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Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography by Mary Pickering

By Mary Pickering

This booklet constitutes the 1st quantity of a projected two-volume highbrow biography of Auguste Comte, the founding father of smooth sociology and a philosophical move referred to as positivism. quantity One bargains a reinterpretation of Comte's "first career," (1798-1842) whilst he accomplished the medical beginning of his philosophy. It describes the interaction among Comte's rules and the ancient context of postrevolutionary France, his struggles with poverty and psychological affliction, and his unstable relationships with buddies, family members, and associates, together with such well-known contemporaries as Saint-Simon, the Saint-Simonians, Guizot, and John Stuart Mill. Pickering indicates that the fellow who known as for a brand new social philosophy in response to the sciences was once not just unwell comfortable within the most simple human relationships, but in addition profoundly puzzled the facility of the merely clinical spirit to regenerate the political and social international.

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In A Holy Commonwealth (1659), Baxter made it clear that the fundamental purpose of all temporal government is to advance the eternal welfare of souls and to glorify God. ' The everyday temporal concerns of magistery are important only in so far as they forward a subject's prospects for the afterlife, and the authoritarianism that was characteristic of most governments constituted the basic ethos of society at every rank and station. There was to be no salvation outside the true church, however, and Baxter remained a firm advocate of an established, obligatory national communion.

Access to high office remained open to those ancestral families who exhibited loyalty to the crown and a willingness to exchange eminence in warfare for distinction in the university lecture hall. And it appears that many were prepared to do just that. On the continent over a dozen new universities were established before 1600, while in England alone it has been estimated that of those males who were literate in the population at large, one in fifteen undertook some university training, about the same percentage as today.

The indispensable source for anyone wishing to express views on the civil order remained the Bible, its specific directives increasingly open to the subterranean ways of individual conscience. Some of the more important results of this personal exegesis - and the subsequent inauguration of a process whereby the text was finally set aside in favour of a more pedestrian and all too human standard -are outlined in the chapters which follow. ' betokens the strong continuities with the confessional centuries.

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