A fresh interpretation of the work of Emile Durkheim, which argues that in addition to being a pioneer in sociological theory and research, Durkheim was also a major social philosopher concerned with religion, metaphysics, and knowledge.
Three Faces of God offers a new interpretation of Emile Durkheim's social philosophy. It challenges the current view of him as primarily a scientific sociologist who identified sociology with the study of collective representations. Nielsen argues that Durkheim was a sociological monist who developed a concept of social substance and a theory of society, religion and the categories of understanding strikingly similar to Spinoza's philosophy. The book provides a comprehensive examination of Durkheim's major and minor writings, especially his theory of religion and the categories, and compares his work with Aristotle, Bacon, Kant, and Renouvier. The author places Durkheim's thought in the context of an encounter between traditional religious ideals, especially Judaism, and modernizing scientific and philosophical currents.
Donald A. Nielsen is Associate Professor of Sociology at State University of New York College at Oneonta.
"This is sociological scholarship at its best. This work goes to the head of the class in terms of an original work relating Durkheim to central philosophical questions and traditions. " -- Edward A. Tiryakian, Duke University
"The author's command of the Durkheimian texts and of relevant secondary commentary is impressive. He makes his case in a careful and sustained way, building from one text to another, and in the process reveals a unifying philosophical orientation throughout the Durkheimian corpus. " -- Peter Kivisto, Augustana College