CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Sociologists have at least three different ways of relating to philosophy. The first may be called demarcationism: it advocates for a strict boundary between the two disciplines due to the inconsistency of their respective epistemologies. The second is integrationism: it presumes that there is no real gap between philosophy and sociology, and therefore justifies uniting their results in one unique discourse. Finally, a third position may be called conversionism: it permits the sociological borrowing of philosophical concepts and reasoning schemes on the express condition of “paying the toll,” i.e., of making a special effort to re-translate them into the logic of sociological inquiry. This paper argues that conversionism is the attitude that best fits the purpose of sociology. Three examples are discussed: the possible contribution of Wittgenstein’s philosophy to the sociological analysis of normativity; the possible contribution of Leibniz’s philosophy to the sociological analysis of social actors’ reflexivity; and the possible contribution of pragmatism to the sociological analysis of social actors’ tendencies to act. We asked Sylvie Mesure, who is both a philosopher and a sociologist, to write a commentary on Cyril Lemieux’s paper, in order to preserve the spirit of debate that defines this section of our journal. Although Sylvie Mesure is a member of Sociology’s editorial board, she remains personally responsible for the views expressed in this commentary.


  • philosophy
  • conversionism
  • normativity
  • reflexivity
  • tendencies to act
  • pragmatism
  • Bourdieu
Distribution électronique pour P.U.F. © P.U.F.. Tous droits réservés pour tous pays. Il est interdit, sauf accord préalable et écrit de l’éditeur, de reproduire (notamment par photocopie) partiellement ou totalement le présent article, de le stocker dans une banque de données ou de le communiquer au public sous quelque forme et de quelque manière que ce soit.
Loading... Please wait