Chapter

Social Physics

Edited by Bruce Caldwell

in Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226321097
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226321127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226321127.003.0015
Social Physics

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This chapter reviews the personal influence of Saint-Simon on Comte. It discusses the much confusion caused about the actual relationship by some historians constantly attributing to Saint-Simon thoughts that occur first in works that appeared under his name, but which are known to have been written by Comte, while others have tried to vindicate Comte's complete independence of thought. More surprising than anything else in Saint-Simon's career is the great fascination that he exercised toward the end of his life on younger men, some of them intellectually his superiors, who yet for years were satisfied to devil for him, to recognize him as their leader, and to bring coherence and order into the thoughts thrown out by him, and whose whole intellectual careers were determined by his influence. Of none other is this more true than of Auguste Comte, whatever in later life he may have said about “the unfortunate personal influence that overshadowed my earliest efforts” or the “depraved juggler” as whom he had come to regard Saint-Simon.

Keywords: social physics; Saint-Simon; Auguste Comte; scientific reformer; Ecole polytechnique; social phenomena; social interactions; positivists; social behavior; human behavior

Chapter.  8444 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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