By Andrew Wernick
This booklet deals an exhilarating reinterpretation of Auguste Comte, the founding father of French sociology. Andrew Wernick offers the 1st in-depth critique of Comte's thought of faith and its position in his considering on politics, sociology and philosophy of technology. He locations Comte's rules in the context of post-1789 French political and highbrow background, and of recent philosophy, in particular 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 method.
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Extra info for Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity: The Post-theistic Program of French Social Theory
On such an account, what characterises scienti®c knowledge is that it is at once phenomenalist, nomothetic, predictive and instrumental, elements which are elegantly blended together in the third aphorism of Bacon's Novum Organum: `Human knowledge and power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule' (1960:39). The same formula guides Comte's attempt to launch a social science whose scienti®city would guarantee its human usefulness.
In Politique positive it becomes ®xed as a doctrine in the training of Positivist clergy, and its practical intervention is restricted to providing reasons for sustaining society in its now perfected form. The unifying effects of this philosophy, indeed, will be more complete than ever before. `La principale proprieÂteÂ intellectuelle de l'eÂtat positif consistera certainement en son aptitude spontaneÂe aÁ deÂterminer et maintenir une entieÁre coheÂrence mentale, qui n'a pu encore exister jamais aÁ un pareil degreÂ, meÃme chez les esprits les mieux organiseÂs et les plus avancËeÂs' (vi:789).
See Gouhier, 1965:177. 34 Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity partisans of equally prescienti®c philosophies. ). On the other was the `retrograde party' of royalist counter-revolutionaries attached to the illusory absolutisms of Catholic dogma. Divided by a one-sided attachment either to reason and progress, or to faith and order, both camps were equally doctrinaire and equally incapable of thinking the reconstruction of the shattered social order in line with its actual laws and requirements (iv:8±9).