THE SOCIOLOGY OF PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE

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1 THE SOCIOLOGY OF PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE

2 The New Synthese Historical Library Texts and Studies in the History of Philosophy VOLUME 48 Managing Editor: SIMO KNUUTTlLA, University of Helsinki Associate Editors: DANIEL ELLIOT GARBER, University of Chicago RICHARD SORABJI, University of London Editorial Consultants: JAN A. AERTSEN, Thomas-Institut, Universitiit zu Koln, Germany ROGER ARIEW, Virginia Polytechnic Institute E. JENNIFER ASHWORTH, University of Waterloo MICHAEL AYERS, Wadham College, Oxford GAIL FINE, Cornell University R.J. HANKINSON, University of Texas JAAKKO HINTIKKA, Boston University, Finnish Academy PAUL HOFFMAN, University of California, Riverside DAVID KONSTAN, Brown University RICHARD H. KRAUT, Northwestern University, Evanston ALAIN DE LIBERA, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne JOHN E. MURDOCH, Harvard University DAVID FATE NORTON, McGill University Luco OBERTELLO, Universita degli Studi di Genova ELEONORE STUMP, St. Louis University ALLEN WOOD, Cornell University The titles published in this series are listed at the end of this volume.

3 THE SOCIOLOGY OF PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE Edited by MARTIN KUSCH University of Cambridge, United Kingdom... " Springer-Science+Business Media, B.V

4 A c.i.p Catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN ISBN (ebook) DOI / Printed on acid-free paper All Rights Reserved 2000 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Originally published by Kluwer Academic Publishers in Softcover reprint ofthe hardcover 1st edition 2000 No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

5 T ABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements MARTIN KUSCH / Introduction Vll IX DA VID BLOOR / Wittgenstein as a Conservative Thinker MARTIN KUSCH / The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge: A Case Study and a Defense 15 JARMO PULKKINEN / Why did Gottlob Frege and Ernst Schroder Fail in their Attempts to Persuade German Philosophers of the Virtues of Mathematical Logic? 39 CRISTINA CHIMISSO / Painting an Icon: Gaston Bachelard and the Philosophical Beard 61 BARRY SANDYWELL / The Agonistic Ethic and the the Spirit of Inquiry: On the Greek Origins of Theorizing 93 MATTHEW CHEW / Politics and Patterns of Developing Indigenous Knowledge under Western Disciplinary Compartmentalization: The Case of Philosophical Schools in Modem China and Japan 125 RANDALL COLLINS / Reflexivity and Social Embeddedness in the History of Ethical Philosophies 155 VOLKER PECKHAUS / The Contextualism of Philosophy 179 JORGE J.E. GRACIA / Sociological Accounts and the History of Philosophy 193 Index 213 v

6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am indebted to a number of friends and colleagues. Simo Knuuttila first invited me to edit this volume in 1994, and he has given useful advice and support throughout the project. The contributors to this volume have been exemplary in their reliability and punctuality. Jim Endersby, Anandi Hattiangadi, Matthew Ratcliffe and Anita Todd have provided invaluable editorial assistance. Finally, Rudolf Rijgersberg and Jolanda Voogd of Kluwer Publishers have been helpful in seeing the book through the refereeing and production process. Vll

7 MARTIN KUSCH INTRODUCTION This volume brings together a number of authors that see themselves as contributors to, or critical commentators on, a new field that has recently emerged within the sociology of knowledge. This new field is 'the Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge' (SPK). Studying philosophers and their knowledge from broadly sociological or political perspectives is not, of course, a recent phenomenon. Marxist writers have used such perspectives throughout the twentieth century, and, since the sixties, feminist authors have also occasionally engaged in sociological analysis of philosophers' texts. What distinguishes SPK from these sociologies is that SPK is not engaged in a political struggle; indeed, SPK remains, in general, neutral with respect to the truth or falsity of the doctrines it studies. In doing so, SPK follows the 'strong programme' in the sociology of scientific knowledge. In 'Wittgenstein as a Conservative Thinker', David Bloor draws on the work of the sociologist Karl Mannheim in order to situate Wittgenstein's philosophy. Mannheim distinguished between two important styles of thought in the nineteenth century. The first, the 'natural law' ideology was associated with ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It emphasized individualism, progress, and universal reason. The second style of thought was 'conservatism'. It opposed the 'natural law' ideology and stressed the importance of history, the collective, and tradition. Bloor shows that the conservative style of thought finds expression in Wittgenstein's central themes and ideas. Bloor's interpretation also leads him to speculate on our current difficulties in understanding Wittgenstein: Since much in our current academic-intellectual culture goes back to the 'natural law' tradition, we have great difficulties making sense of a thinker who has radically broken with that very style of thought. In 'The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge: A Case Study and a Defense', I summarize and defend my book-size case study of the psychologism dispute in German academic philosophy between the 1880s and the 1920s. The case study seeks to show that professional interests and political events had a decisive influence on philosophers' evaluations of arguments for and against the inclusion of experimental psychology within philosophy. The 'defense' referred to in my title concerns the philosophical premises upon which the sociology of philosophical knowledge - at least in my own version - is based. The central premise here is a position called 'sociologism', that is, the thesis that all 'rational entities' (arguments, theories, reasons) are social entities. I distinguish between three versions of sociologism in analogy with the three main brands of materialism in the philosophy of mind (reductive, eliminative, anomalous). Of these I opt for M. Kusch (ed.), The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge, ix-xii Kluwer Academic Publishers. ix

8 x MARTIN KUSCH 'anomalous sociologism': This is the claim that rational entities 'supervene' on social institutions. Jarmo Pulkkinen's paper is entitled 'Why did Gottlob Frege and Ernst SchrOder Fail in their Attempts to Persuade German Philosophers of the Virtues of Mathematical Logic?' Pulkkinen answers this question by drawing attention to the structure of the German system of higher education around the tum of the century. Central to this system was the division between regular universities and the Technische Hochschulen. The university professors felt superior to the 'technocrats' of the technical colleges. This explains in part why Schroder had difficulties with the philosophical audience in the universities. SchrOder spent most of his academic life in the Technische Hochschulen in Darmstadt and Karlsruhe. Moreover, German universities at the time were structured around the Ordinarius, that is, the full professor who determined dissertation topics and examined PhD students. Neither Schroder nor Frege ever reached the level of Ordinarius, and thus they had no possibility of ever building a 'school'. The following paper is Cristina Chimisso's 'Painting an Icon: Gaston Bachelard and the Philosophical Beard'. Chimisso is interested in the ways in which the image of the philosopher's body - its physical shape, its postures, the way it is related to other bodies - is constructed. Chimisso develops this interest further by looking at the topoi of philosophers in traditional iconography and studying how these topoi were used by Bachelard and his students to set him apart from both ordinary men and philosophical competitors. Central in Chimisso's study is Bachelard's long and untrimmed beard. Chimisso identifies a philosophical semiotics of beards, amongst other things, in France in the early twentieth century. She also looks at bodily postures, and investigates topoi such as solitude and chastity. Often Chimisso engages in a critical dialogue with the subject of her study: For instance she contrasts the topoi that Bachelard invoked in the philosophical positions he defended: While Bachelard played the role of the philosophical recluse, he called for dialogue and community with others. Barry Sandywell's study, 'The Agonistic Ethic and the Spirit of Inquiry: Some Notes on the Greek Origins of Theoretical Discourse', challenges received accounts of the emergence of philosophy and medicine in ancient Greece. Sandywell shows that these forms of theoretical discourse can be traced back to and explained by a specific Greek model of social intercourse, a model that Sandywell calls 'agonistic ethic'. This ethic was embodied in and expressed by Greek warfare, the Pan-Hellenic games, and traditions of non-religious poetry, myth, and art. Athens generalized and extended the agonistic ethic: It transformed 'the polemos of conflict and war' into the 'civil ethos of verbal controversy and the spirit of critical discussion'. The writings of Plato, Aristotle or Hippocrates still display a number of adversarial features that link them to Greek agonism. But the emphasis for them was on refutation through argument, not on physical destruction of the opponent. Matthew Chew has contributed a paper on 'Politics and Patterns of Developing Indigenous Knowledge under Western Disciplinary Compartmentalisation: the Case of Philosophical Schools in Modem China and Japan'. Chew investigates the fate of national philosophical traditions in modem China ( ) and Japan

9 INTRODUCTION xi ( ). In both cases, the national indigenous tradition was faced with the same dilemma: On the one hand, the goal was to gain an independent institutional position within academia; on the other, the aim was to become accepted by philosophers that followed Western traditions. These two goals tended to conflict with one another: Independence from the mainstream usually meant intellectual isolation and lack of respectability; seeking acceptance easily led to assimilation. Chew shows how Japanese and Chinese philosophers dealt with this dilemma. Japanese philosophers opted for a universalist approach and excluded indigenous philosophy altogether from philosophy departments. Later, philosophers who were trained in Western philosophy became interested in Japanese philosophy and indigenous knowledge thus became acceptable right at the heart of Japanese philosophy departments. In China, advocates of indigenous philosophy favored a segregational strategy. This lead to a sharp separation of Chinese from Western philosophy with little acceptance across the divide. In 'Reflexivity and Social Embeddedness in the History of Ethical Philosophies' Randall Collins engages in the sociology of philosophical knowledge from a rather more comprehensive viewpoint. He looks at the development of ethical philosophies in all of the major philosophical traditions. Collins seeks to give sociological explanations for why, compared with other fields in philosophy, ethical philosophy has been relatively stagnant. Central to his explanation is the fact that the problems and issues of ethical philosophy have always been closely tied to the conventional ideas and ideologies of philosophers as a group. It was difficult and dangerous for philosophers to distance themselves from this base. Collins suggests that only today can we begin to see a change in this respect. The rise of metaethical and technical ethical philosophies has enabled philosophers to gain the degree of distance from lay beliefs that epistemologists or logicians achieved already many centuries ago. In his paper 'The Contextualism of Philosophy', Volker Peckhaus argues that the sociology of philosophical knowledge needs 'a suitable historiography of philosophy for providing the data for its sociological analysis'. He formulates and defends such historiography in and through a criticism of views put forward by contemporary German philosophers like Jiirgen Mittelstrass or Lorenz Puntel. These authors claim that systematic philosophy and the history of philosophy can and should live separate lives, that - at least within German contemporary philosophy - too many philosophers are engaged in historical study, and that a strong emphasis upon the historicity of philosophy must lead to either relativism or philosophically irrelevant results. Peckhaus challenges Mittelstrass and Puntel's views by outlining the historical nature of philosophy itself; this includes pointing to changing conceptions of philosophy, or to the need for considering the context of philosophical texts. Peckhaus rejects any sharp division between philosophy and its history. The final paper of this collection provides a critical perspective on contextualism in general, and the sociology of philosophical knowledge in particular. Jorge Gracia's contribution is a commentary on all previous papers and the very project of a sociology of philosophical knowledge. Gracia sees the sociology of philosophical knowledge as a useful ancillary to the 'proper' philosophical history of

10 XII MARTIN KUSCH philosophy. But he denies that sociological analysis can be helpful in understanding the logical texture of philosophical arguments. In short, for Gracia, the history of philosophy must be done 'philosophically'.

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