By Andrew Wernick

This ebook bargains a thrilling reinterpretation of Auguste Comte, the founding father of French sociology. Andrew Wernick offers the 1st in-depth critique of Comte's inspiration of faith and its position in his pondering on politics, sociology and philosophy of technology. He locations Comte's rules in the context of post-1789 French political and highbrow heritage, and of recent philosophy, particularly postmodernism. Wernick relates Comte to Marx and Nietzsche as seminal figures of modernity and examines key good points of contemporary and postmodern French social concept, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's procedure.

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Whereas interpretations . . cannot suddenly strike the understanding; and therefore . . must needs, in respect of the opinions of the time, seem harsh and out of tune, much as the mysteries of faith do' (1960:45). LittreÂ, an eminent translator and liberal journalist, wrote six articles on Comte in Le National at the end of 1844. It was these which ®rst gave Comte a respectful hearing in France outside the circle of his immediate admirers. See Gouhier, 1965:177. 34 Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity partisans of equally prescienti®c philosophies.

Que le premier, symbole de syntheÁse, repreÂsente aussi la sympathie; tandis que le second indique l'ordre, de®ni par l'arrangement, toujours binaire; et le dernier, propre aÁ tout eÂvolution, exprime naturellement le progreÁs' (x:101). `It is precisely because I consider M. Comte to have been a great thinker, that I regard it as a duty to balance the strong & deeply felt admiration which I express for what I deem the fundamental parts of his philosophy by an equally emphatic expression of the opposite feeling I entertain towards other parts.

41 42 43 44 In the Politique positive, Hume, Diderot and Kant are hailed as the trio who made possible this break from the `absolutist' notion of causality, though the Kantian outcome still failed to escape altogether from the metaphysical orbit. Of these, Hume's attack on causality was decisive. Kant instituted `les formules les plus propres aÁ caracteÂriser le dualisme fondamental entre le spectateur et le spectacle, entrevu par Hume et saisi par Diderot . . Mais pour devenir deÂcisive, cette substitution exigeait la deÂcouvert des veÂritables lois de l'eÂvolution mentale, c'est-aÁ-dire la fondation de la science sociale, laquelle devait reposer sur la biologie .

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