Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009)
|Abstract||Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention to the social dimension of science resonates in many respects with current points of view. His political philosophy, on the other hand, is even less known, because it differs substantially from the classical political philosophy we have inherited. Comte's most important works are (1) the Course on Positive Philosophy (1830-1842, six volumes, translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte); (2) the System of Positive Polity, or Treatise on Sociology, Instituting the Religion of Humanity, (1851-1854, four volumes); and (3) the Early Writings (1820-1829), where one can see the influence of Saint-Simon, for whom Comte served as secretary from 1817 to 1824. The Early Writings are still the best introduction to Comte's thought. In the Course, Comte said, science was transformed into philosophy; in the System, philosophy was transformed into religion. The second transformation met with strong opposition; as a result, it has become customary to distinguish, with Mill, between a “good Comte” (the author of the Course) and a “bad Comte” (the author of the System). Today's common conception of positivism corresponds mainly to what can be found in the Course.|
|Keywords||August Comte Positivism Philosophy of religion|
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Similar books and articles
Auguste Comte (1865/1972). A General View of Positivism. Dubuque, Iowa,Brown Reprints.
John Stuart Mill (1961). Auguste Comte and Positivism. [Ann Arbor]University of Michigan Press.
Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (2008). Meyerson critique ou héritier de Comte? Dialogue 47 (01):3-.
Auguste Comte (1891/1973). The Catechism of Positive Religion. Clifton, N.J.,A. M. Kelley.
Robert C. Scharff (1995). Comte After Positivism. Cambridge University Press.
Auguste Comte (1975/1983). Auguste Comte and Positivism: The Essential Writings. University of Chicago Press.
Auguste Comte (1974). The Essential Comte. New York,Barnes & Noble.
Larry Laudan (1971). Towards a Reassessment of Comte's 'Méthode Positive'. Philosophy of Science 38 (1):35-53.
Auguste Comte (1998). Early Political Writings. Cambridge University Press.
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