1st Edition

The Cognitive Foundations of Classical Sociological Theory

By Ryan McVeigh Copyright 2024

    The Cognitive Foundations of Classical Sociological Theory explores the role that understandings of mind and brain played in the development of sociological theory. It isolates five key authors in the classical tradition and comprehensively explores their oeuvres for moments where they reflect on, engage with, and build from topics related to cognition, placing their work in contact with research today to critically determine areas of relevance, refutation, or revision.

    Showing how understandings of mind, brain, and body grounded the production of early sociological thought, the book draws attention to the foundational role theories of cognition played in the emergence of sociology as a distinct field of study. With chapters on Comte, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Mead, The Cognitive Foundations of Classical Sociological Theory constitutes a novel and timely engagement with canonical social theory, extending its application to contemporary social life. It will therefore appeal to scholars of sociology and psychology with interests in classical social theory, cognition, embodiment, and sociality.

    1. The Neurosociology of Auguste Comte  2. Subject, Object, Extension: Karl Marx and Distributed Cognition  3. The Ideal Brain: Reality, Concepts, and Expectation in Max Weber 4. Disciplined Cognition: Sense, Reason, and Morality in Émile Durkheim  5. The Body in Mind: Mead’s Embodied Cognition  6. Conclusion


    Ryan McVeigh is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University, Orillia. His research highlights the tensions and congruencies between sociology and cognitive science, specifically by exploring how understandings of cognition grounded the production of classic social theory. He is currently Chair of the Cognitive Sociology research cluster with the Canadian Sociological Association.

    'In this engaging and accessible book, Ryan McVeigh performs the great service of systematically connecting current cognitive science to the largely buried and forgotten cognitive thinking of the classical sociologists, and in doing so returns cognition to its central place in the sociological tradition.' - Stephen Turner, Distinguished University Professor, University of South Florida, USA