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Philosophy Of The Sciences
AT the close of the Biographical History of Philosophy, after having traversed the great epochs of speculation, I endeavoured, by a few rapid touches, to sketch the position occupied by Auguste Comte, the greatest thinker of modern times,—the man whose doctrine is to the nineteenth century something more than that which Bacon's was to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Aim And Scope Of Positivism
THERE is one very injurious, though very intelligible mistake current on the subject of the Positive Philosophy. It is supposed to be a thing of dry, severe science, only interesting to scientific men—presenting only the scientific aspect of things, and leaving untouched the great questions of Emotion, of Art, of Morality, of Religion...
What Is Philosophy
WE shall find some obscurities cleared up, if we can master an accurate and comprehensive definition of philosophy. The definition I have finally settled upon is this :—Philosophy is the Explanation of the Phenomena of the Universe. By the term Explanation, the subject is restricted to the domain of the Intellect, and is thereby demarcated from Religion, though not from Theology.
Fundamental Law Of Evolution
IN the attempts made by man to explain the varied phenomena of the universe, history reveals to us three distinct and characteristic stages, by Comte named the Theological (Supernatural), the Metaphysical, and the Positive. In the first, man explains phenomena by some fanciful conception suggested by the analogies of his own consciousness.
Classification Of The Sciences
HITHERTO I have adhered very little to Comte's own exposition of his system. By a more popular and discursive exposition, I have endeavoured to familiarize the reader with the point of view from which to study the Positive Philosophy ; but in treating of the luminous conception of a new and final classification of the sciences, it will be well to do so as much as possible in Comte's own words.
What Are The Laws Of Nature
THE three great initial conceptions of the Positive Philosophy having been set forth in the preceding sections, I will now give some analysis of the six volumes of scientific exposition forming the Cours de Philosophie Positive.
Considerations On The Mathematical Sciences
THE object of Mathematical science is the measurement of magnitudes. Direct measurement, by simple immediate comparison of one magnitude with another known one, is seldom possible ; and hence the necessity for the formation of a science of measurement.
General Considerations On Astronomy
THE history of man's knowledge, the gradual growth of his conceptions on the subject of the stars, would be the history of the human mind. In Astronomy, from its very simplicity, we see with greater distinctness the procession of human thought, from the time when the course of the stars seemed prophetic of man's destiny...
Astronomy And Religion.
IT need scarcely be remarked that many interesting details must necessarily be omitted in this analysis, in order not to extend it to a length incompatible with its introductory character. To complete what is indispensable to be said on the subject of Astronomy, it will be enough to indicate 1st, the division of the science, 2nd, its hierarchical position, and, 3rd, its illustration of the doctrine...
Scope And Bearing Of Physics
Physic's, literally the science of Nature, are restricted to what, in ordinary language, is loosely termed Natural Philosophy. As the second of the Fundamental Sciences we have now to examine their position and bearing in Positive Philosophy.
Influence And Method Of Physics
THE very destination of Positive Philosophy being that of influencing the whole intellectual system of man, who moves through life by its aid, Comte's summary indication of the part played by Physics in that action must not be omitted. In the first place, its influence is necessarily less profound than that of the two terminal sciences, Astronomy and Biology.
General Considerations On Chemistry
WITH Chemistry we enter upon a science where the complexity of phenomena is greatly augmented, and where the nature of the phenomena is so sharply defined as to seem the result of essentially different forces, although, profoundly considered, there is no further difference than what arises from the variety of direction of the forces.
Position And Method Of Chemistry
WE have still to occupy ourselves with the general considerations forming the prolegomena to Chemistry, and notably with its position in the hierarchy of the sciences, and its Method. We may make this capital distinction between Physics and Chemistry : In Physics (celestial and terrestrial) we study the laws of motion communicated; in Chemistry (inorganic and organic) the laws of motion excited.
Organic Chemistry
IT may be taken as evidence of the erroneous views current among scientific men on the true nature of science as respects Classification, that a distinct body of doctrine should claim for itself a distinct existence in the shape of a Science of Organic Chemistry.
Passage From The Inorganic To The Organic
THE mysterious process by which Nature passes from the Inorganic to the Organic has in all times ardently occupied the speculation of philosophers; and in laying before the reader a brief outline of a new theory on this subject, I wish, while bespeaking his attention, to let him distinctly understand that this is no attempt to penetrate inaccessible mysteries...
Science Of Life
WE now approach the great and intensely interesting Science of Life, improperly called Physiology,—a name which it must continue for some time to bear, because certain quacks with customary ignorance have vulgarized and distorted the term Biology, and applied it, in contempt of Greek and science, to their Mesmeric operations.
Scope And Method Of Biology
IT will now be possible to venture on a definition of the Science of Life, and a circumscription of its scope and Method. We have seen that the idea of Life pre-supposes the constant correlation of two indispensable elements, an organism and a medium (understanding by medium the whole of the surrounding circumstances necessary to the existence of the organism).
Philosophical Anatomy
HAVING indicated, though briefly, the most important generalities with respect to the object, scope, and Method of the study of living beings, we may now glance at Comte's division of the subject into its statical and dynamical elements,—Anatomy, comparative and descriptive, and Physiology. Anatomy was enveloped in inextricable confusion so long as it proceeded only with a view to organs, and groups of organs.
Vital Dynamics
To the analysis of the fundamental statical condition of living beings, succeeds the co-ordination of all known organisms into one hierarchy ; in other words, to Anatomy succeeds zoological Classification. The chap-ter devoted to this subject by Comte is full of interest, but I must pass it over with a mere indication.
Vital Dynamics : Materialism Or Immaterialism ?
IN passing from the study of the functions of Organic Life, to the more complex phenomena of results, we enter a new, a more difficult field ; and one in which the present state of the science is necessarily less perfect.
Vital Dynamics: Instinct And Intelligence
THE study of Animal Life starts, as we have seen, from the localization of the two capital properties—Contractility and Sensibility in two fundamental tissues—the muscular and nervous.
Psychology : A New Cerebral Theory
IT will be necessary in this section to set aside the Cours de Philosophie Positive for Comte's latest work, Politique Positive, in which he propounds a new cerebral theory, as an improvement on that propounded by Gall. Before doing so, however, a few general remarks may be permitted with reference to the object and methods of psychological research.
Science - The Three Reigning Doctrines
WE have seen in the course of our progress through the Preliminary Sciences a gradually increasing complexity of phenomena with a corresponding increase of difficulty in their scientific co-ordination ; hence we have seen the earlier sciences completely positive, freed from theological and metaphysical Methods.
Attempts To Create A Doctrine
THE foregoing analysis of the systems which at present rule political discussions, has demonstrated their inability to direct social reorganization. It now only remains for us to point out the principal social dangers which result from the prolongation of such an intellectual condition, and which, from their very nature, grow worse day by day.
General Spirit Of Sociology
AFTER these general indications, intended to show the urgency and opportuneness of social science, Comte enters upon the characteristics of the positive Method in the rational study of social phenomena. On considering the present state of social science, it is impossible not to recognize the combination of the various characters which have always distinguished the theologico-metaphysical infancy of all other branches of philosophy.
Social Statics : Method And Elements
IN Sociology, as in Biology, scientific investigation em-ploys conjointly the three methods of the general Art of Observation : that is to say, Observation, Experiment, and Comparison. We must here therefore consider the relative position and peculiar character of these successive modes of procedure.
Social Dynamics
IN the preceding static considerations, we have seen individual life characterized by direct predominance of personal instincts, domestic life by the continuous operation of sympathetic instincts,—and social life by the special development of intellectual influences.
Ages Of Fetichism And Polytheism
THE historical analysis now to be sketched will concentrate itself upon one social series ; that is to say, it will consider exclusively the actual development of the most advanced populations ; putting aside the other centres of independent civilization whose evolution has hitherto been impeded...
Catholicism: Middle Ages
IT was Catholicism alone, justly entitled Roman, that could work out in western Europe the characteristic properties of the monotheistic system. As the introduction of a spiritual power entirely distinct from and utterly independent of temporal power, constituted in the middle ages the principal attribute of such a political system, we must proceed to an appreciation of this grand social creation.
Transition Age
STARTING from the point at which our historical elaboration has now arrived, the study of this Transition Age will constitute the object of the rest of our analysis.
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