File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0002, message 81

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 13:18:11 +0000
Subject: Re: Brandon's appraisal

> >1. My aim was not so much to put forward a positive account of how
> >philosophy or the social sciences should proceed as to call into question
> >the possibility/validity of what I thought was the too-easy notion of
> >combining concepts or techniques or methods from different theories, albeit
> >theories in the same field and belonging to the same intellectual
> tradition.

Ah, Simon has answered the point I made in my previous email, about
whether this was a description of actually existing social science or
its necessary form.  

> >For a start, I am not at all confident about what theory is or what a
> >concept is (I give myself licence to question the concept of a concept from
> >Wittgenstein's persistent remarks in "Remarks on the Foundations of
> >Mathematics" on the fuzziness and elusiveness of the idea of a concept).

Raymond Boudon has some interesting discussion of the many ways 'theory'
is used in sociology (I think he follows on from a remark by Robert K
Merton).  I'll look up the ref. if anyone's interested.  

Possibly it wouldn't be too portentous to say that these questions -- what
> >is theory? what is the relation between theory and concepts? what's a
> >concept? -- are the most central and fundamental questions there are. 

I think there's more than a kernel of truth in here.  And that's why the
way in which sociology all too oftens ignores philosophy is something to
be lamented.  

With best wishes,


Karl Maton
School of Education, University of Cambridge

Correspondence address:
108 Avenue Road Extension, Leicester LE2 3EH
Tel: 0116 220 1066

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heartís affections and
the truth of the imagination


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