<history of philosophy, biography> french philosopher (1798-1857). As an early exponent of positivism, Comte was a founder of the discipline of sociology. In an early letter to M. Valat, Comte identified a methodological culture of science. His Cours de philosophie positive (Course in Positive Philosophy) (1830-1842) traces the historical development of philosophy from its origins in theological and metaphysical thought to its culmination in observational science, especially the discipline of sociology. Comte proposed in SystĖme de politique positive (System of Positive Polity) (1851) that political development should follow a similar path, resulting in a highly-organized communitarian state. Discours sur l'Ensemble du positivisme (A General View of Positivism) (1848) offers a convenient summary of his views. Recommended Reading: Auguste Comte, Introduction to Positive Philosophy, ed. by Frederick Ferre (Hackett, 1988); Auguste Comte and Positivism: The Essential Writings, ed. by Gertrude Lenzer (Transaction, 1998); Comte: Early Political Writings, ed. by H.S. Jones (Cambridge, 1998); and Mary Pickering, Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge, 1993).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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