Social Science Information 59 (2):329-354 (2020)

This article explores the role of phrenology in the work of Auguste Comte. I begin by reviewing the historical and contemporary significance of this doctrine to show the direct lineage that exists between phrenology and what we now call cognitive neuroscience. I then demonstrate the impact of phrenology on Comte’s sociological theory and make the claim that his paradigm exemplifies what TenHouten called ‘neurosociology.’ Following this, I show how Comte’s social epistemology rejected biological reductionism and considered neurophysiology a subfield of sociology. This results in a somewhat startling assertion: Comte saw sociology as a cognitive science. After outlining Comte’s original vision for sociology as a discipline, I place Comte’s system in critical contact with 21st century neuroscience and suggest fruitful ways to move the neurosociology paradigm forward. In this I demonstrate that Comte’s vision for sociology is worth pursuing today, even while the specifics of his doctrine are not.
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DOI 10.1177/0539018420922759
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References found in this work BETA

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition Advancing the Debate.Jonathan Evans & Keith E. Stanovich - 2013 - Perspectives on Psychological Science 8 (3):223-241.
Brainhood, Anthropological Figure of Modernity.Fernando Vidal - 2009 - History of the Human Sciences 22 (1):5-36.
The Birth of the Neuromolecular Gaze.Joelle M. Abi-Rached & Nikolas Rose - 2010 - History of the Human Sciences 23 (1):11-36.

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Citations of this work BETA

Organism and Environment in Auguste Comte.Ryan McVeigh - forthcoming - History of the Human Sciences:095269512091790.

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