"Theoretical Logic in Sociology", Volume 2: "The Antinomies of Classical Thought: Marx and Durkheim" by Jeffrey C. Alexander

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 15 (2):211-216 (1985)

Stephen Turner
University of South Florida
The four volume work of which this book is a part has been praised as one of the great monuments of theoretical scholarship in sociology of the century. The praise has come largely from the older generation of students of Parsons and Merton. A great deal of dispraise has come from Alexander's own generation. Alan Sica's (1983) brilliant, biting review of Volume I speaks for many of Alexander's peers. Volume II is likely to be even more controversial. This volume begins the substantive task of the text, the reinterpretation of the 'theoretical logic' of the classical sociologists, a reinterpretation governed by the intention of transcending the errors and limitations of the 'presuppositional' reasoning of the classical thinkers. For Alexander's sociological audience the second volume is the beginning of what really counts, and Volume II is indeed quite a different affair from the first, 'philosophical' volume: the prose tightens, and the air of getting down to work is palpable.
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