The term positivism indicates a whole of currents which derive from the thought of Auguste Count:
- at the beginning, the scientific positivism of Auguste Count (1798-1857), developed of 1830 to 1845,
- evolution of the positivism of Auguste Count towards a form " religieuse" , with its " religion" of humanity (1847-1857),
- the legal Positivism,
- the logical Positivism founded in the years 1920 by the Circle of Vienna,
- certain currents of English positivism which derive from the Altruisme comtien,
- finally contemporary neopositivism.
Positivism strongly marked the majority of the fields of the Western thought, including in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Even if the majority of the contemporary philosophers regard positivism as exceeded, it does not remain about it less than one certain positivist spirit remains through certain forms of thoughts, and than the structures which it contributed to set up are strongly marked by it.
The ideas of the positivism draw their source in certain formulations of D' Alembert and Turgot, like by their friends and pupils Lagrange and Condorcet.
One indeed sought as of second half of the 18th century to explain the Progrès human spirit (Condorcet) by the development of the " sciences positives" (Mathematical, Physical, Chemistry,…).
The philosophical current of positivism started to be structured in France in first half of the 19th century. This term was propagated by Saint-Simon (Claude Henri de Rouvroy, count of Saint-Simon) and still more popularized in Philosophie by Auguste Count, which worked narrowly with Saint-Simon, of which he was the secretary of 1817 with 1824.
Great historical stages
Scientific positivism of Auguste Count
See also: Auguste Count
The scientific positivism of Auguste Count affirms that the scientific spirit goes, by an inexorable law of the Progrès of the human Esprit , called Loi of the three states , to replace the theological Croyance S or the explanations Métaphysique S .
While becoming “positive”, the spirit would give up the question “why? ”, i.e. to seek the main causes things.
It would be limited to “how”, i.e. the formulation of the natural laws, expressed in mathematical language , while releasing, by the repeated experiment and observation aid, the constant relationships which link the phenomena, and allow to explain the reality of the facts.
Religious positivism of Auguste Count
See also: Church positivist
The positivism " religieux" , corresponds to a second phase of the thought of Auguste Count, rather different from the first.
During this time, the thought of Count derives towards a thought pseudo-nun (Religion of humanity) founded on a kind of worship of the dead ones: Count is the " large-prêtre" of humanity, the company is directed by the scientists, Humanity is a Large-Being…
It is a theory which establishes relations in company on the basis of scientific and technical law, supposed to bring the order, the Progrès, the love within the meaning of the Altruisme (love generalized with human groups broader than the union of the sexes).
The works written in this phase are:
- the System of positive policy (1851 - 1854) which develops the Sociologie according to Count,
- the " Catechism positivist " ,
- and the subjective synthesis .
See also: legal Positivism
Legal positivism is legal doctrines in which the Droit is reduced to the positive Droit such as it is described in the codes. The principal representative of this current is the Austrian Hans Kelsen (1881 - 1973), author of the constitution of Austria in 1920.
Hans Kelsen took as a starting point the Système of positive policy of Auguste Count (work written in the phase known as " religieuse" philosophy of Count) to work out a theory of the Pyramid of the standards, still called Normativisme.
Legal positivism excludes any reference to a “natural Right”. These theses are exposed in the pure Theory of the right of Hans Kelsen. The positive Droit is, moreover, one of the bases of what Hans Kelsen could call the Rule of law.
See also: logical Positivism
In the contemporary context, one assimilates positivism and the Scientisme. One calls “neopositivism” a theory which is pure and simple a Scientisme.
The neopositivism preserved original positivism only the recourse to the facts like principle of demarcation between the direction and the nonsense. The neopositivism only exploits this principle to disqualify any speculation which is not reducible with a reasoning formalisable, i.e. any philosophy called in a scorning way “Métaphysique”.
The paradox is that on the contrary, for Auguste Count, the end of the Métaphysique meant, at one time when philosophy was still locked up in diagrams pre-establish, the release of the speculative possibilities of the Philosophie.
According to the encyclical Fides and Ratio, in the current context, the taking into account of the Métaphysique does not harm the philosophical speculation, for the search for direction, for all that relates to the life sciences in particular.
The official story of the Polytechnic school is entitled " the thought préservée". This history was not updated since the First World War. A complete volume relates to Saint-Simon Claude Henri de Rouvroy, count of Saint-Simon and Auguste Count.
Relationship to utilitarianism
See also: Utilitarianism
- Year Argument for Altruism. Why Utilitarianism supports Altruism ace has guiding principle
- Position of New Advent (catholic) on the altruism
Fields influenced by positivism
Positivism exerted a considerable influence in second half of the 19th century and until the Second world war.
In the Medicine
Medicine was chronologically the first field influenced by positivism, through personalities like:
- Doctor Robinet,
- Pierre Laffitte (1823 - 1903), " converti" in 1845, which took the head of the " Church positivist " (company positivist), after the death of Auguste Count,
- Claude Bernard, doctor and physiologist French;
The influence of Auguste Count was transmitted to:
- Ernest Renan, writer, philosopher, philologist and historian French;
- Hippolyte Taine philosopher and historian;
- during the interval wars in the Circle of Vienna (logical Positivism)
- and is felt nowadays in the contemporary neopositivism, which is a form of Scientisme.
In the Right
The influence was very strong on the Droit, through the movement of the legal Positivisme:
- Theories of the Normativisme and the State of right of Hans Kelsen, which gave the positive Droit French,
- Théorie of the State of service of Leon Duguit.
In Literature, Linguistic Fiction and
Auguste Count influenced:
- Jules Verne which, in the extraordinary voyages (54 volumes), published by its editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel, gave a certain vision of the world to the Jeunesse of this time.
- Emile Littré, philologist and doctor French, author of a dictionary.
- Linguistic: the words " altruisme" , " Synergy " , are of origin positivist. The word " sociologie" was invented by Sieyès and not by Auguste Count, who only popularized it.
Mixed with others Ideology S, the influence also appeared in the economy (combined with the Saint-simonisme). John Stuart Mill, English economist, was allured by the ideas of Count, but was diverted towards 1842 of it).
Auguste Count is often regarded in France as one of the precursors of the Sociologie . In fact, the term of sociology was created by Sieyès, and the study of the social phenomena was former to Count (see Sociologie). Nevertheless, in the evolution of the last two centuries the Western thought, the positivism of Count influenced sociologists like Emile Durkheim, or Herbert Spencer (English utilitarianism).
Especially starting from second half of the 19th century:
- Charles Maurras: the founder of the French Action was very influenced by positivism and particularly by the subjective synthesis , according to Jacques Prévotat;
- the socialist movements at the 19th century were marked by positivism. Claude Allègre, in his dictionary in love with science , note that Jean Jaurès, undoubtedly marked by its time, would have attended the banquets known as republican of the " Sect " positivist;
- the General Andre, at the origin of the law on the Military service of 1905, cotoyé the company positivist and chaired the inauguration of the statue of Auguste Count place of the Sorbonne in 1902.
- Charles Maurras and several personalities of the French Action was influenced by positivism. Jacques Prévotat in the catholics and the French Action indicates that Charles Maurras had a " harms of extase" after the reading of the subjective Synthesis of Auguste Count.
In the historical Methodology
Many a Polytechnicien S was influenced until the middle of the 20th century.
The influence was felt in the form of English positivism, in certain forms of Altruisme, which through John Stuart Mill join the utilitarian theories of Jeremy Bentham. Herbert Spencer also was subject to the positivist influence.
The the United States were influenced through English positivism.
In Latin America, Raquel Capurro note that they are doctors who brought the Positivisme through the revolutionary movements which occurred on this continent with the Brésil, in Argentine, in Uruguay, where exist temples positivists. Positivism took a scientific form or " religieuse" according to the cases. The currency “ Order and progress ” figure on the Brazilian Flag ( Ordem E progresso ), it attests strong influence which positivism in Latin America had as of the end of the 19th century (see also Raquel Capurro).
In 1903, the Église positivist of Mexico buys the building of the street Payenne in Paris, where is the house of Clotilde of Are worth, and transforms the apartment of Clotilde into " cultural summary of the religion of the humanité". On the first floor, one can visit a vault of humanity, reproduction in conformity with reduced scale of the plan of temple of the Humanity which Count had designed.
Note on the spirit of the scientific research
The theses developed by Count about the middle of the 19th century are not really any more applicable to the scientific research of these last decades.
The projections of research caused to find new explanations (it “why”) of various phenomena:
the deviation of the Périhélie of Mercury (what would have made us pass beside the General relativity)
- Of other corrections of astronomical trajectories having led to discovered Uranus, Neptune and Pluton
- the law of Képler, which would have made pass beside the law of attraction of Newton.
The theory of the Big bang raises the question of the Main cause: if this one took place, it cannot by definition have Cause, but that does not imply however that one cannot find a Raison to him (see ontology), just as the sum of the angles of a triangle in Euclidean geometry has a reason without having strictly speaking causes chronologically.
A dissatisfaction created by the quantum Mécanique in the physicists comes precisely owing to the fact that we have all the means of predicting the how without having of model suggesting us the why subjacent. The same applies to the physics of the particles (why these loads and masses of particles and not of others? Why these quarks and not of others? Why these universal constants and not of others? Why these laws of physics and not of others?). To refuse to consider these questions would be to put an end to the process of research in physics, like with a chance to appease very great human curiosity in this field. It would be also the average policy-holder in never finding the answers, if answers it there A.
The rise of the cognitive Sciences in addition causes to show that with a certain granulation there is no more between the why and the how of Séparabilité as clear as that which one saw there formerly (see Autopoièse).
The two directions (scientific and religious) have jointly to refuse the Théologie and the Métaphysique in a scientific explanation. This one must only rest:
- on facts of the physical and material world supplemented of a rational process of induction
- on consequences of mathematics, and in particular of logic.
Position of some contemporaries
Christian de Perthuis, in the conclusion of its book does the future generation have a future? , watch that the scientific certainty introduced by positivism do not have any more a value today.
- Raymond Aron, after a thorough study of complete works of Auguste Count, noted that this philosophy is exceeded; its Philosophie of the history deviates from positivism.
Internal bonds; On Auguste Count and his philosophy
- Auguste Count
- religious Positivism
; On the History
; On rationalist philosophy
- Descartes distinction between methodical doubt and hyperbolic doubt
- Cogito | Discourse on Method | Meditations metaphysics
- Claude Henri de Rouvroy, count of Saint-Simon | Saint-Simonism
; On the philosophical concepts in connection with philosophy Prone positivist
- | Object | Others
- Deduction | Induction | Perception
- Cause | Causality | Main cause
- List of the concepts of philosophy
; On the developments of positivism
; On legal positivism
; On the relationship between faith and reason
- Relationship between faith and reason | Metaphysical
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