Three questions for a big book: Collins's the sociology of philosophies

Sociological Theory 19 (1):86-91 (2001)
This essay first describes some of the impressive theoretical and empirical contributions of The Sociology of Philosophies, namely, to cultural sociology. Second, it offers a criticism of Collins's argument by focusing on the conceptions of the self it posits; its lack of specificity concerning the relationship between intellectual networks and imagined communities of scholars; and its neglect of how the law of small numbers is affected by the size of a field. Against a priori definitions of the selves of intellectuals posited by Collins, I advocate approaching the diversity of their selves as an empirical issue. Against Collins's overemphasis on personal network centrality in the making of philosophical greatness, I propose that the transcendent values of intellectual work are insufficient but nonetheless necessary conditions for philosophical greatness
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DOI 10.1111/0735-2751.00129
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