Commenter Dan Hirshman replies to Henry Farrell
“Piketty is an economist, but his contribution is better understood in sociological terms. As sociologists like Marion Fourcade and sociologically minded political scientists like Martha Finnemore have argued, economic knowledge doesn’t appear automatically. Instead, it’s the product of social processes of legitimation, in which socially legitimated social structures produce socially legitimated forms of knowledge that are validated in socially legitimated ways.”
Very nicely said! Readers interested in following-up on the social and technological conditions for Piketty and Saez’s discovery might find this working paper of interest: “Rediscovering the 1%: Economic Expertise and Inequality Knowledge.”We need a sociological analysis of sociology. But who analyzes the sociologists analyzing the sociology of sociologizing sociologists?
The history of modern intellectual life, more even than the history of modernity itself, if it were to be written now would need to need to be written by a historian from Mars, someone so far removed from the events of the past century that their biases are wholly other. Objectivity does not exist; the sociological history of the present describes the present no more than cognitive science describes the mind. You can’t pretend to describe yourself and call it science. Skinner was right to call cognitive science “the creation science of psychology”. There’s no scientific study of ideas as ideas; there’s no scientific study of metaphysics. They’re what we are as persons, as people with experiences, desires, and names. Once you’ve acknowledge yourself as “Rudolf Carnap” any hope of the end of metaphysics is gone. It was never there to begin with.
...The history of modern Germany cannot be understood without the history written by Jews. The history of modern Judaism cannot be understood without the history written by Palestinians. There’s no end to it. Absent that the best we’ll get is the equivalent of the feminism of men.