This volume brings together a number of authors that see themselves as contribuยญ tors to, or critical commentators on, a new field that has recently emerged within the sociology of knowledge. This new field is 'the Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge' (SPK). Studying philosophers and their knowledge from broadly sociological or political perspectives is not, of course, a recent phenomenon. Marxist writers have used such perspectives throughout the twentieth century, and, since the sixties, feminist authors have also occasionally engaged in sociological analysis of philosophers' texts. What distinguishes SPK from these sociologies is that SPK is not engaged in a political struggle; indeed, SPK remains, in general, neutral with respect to the truth or falsity of the doctrines it studies. In doing so, SPK follows the 'strong programme' in the sociology of scientific knowledge. In 'Wittgenstein as a Conservative Thinker', David Bloor draws on the work of the sociologist Karl Mannheim in order to situate Wittgenstein's philosophy. Mannheim distinguished between two important styles of thought in the nineยญ teenth century. The first, the 'natural law' ideology was associated with ideas of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It emphasized individualism, progress, and universal reason. The second style of thought was 'conservatism'
Wittgenstein as a Conservative Thinker -- The Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge: A Case Study and a Defense -- Why did Gottlob Frege and Ernst Schrรถder Fail in their Attempts to Persuade German Philosophers of the Virtues of Mathematical Logic? -- Painting an Icon: Gaston Bachelard and the Philosophical Beard -- The Agonistic Ethic and the Spirit of Inquiry: On the Greek Origins of Theorizing -- Politics and Patterns of Developing Indigenous Knowledge under Western Disciplinary Compartmentalization: The Case of Philosophical Schools in Modern China and Japan -- Reflexivity and Social Embeddedness in the History of Ethical Philosophies -- The Contextualism of Philosophy -- Sociological Accounts and the History of Philosophy