Read e-book online Comte after Positivism (Modern European Philosophy) PDF

By Robert C. Scharff

ISBN-10: 0521893038

ISBN-13: 9780521893039

This e-book presents the single exact, systematic reconsideration of the ignored nineteenth-century positivist Auguste Comte at the moment on hand. except supplying a correct account of what Comte really wrote, the e-book argues that Comte's positivism hasn't ever had better modern relevance than now. delivering a lucid exposition of Comte and educated by means of substantial new scholarship on his paintings, this publication could be worthy to philosophers, specifically philosophers of technology, quite a lot of highbrow historians, and to historians of technology and psychology.

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Example text

With the 16 Fragmens philosophiques, xiv. 17 CPP1(1), 34-35 [F, 20]. "18 Nowhere is this more clearly the case than in connection with their promotion of rationalistic doctrines of the soul. Taking advantage of the still incomplete state of genuinely scientific knowledge of human beings, metaphysicians claim to use interior observation to obtain knowledge of those most complex aspects of human life that science has so far cautiously refrained from saying it understands. The bankruptcy of their claims, however, is already demonstrated by their failure to reach agreement on a single internally observed discovery.

12 In addition to CPP, the main sources are SPP and an early article [Journal de Paris (1828)], "Examen du traite de Broussais sur l'irritation," reprinted SPP4a, 217-29/645-53. Comte's earliest expression of opposition to interior observation as contradictory seems to be in a letter to Pierre Valat (Sept. 24, 1819), Lettres d'Auguste Comte a M. Valat (Paris: Dunod, 1870), 89-90. "Ideologic" is there lumped together with "[systematic] logic and metaphysics" as hopelessly a priori and incapable of being receptive to the observation of facts (90-91).

Out of necessity, my treatment of that law is somewhat unconventional. In the usual accounts, it is handled unsympathetically and summarily, either because of its alleged lack of empirical warrant or because it seems to be merely the first principle of an old-fashioned speculative philosophy of history. My own account attends more carefully and less polemically to the law's substantive particulars - not because I care about its scientific value or wish to revive the metaphysics of history but because, without a clear grasp of the way Comte's law interprets each stage, it is easy to miss and impossible to understand his reflective use of it.

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Comte after Positivism (Modern European Philosophy) by Robert C. Scharff


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