The Social Relations of Physics, Mysticism, and Mathematics: Studies in Social Structure, Interests, and Ideas / Edition 1

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Sal Restivo's book is a major achievement in the sociology of science and mathematics. It is exciting to read and constitutes a creative, wide-ranging exploration of the connections between physics and mysticism, between the natural science and the humanities. Of particular interest is his attempt to show the emergence of abstraction and of formal disciplines in science by relating them to the structure of social interests in society. All told, this book challenges the separation of C.P. Snow's 'two cultures' and is an original attempt to overcome the chasms between the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. The implications of the book's content certainly go far beyond its title.'
Prof. W. Heydebrand, New York University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789027720849
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 9/30/1985
  • Series: Episteme Series, #10
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1985
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 0.67 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

I. Physics, Mysticism, and Society.- Section I. The Parallelist Perspective.- 1: Parallels Between Physics and Mysticism.- Appendix A: The Physicist and the Sufi Master: A Meeting of Alternate Realities.- 2: The Pitfalls of Parallelism.- Appendix B: The Search for China’s Aristotles, Galileos, and Einsteins.- Section II. The Sociology of Physics and Mysticism.- 3: Mysticism as a Social Fact.- 4: Physics as a Social Fact.- Section III. Parallelism and Society.- 5: Interests and Ideas: Parallelism as an Intellectual Strategy.- 6: Parallelism, Science, and Society.- Appendix C: The Dialectics of Physics, Knowledge, and Life.- Section IV. Emancipatory Epistemology.- 7: Epistemic Strategies, Society, and Social Change.- II. The Social Roots of Mathematics.- Section V. Introduction.- 8: The Sociology of Mathematics.- Section VI. The Legacy of Marx.- 9: Dialectics, Materialism, and Mathematics.- 10: Historical Materialism and Mathematics.- 11: Contemporary Marxist Sociology of Mathematics.- Section VII. The Legacy of Spengler.- 12: Numbers and Cultures.- 13: Mathematics and World View.- Appendix D: The Social Roots of Non-Euclidean Geometry.- Section VIII. Sociological Materialism and History of Mathematics: An Exploratory Case Study.- 14: Mathematics in Ancient Greece.- 15: Mathematics in Europe, 1200–1700.- Notes.- Name Index.

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