Auguste Comte And Positivism by John Stuart Mill

By John Stuart Mill

For a while a lot has been stated, in England and at the Continent, bearing on "Positivism" and "the confident Philosophy." these words, which in the course of the lifetime of the eminent philosopher who brought them had made their manner into no writings or discussions yet these of his only a few direct disciples, have emerged from the depths and manifested themselves at the floor of the philosophy of the age. it isn't very well known what they signify, however it is known that they symbolize anything.

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Comte had announced four other treatises as in contemplation: on Politics; on the Philosophy of Mathematics; on Education, a project subsequently enlarged to include the systematization of Morals; and on Industry, or the action of man upon external nature. Our list comprises the only two of these which he lived to execute. It further contains a brief exposition of his final doctrines, in the form of a Dialogue, or, as he terms it, a Catechism, of which a translation has been published by his principal English adherent, Mr Congreve.

Littré, as he confesses, to a length which his calmer judgment does not now approve. These various writings raise many points of interest regarding M. Comte's personal history, and some, not without philosophic bearings, respecting his mental habits: from all which matters we shall abstain, with the exception of two, which he himself proclaimed with great emphasis, and a knowledge of which is almost indispensable to an apprehension of the characteristic difference between his second career and his first.

Comte has been subjected to unworthy ridicule, but there is nothing truer or more honourable to him in the whole body of his doctrines. The strong sense he always shows of the worth of the inferior animals, and of the duties of mankind towards them, is one of the very finest traits of his character. We, therefore, not only hold that M. Comte was justified in the attempt to develope his philosophy into a religion, and had realized the essential conditions of one, but that all other religions are made better in proportion as, in their practical result, they are brought to coincide with that which he aimed at constructing.

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