Download e-book for iPad: Comte after Positivism (Modern European Philosophy) by Robert C. Scharff

By Robert C. Scharff

This publication presents the one specific, systematic reconsideration of the missed nineteenth-century positivist Auguste Comte at present to be had. except providing a correct account of what Comte truly wrote, the publication argues that Comte's positivism hasn't ever had higher modern relevance than now. delivering a lucid exposition of Comte and knowledgeable by means of huge new scholarship on his paintings, this booklet could be useful to philosophers, in particular philosophers of technology, a variety of highbrow historians, and to historians of technological know-how and psychology.

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In fact, and for historico-critical reasons that we will see later are perhaps not bad ones, Comte never engages in the kind of ontological investigations that might settle what "reality" is. "33 Each method, though present to some degree in all the sciences, predominates in that science or group of sciences for whose objects it is most suited. As for these objects themselves, Comte's position is also not a highly technical one. Mass and molecular structure are called objects of observation, but so are the familiar phenomena of our everyday surroundings.

Even through to ontology16 The scientifically regressive character of this sort of talk, argues Comte, must be clearly exposed. For given such license to speculate "beyond consciousness," Cousin and his followers have no trouble imagining that they are able to encounter any number of non-sensual "real beings" - most notably the Ego, or immaterial substance in terms of which the comings and goings of the phenomena of consciousness are explained, and God. At the same time, it is certainly not surprising that they should try to hide what they are doing.

They accepted... his goals of freedom, mastery, and progress. They adopted his method as the only way to the realization of these goals.... They shared Descartes' [epistemic] spirit. They bewailed as tragic the fact that Descartes himself.. became a dogmatic metaphysician... Their very recognition of an intimate spiritual kinship made them often vehement and always intolerant with respect to Descartes' failure. They wanted no one to identify them with Descartes the metaphysician" [Peter A. Schouls, Descartes and the Enlightenment (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press; Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989), 63-76, 173-80, quoted from 176, emphases removed] .

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