The Philosophical Origins of Classical Sociology of Knowledge

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Book Chapter

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This chapter explores the background ideas are deeply rooted in the history of philosophy, and interact with it in complex ways. It discusses the elements out of which later sociology of knowledge was constructed. The classical sociology of knowledge is an attempt to construct a neutral account of ideology and related concepts. The prime example of an organic period was the medieval period, in which religion, political ideology, and forms of the division of labor and authority fit together as a whole and in which the intellectual aspects of social life justified and explained the social order, which was a productive order and division of labor. K. Mannheim uses the term ideology in a specific way, unlike its later use, and uses the term “utopia” for what would normally be called ideology. Mannheim distinguishes utopia and ideology by saying that ideologies are concrete: in fact they are a lot like practices, or habitus.

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The Philosophical Origins of Classical Sociology of Knowledge, in M. Fricker, P. J. Graham, D. Henderson, N. Pedersen & J. Wyatt (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology, Routledge, p. 31-39