Randall Collins' The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (1998) examines and compares communities of intellectuals linked as networks in ancient and medieval China and India, medieval and modern Japan, ancient Greece, medieval Islam and Judaism, medieval Christendom and modern Europe. The book has been the subject of many interesting and often positive reflections (for example, European Journal of Social Theory 3 (I), 2000; Review Symposium or reviews in Sociological Theory 19 (I), March 2001). However, it has also attracted a number of critical reviews (for example, reviews in Philosophy of the Social Sciences 30 (2), June 2000). Since not many books achieve such notoriety, it is worthwhile to rethink Collins' controversial approach. The aim of this paper is to encourage further debates of notions and issues presented in Collins' book. We would like, by joining two voices—sociologist and philosopher—to reopen discussion of Collins' attempt to discover a universality of patterns of intellectual change, as we think that more interpretative rather than explanatory versions of our respective disciplines can enrich our understanding of blueprints of intellectual creativity.
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