Durkheim's Philosophy Lectures: Notes from the Lycee De Sens Course, 1883-1884

Durkheim's Philosophy Lectures: Notes from the Lycee De Sens Course, 1883-1884

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By (author) Emile Durkheim, Edited and translated by Neil Gross, Edited and translated by Robert Alun Jones, Foreword by Hans Joas

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Moving back and forth between the history of philosophy and the contributions of philosophers in his own day, Durkheim takes up topics as diverse as philosophical psychology, logic, ethics, and metaphysics, and seeks to articulate a unified philosophical position. Remarkably, the 'social realism' that is so characteristic of his later work - where he insists, famously, that social facts cannot be reduced to psychological or economic ones, and that such facts constrain human action in important ways - is totally absent in these early lectures. For this reason, they will be of special interest to students of the history of the social sciences, for they shed important light on the course of Durkheim's intellectual development. Intellectual historians, historically-minded philosophers, and French historians will all find the lectures a valuable historical document. Insofar as they speak to the philosophical foundations of Durkheim's thought, they should also be of great interest to social theorists.

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Author information

Neil Gross is Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California. He writes on classical and contemporary sociological theory, as well as the sociology of ideas. His work has appeared in such journals as Theory & Society, American Sociological Review, Sociological Theory, and Annual Review of Sociology. Robert Alun Jones is the author of Emile Durkheim: An Introduction to Four Major Works (1986), The Development of Durkheim's Social Realism (1999), and The Secret of the Totem: Religion and Society in the Works of McLennan, Smith, Frazer, Durkheim, and Freud (forthcoming), as well as numerous essays and journal articles on Durkheim and his contemporaries. He has also been editor of both Etudes durkheimiennes and Knowledge and Society.