The Social Relations of Physics, Mysticism, and Mathematics

Studies in Social Structure, Interests, and Ideas

  • Sal Restivo

Part of the A Pallas Paperback book series (EPIS, volume 10)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Physics, Mysticism, and Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. The Parallelist Perspective

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 22-52
    3. The Sociology of Physics and Mysticism

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 55-78
      2. Sal Restivo
        Pages 79-87
    4. Parallelism and Society

    5. Emancipatory Epistemology

  3. The Social Roots of Mathematics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 157-157
    2. Introduction

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 161-175
    3. The Legacy of Marx

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 179-187
      2. Sal Restivo
        Pages 188-193
    4. The Legacy of Spengler

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 211-219
      2. Sal Restivo
        Pages 220-235
    5. Sociological Materialism and History of Mathematics: An Exploratory Case Study

      1. Sal Restivo
        Pages 239-252
      2. Sal Restivo
        Pages 253-266
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 267-309

About this book


The problems I address in this book are among the least studied in the soci­ ology of science and knowledge. Part I is a critique of the claim that there are parallels between ancient mysticism and modern physics, and a sociological analysis of this claim as a strategy in intellectual conflict. This study must. ultimately be rooted more firmly in a: type of sociology of knowledge that is just now beginning to crystallize (and which I discuss in Chapter 7), and a sociology of religion that is not so much unknown as underground, and timid, that is, a non-worshipful materialist sociology of religion. My study of physics-mysticism parallelism is a vehicle for exploring epistemic strategies. I thus conclude Part I by sketching a materialist, emancipatory epistemic strategy. My conclusion brings together a number of ideas formulated by myself and others over the past several years, but stops short of a systematic synthesis. A more integrated and coherent "model" than what I can sketch here must wait on the results of research now in progress in the critical (as opposed to apologetic or worshipful) sociology of knowledge.


Aristotle China Europe Marx dialectic history history of literature knowledge materialism mysticism physics social change social relations sociology structure

Authors and affiliations

  • Sal Restivo
    • 1
  1. 1.Science and Technology Studies DivisionRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1985
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-2084-9
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-7058-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site