123


    Two Kinds of Creativity 131


    COMPARATIVE HISTORY OF


    INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITIES


    Part I: Asian Paths


    4 Innovation by Opposition: Ancient China 137


    The Sequence of Oppositions in Ancient China 137


    Centralization in the Han Dynasty: The Forming of Official


    Confucianism and Its Opposition 153


    The Changing Landscape of External Supports 158


    The Gentry-Official Culture: The Pure Conversation


    Movement and the Dark Learning 168


    Class Culture and the Freezing of Creativity in Indigenous


    Chinese Philosophy 174


    5 External and Internal Politics of the Intellectual


    World: India 177


    Sociopolitical Bases of Religious Ascendancies 178


    Religious Bases of Philosophical Factions: Divisions and


    Recombination of Vedic Ritualists 193


    The Crowded Competition of the Sages 195


    Monastic Movements and the Ideal of Meditative


    Mysticism 200


    Anti-monastic Opposition and the Forming of Hindu Lay


    Culture 208


    Partitioning the Intellectual Attention Space 213


    The Buddhist-Hindu Watershed 224


    The Post-Buddhist Resettlement of Intellectual


    Territories 255


    Scholasticism and Syncretism in the Decline of Hindu


    Philosophy 268 Contents • ix


    6 Revolutions of the Organizational Base:


    Buddhist and Neo-Confucian China 272


    Buddhism and the Organizational Transformation of


    Medieval China 274


    Intellectual Foreign Relations of Buddhism, Taoism, and


    Confucianism 279


    Creative Philosophies in Chinese Buddhism 281


    The Ch’an (Zen) Revolution 290


    The Neo-Confucian Revival 299


    The Weak Continuity of Chinese Metaphysics 316


    7 Innovation through Conservatism: Japan 322


    Japan as Transformer of Chinese Buddhism 326


    The Inflation of Zen Enlightenment and the


    Scholasticization of Koan 341


    Tokugawa as a Modernizing Society 347


    The Divergence of Secularist Naturalism and


    Neoconservatism 361


    Conservatism and Intellectual Creativity 367


    The Myth of the Opening of Japan 369


    Conclusions to Part I:


    The Ingredients of Intellectual Life 379


    COMPARATIVE HISTORY OF


    INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITIES


    Part II: Western Paths


    8 Tensions of Indigenous and Imported Ideas:


    Islam, Judaism, Christendom 387


    Philosophy within a Religious Context 388


    The Muslim World: An Intellectual Community Anchored


    by a Politicized Religion 392


    Four Factions 395


    Realignment of Factions in the 900s 407


    The Culmination of the Philosophical Networks: Ibn Sina


    and al-Ghazali 417


    Routinization of Sufis and Scholastics 423


    Spain as the Hinge of Medieval Philosophy 428


    Coda: Are Idea Imports a Substitute for Creativity? 446


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