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Essays I: On the Sociology of Knowledge and the Sciences

Between the end of the Second World War and his death in 1990, Elias published almost 60 articles on a wide range of topics. About a third of them have not previously appeared in English, and many of the rest were widely scattered and difficult to obtain. They are being published in three thematic volumes, all edited by Richard Kilminster and Stephen Mennell. In this volume, Elias develops his sociological theory of knowledge and the sciences - in the plural - to counter what he sees as the inadequacies of traditional philosophical theories. Included are savage attacks on the philosophy of Karl Popper and its damaging influence, a brilliant essay on scientific establishments, and essays on Thomas More and the social uses of utopias.

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Table of Contents

Norbert Elias, 1897-1990 Note on the text Sociology of knowledge - new perspectives Dynamics of consciousness within that of societies On nature The sciences - towards a theory Theory of science and history of science - comments on a recent discussion Introduction to Scientific Establishments and Hierarchies, with Richard Whitley Scientific establishments On the creed of a nominalist - observations on Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery Science or sciences? Contribution to a debate with reality-blind philosophers Thomas More’s critique of the state - with some thoughts on a definition of the concept to utopia Thomas More and ’Utopia’ What is the role of scientific and literary utopias for the future? Appendix I - Note on Kant’s solipsistic doubt. Appendix II - Two extended notes to ’On the creed of a nominalist’ Appendix III - The Great Evolution - note to ’Science or sciences?’ Textual variants Bibliography Index.

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