Durkheim and Epistemology, Durkheim’s Epistemology

Jiří Chvátal

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46938/tv.2007.454


Based especially on The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) the text tries to delimitate contours of „Durkheim’s epistemology“ (i. e. relatively coherent group of assertions). It argues that the deep „objective“ of this connection is to ensure autonomy and specific field for the new-born scientific province, sociology, through the claim that this contribution can solve and actually does solve (from the French sociologist’s point of view) „traditional epistemological hardships“ into which philosophical empiricism and rationalism fall. Durkheim’s sociological deduction of categories (instead of transcendental deduction), as Ernst Cassirer calls it, is presented in contrast to the „holy positivists interpretations“ of his writing, exclusively intentional conceptualizations of action and notion formation, and correspondence theory of truth. The text concludes that despite noticeable inconsistencies Durkheim’s suggestions provide inspiring material even for today’s sociological production in this field.

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz /// email: teorievedy@flu.cas.cz