The Social Relations of Physics, Mysticism, and Mathematics: Studies in Social Structure, Interests, and Ideas

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Springer Science & Business Media, Sep 30, 1985 - Philosophy - 310 pages
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The problems I address in this book are among the least studied in the soci ology of science and knowledge. Part I is a critique of the claim that there are parallels between ancient mysticism and modern physics, and a sociological analysis of this claim as a strategy in intellectual conflict. This study must. ultimately be rooted more firmly in a: type of sociology of knowledge that is just now beginning to crystallize (and which I discuss in Chapter 7), and a sociology of religion that is not so much unknown as underground, and timid, that is, a non-worshipful materialist sociology of religion. My study of physics-mysticism parallelism is a vehicle for exploring epistemic strategies. I thus conclude Part I by sketching a materialist, emancipatory epistemic strategy. My conclusion brings together a number of ideas formulated by myself and others over the past several years, but stops short of a systematic synthesis. A more integrated and coherent "model" than what I can sketch here must wait on the results of research now in progress in the critical (as opposed to apologetic or worshipful) sociology of knowledge.
 

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Contents

PARALLELS BETWEEN PHYSICS AND MYSTICISM
5
THE PHYSICIST AND THE SUFI MASTER
15
THE PITFALLS OF PARALLELISM
22
THE SEARCH FOR CHINAS ARISTOTLES GALILEOS AND EINSTEINS
43
MYSTICISM AS A SOCIAL FACT
55
PHYSICS AS A SOCIAL FACT
79
INTERESTS AND IDEAS PARALLELISM AS AN INTELLECTUAL STRATEGY
91
PARALLELISM SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
105
HISTORICAL MATERIALISM AND MATHEMATICS
188
CONTEMPORARY MARXIST SOCIOLOGY OF MATHEMATICS
194
NUMBERS AND CULTURES
211
MATHEMATICS AND WORLD VIEW
220
THE SOCIAL ROOTS OF NONEUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY
232
MATHEMATICS IN ANCIENT GREECE
239
MATHEMATICS IN EUROPE 12001700
253
NOTES
267

THE DIALECTICS OF PHYSICS KNOWLEDGE AND LIFE
121
EPISTEMIC STRATEGIES SOCIETY AND SOCIAL CHANGE
129
THE SOCIOLOGY OF MATHEMATICS
161
DIALECTICS MATERIALISM AND MATHEMATICS
179

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