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By Andrew Wernick

This e-book deals an exhilarating reinterpretation of Auguste Comte, the founding father of French sociology. Andrew Wernick offers the 1st in-depth critique of Comte's notion of faith and its position in his pondering on politics, sociology and philosophy of technology. He areas Comte's rules in the context of post-1789 French political and highbrow historical past, 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 recent and postmodern French social conception, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's method.

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See however my comment on LeÂvy-Bruhl in chap. 7 below. On primes and the number seven, see ix:130. Concerning the `sacred numbers' one, two and three: `On voit, en effet . . 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.

To study the patterning of current beliefs and institutions with an eye to what they have been, could be and are elsewhere, engages political 26 27 In physics, the primary opponent had been the metaphysical `theÂorie des entiteÂs'. Comte took it as a fundamental principle that `entities' were not phenomenally given, and that the sciences could only study produced effects. See vi:240±2. `On voit par laÁ comment l'admirable mouvement astronomique du seizieÁme sieÁcle doit neÂcessairement y conduire en®n la science aÁ une opposition directe envers la meÂtaphysique, succeÂdant partout .

La science sociale n'est pas seulement la plus importante de toutes; mais elle fournit surtout l'unique lien, aÁ la fois logique et scienti®que, que comporte deÂsormais l'ensemble de nos reÂelles contemplations' (vii:2). In fact, the positivisation of social science required both the development of the preceding ®ve positive branches of knowledge and the development of society itself to the point where the law of social as well as intellectual progress could be empirically derived. ). 28 Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity Cours had only sketched out for resolving, de®nitively, the `great social crisis' by which contemporary Europe is beset.

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