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

By Robert C. Scharff

This publication offers the one special, systematic reconsideration of the ignored 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 larger modern relevance than now. supplying a lucid exposition of Comte and knowledgeable by means of huge new scholarship on his paintings, this ebook can be beneficial to philosophers, particularly philosophers of technological know-how, a variety of highbrow historians, and to historians of technology and psychology.

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Either one questions the authority of consciousness as such or one follows it unreservedly . . 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.

8 CPP1(2), 112 [F, 66]. " 9 CPP3(45), 762-63. l. 22 MILL VERSUS COMTE ON INTERIOR OBSERVATION ing to upgrade theologico-metaphysical knowledge of human nature by means of his meditative procedure, Descartes gave countless subsequent thinkers a strategy by which they, too, could chain the study of mental life to the old prescientific model. References to Descartes himself notwithstanding, then, Comte's critique of psychology and interior observation is directed mainly against later versions of Cartesian meditation whose practitioners had much less excuse than Descartes himself for embracing it.

Their psychology is sensationalistic, de Bonald argues, and sensationalism, by giving our ideas a material origin, violates the fundamental principle that reason is a function of the immaterial soul rather than our bodily organs (Recherches, I, 296-315). 30 MILL VERSUS COMTE ON INTERIOR OBSERVATION be blank! 31 When "self-observation" is defined in this way, it is, of course, logically contradictory. Yet Comte's argument clearly turns on a conception of observation whose problematic character he does not consider.

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