Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

9 - The Death of the Great Priest of Humanity and His Influence

Summary

I saw in a Liverpool paper an announcement from a French paper of the death of Comte. It seems as if there would be no thinkers left in the world.

John Stuart Mill to Harriet Mill, September 16, 1857

THE DEATH OF VIEILLARD AND COMTE'S UNRAVELING

In the spring of 1857, Comte was gratified to hear from Vieillard that “all the serious men of our government” regarded positivism as “the only possible guide for the near future.” Napoleon III had even read Comte's proposition at the end of the Appel and admitted to Vieillard that neither he nor his wife really believed their son would ever take over. Comte gave Vieillard the task of telling him to make more solid preparations for the future. Ever the optimist, he hoped Napoleon III – “our dictator” – would be guided by his recommendations for a successor, although he feared the emperor was too egotistical to do so.

Soon after being given this mission, the sixty-six-year-old Vieillard died suddenly in May 1857. One aristocrat wrote of the death of this “republican” whose affectation of “honesty and independence” had secured his rise to the Senate: “The qualities of his heart were undoubtedly excellent, but except for the Emperor, who loved him, his death was a loss to no one. One can find in France 20,000 senators with the same strength.”

Castel, Horace de Viel, Mémoires sur le règne de Napoléon III 1851–1864 (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2005), 566
Schlanger, Judith E., Les Métaphores de l'organisme (Paris: Vrin, 1971), 175–9
Tulard, Jean, “Ledru-Rollin,” in Dictionnaire du Second Empire, ed. Tulard, Jean (Paris: Fayard, 1995), 719
Berkow, Robert, Beers, Mark H., and Fletcher, Andrew J., Merck Manual of Medical Information (New York: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, 1997), 602–3
Fauvety, Charles, “Nécrologie: Auguste Comte,” Revue philosophique et religieuse 8 (October 1857), 476
A Quelle Maladie a succombé Auguste Comte?La Chronique médicale 9 (March 15, 1902): 190–91
Audiffrent, Georges, A Propos du centenaire de la naissance d'un maître vénéré (Paris: Paul Ritti, 1898), 13
Centenaire de la fondation de l'Ecole Polytechnique: Auguste Comte, sa plus puissante émanation (Paris, 1894), 249
Béguet, Bruno, La Science pour tous: sur la vulgarisation scientifique en France de 1850 à 1914 (Paris: Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Métiers, 1990), 74
Bensaude-Vincent, Bernadette, “A Public for Science: The Rapid Growth of Popularization in Nineteenth Century France,” Réseaux. Communication–Technologie–Société 3, no. 1 (1995): 79, 82
Callet, Albert, “Un Legs d'Auguste Comte à l'Eglise Saint Paul, rue Sainte Antoine,” La Cité: Bulletin de la Société Historique et Archéologique du IVe arrondissement de Paris, 6 (January 1907): 407–8
Jeannolle, Charles, “Commémoration religieuse de Pierre Laffitte,” La Revue Occidentale, 2d ser., 27 (1903): 210
Laffitte, Pierre, “Commemoration funèbre de M. Auguste Hadery,” La Revue Occidentale, 13 (1884): 273
Poëy, André, M. Littré et Auguste Comte (Paris: Germain Baillière, 1880), 17
Laffitte, Pierre, “Commemoration funèbre de M. Auguste Hadery,” La Revue Occidentale, 13 (1884): 274
Littré, Emile, “Circulaire Positiviste,” in Revue philosophique et religieuse 9 (December 1857): 156–9
Catalogue des livres composant la bibliothèque des ouvrages en nombre de feu M. Comte dont la vente aux enchères publiques aura lieu en son domicile rue Monsieur le Prince, 10 le mardi 1er décembre 1857 à midi (Paris: Aug. Aubry, 1857)
Dubuisson, P., “Le Positivisme depuis la mort d'Auguste Comte,” La Revue Occidentale, 1 (1878): 134
Legrand, Louis, L'Influence du Positivisme dans l'oeuvre scolaire de Jules Ferry: Les Origines de la laïcité (Paris: Marcel Rivière, 1961), 252
Littré, Emile, “Procès de Mme Comte contre les exécuteurs testamentaires de son mari,” La Philosophie positive 3 (March–April 1870): 321–403
Paul, Harry W., “The Debate over the Bankruptcy of Science in 1895,” French Historical Studies 5 (Spring 1968): 320
Langle, P. Fleuriot, “Deux Lettres de Littré à propos de la femme d'Auguste Comte,” Mercure de France 227 (April 15, 1931), 501–2
Mme Comte,” 293; Eugène Noël, “Madame Comte à Rouen,” La Philosophie positive 21 (September–October, 1878), 242–3
Laffitte, Pierre, “Matériaux pour servir à la biographie d'Auguste Comte: Bibliothèque d'Auguste Comte,” La Revue Occidentale, 2d ser., 14 (January 1897): 129
Audiffrent, Georges, Le Cinquantenaire de la mort d'Auguste Comte (Lyon: A. Storck, 1907), 9
Laffitte, Pierre, “Commemoration funèbre de M. Auguste Hadery,” La Revue Occidentale, 13 (1884): 273
Wartelle, Jean-Claude, L'Héritage d'Auguste Comte: Histoire de «l'église positiviste» (1849–1946) (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2001), 124
Jeannolle, Charles, “Commémoration religieuse de Pierre Laffitte,” La Revue Occidentale, 2d ser., 27 (1903): 213
Gentil, Bruno, “La Maison d'Auguste Comte, témoin de l'histoire du positivisme,” Sabix: Bulletin de la Société des Amis de la Bibliothèque de l'Ecole Polytechnique, no. 30 (April 2002), 26
Harrison, Frederic, “Variétés: Pierre Laffitte,” La Revue Occidentale, 2d ser., 14 (March 1897): 246
Kaines, Joseph, “Auguste Comte en Angleterre,” La Revue Occidentale, 2nd ser., 1 (May 1890): 224–7
Gérard, Alice, “1852–1902: Auguste Comte au purgatoire,” Auguste Comte: Qui êtes-vous? ed. Ficquelmont, Gérard (Lyon: La Manufacture, 1988), 158–9
Petit, Annie, “Les Disciples de la religion positiviste,” Revue des Sciences philosophiques et théologiques 87 (2003): 93
The Letters of Gustave Flaubert, 1830–1857 ed. Steegmuller, Francis (Harvard: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 127
Auguste Comte and Positivism: The Essential Writings, ed. Lenzer, (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), xxiv, xxxii
Hughes, H. Stuart, Consciousness and Society: The Reorientation of European Social Thought, 1890–1930 (New York: Random House/Vintage Books, 1958), 37
Bresson, Léopold, “Considérations positives sur la science sociale,” La Phalange 5 (1847): 539
Heilbron, Johan, The Rise of Social Theory, trans. Gogal, Sheila (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), 254
Petit, Annie “De Comte à Durkheim: Un Héritage ambivalent,” in La Sociologie et sa méthode. Les “Règles” de Durkheim un siècle après (Paris: Harmattan, 1995), 42–70
Gane, Mike, “Durkheim contre Comte dans Les Règles,” in Durkheim d'un siècle à l'autre, ed. Cuin, Charles (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1997), 32, 38
Heilbron, Johan, “Ce que Durkehim doit à Comte,” Division du Travail et lien social: La Thèse de Durkheim un siècle après (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1993), 62, 65
Ferrarotti, Franco, An Invitation to Classical Sociology: Meditations on Some Great Social Thinkers (New York: Lexington Books, 2003), 43
LeGouis, Catherine, Positivism and Imagination: Scientism and Its Limits in Emile Hennequin, Wilhelm Scherer, and Dmitrii Pisarev, (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1997), 59–100
Harvey, Joy, “Almost a Man of Genius”: Clémence Royer, Feminism, and Nineteenth-Century Science, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997), 90, 150
Zammito, John Z., A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-Positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 8
Wernick, Andrew, “Auguste Comte (1798–1857),” in The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, ed. Turner, Bryan S. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 86
Nicolet, Claude, “Jules Ferry et la tradition positiviste,” in Jules Ferry: Fondateur de la République: Actes du colloque organisé par l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, ed. Furet, François (Paris: L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 1985), 25, 29
Nicolet, Claude, L'Idée républicaine en France: Essai d'histoire critique (Paris: Gallimard, 1982), 234
Kselman, Thomas A., Death and the Afterlife in Modern France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 140–41
Sutton, Michael, Nationalism, Positivism and Catholicism: The Politics of Charles Maurras and French Catholics 1890–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 45
Ariès, Philippe, The Hour of Our Death, trans. Weaver, Helen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 543
Weber, Eugen, Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth-Century France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962), 38–9
Lepenies, Wolf, Between Literature and Science: The Rise of Sociology, trans. Hollingdale, R. J. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 42–3
Sternhell, Zeev, Les Anti-Lumières du XVIIIe siècle à la guerre froide (Paris: Fayard, 2006), 436
Buckle, Henry Thomas, History of Civilization in England, vol. 1 (New York, 1866)
Orenstein, David Michael, “Auguste Comte (1798–1857),” in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, ed. Ritzer, George, 11 vols. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 2:655
Turner, Jonathan, “Positivism,” Encyclopedia of Sociology, ed. Borgatta, Edgar F. and Borgatta, Marie L., 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 3:1510–11
Lazinier, Emmanuel and Acevedo, Sybil, “Quelques disciples et sympathisants célèbres,” in Auguste Comte: Qui êtes-vous? ed. Ficquelmont, Gérard (Lyon: La Manufacture, 1988), 340–41
Donzelli, Maria, Origini e declino del positivismo: Saggio su Auguste Comte in Italia (Napoli: Liguori, 1999), 76, 81
Papa, Emilio P., ed., Il Positivismo e la cultura italiana (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1985)
Hilton, Ronald, “Positivism in Latin America,” Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ed. Wiener, Philip P., 5 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973–74), 3:540–45
Kury, Lorelai, “Nation, races et fétishisme: la religion de l'humanité au Brésil,” Revue d'histoire des sciences humaines, no. 8 (April 2003): 134–6
Zea, Leopoldo, Positivism in Mexico, trans. Schulte, Josephine H. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974), xiii–xv
Collier, Simon, “Positivism,” in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, ed. Tenenbaum, Barbara A., 5 vols. (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1996), 4:457–8
Eastwood, Jonathan, “Positivism and Nationalism in 19th Century France and Mexico,” Journal of Historical Sociology, 17 (December 2004): 331–57
Raat, William D., “Agustín Aragón and Mexico's Religion of Humanity,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 11 (July 1969), 441–57
Capurro, Raquel, Le Positivisme est un culte des morts: Auguste Comte (Paris: Epel, 2001), 141–54
Havens, Thomas R. H., “Comte, Mill, and the Thought of Nishi Amane in Meiji Japan,” The Journal of Asian Studies 27 (February 1968): 223
Flora, Giuseppe, The Evolution of Positivism in Bengal (Napoli: Istituto Universario Orientale, 2003), 4
Singer, Michael, The Legacy of Positivism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 84–142