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This volume continues to explore the life and works of Auguste Comte during his so-called second career. It covers the period from the coup d'état of Louis Napoleon in late 1851 to Comte's death in 1857. During these early years of the Second Empire, Comte became increasingly conservative and anxious to control his disciples. This study offers the first study of the tensions within his movement. Focusing on his second masterpiece, the Système de politique positive, and other important books, such as the Synthèse subjective, Mary Pickering not only sheds light on Comte's intellectual development but also traces the dissemination of positivism and the Religion of Humanity throughout many parts of the world.
This volume begins to explore the life and works of Auguste Comte during his so-called second career, the controversial period that began in 1842 and lasted until his death. This volume covers the years from 1842 to 1852, when Comte transformed his positive philosophy into a political and religious movement. It represents the first in-depth study of that movement. Focusing on key books, such as the Discours sur l'ensemble du positivisme, Mary Pickering connects Comte's intellectual development to the tumultuous historical context and to episodes in his personal life, especially his famous relationship with Clotilde de Vaux. The book examines for the first time why workers, doctors, women, and famous writers, such as John Stuart Mill, George Henry Lewes, and Emile Littré, were drawn to his thought.
This book constitutes the first volume of a two-volume intellectual biography of Auguste Comte, the founder of modern sociology and a philosophical movement called positivism. Volume One offers a reinterpretation of Comte's 'first career' (1798–1842), when he completed the scientific foundation of his philosophy. It describes the interplay between Comte's ideas and the historical context of post-revolutionary France, his struggles with poverty and mental illness, and his volatile relationships with friends, family and colleagues, including such famous contemporaries as Saint-Simon, the Saint-Simonians, Guizot and John Stuart Mill. Pickering shows that the man who called for a new social philosophy based on the sciences was not only ill at ease in the most basic human relationships, but also profoundly questioned the ability of the purely scientific spirit to regenerate the political and social world.
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