The Religion of the Engineers: Enfantin and the Saint-Simonians

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:
The Religion of the Engineers: Enfantin and the Saint-Simonians

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Less than a month after Saint-Simon's death, his friends and disciples constituted themselves into a formal association in order to realize the project of another journal that he had already discussed with them. Producteur, which appeared in six volumes in 1825 and 1826, was edited by the group under the leadership of Olinde Rodrigues, with the collaboration of Auguste Comte and some others who were not strictly members. Soon, another young engineer, Barthélemy-Prosper Enfantin, who had seen Saint-Simon only once when Rodrigues introduced him, was to become the outstanding figure of the group and the editor of its journal. Enfantin had entered the Ecole polytechnique but had left it in 1814, two years before Comte, and, like him, without completing the course. An uncommonly handsome man according to the views of his contemporaries, he seems to have possessed great personal charm, which made it possible for him gradually to swing the entire Saint-Simonian movement in the direction into which his sentimental and mystical bent led him. But Enfantin also commanded considerable powers of intellect that enabled him to make important contributions before Saint-Simonism passed from its philosophical to its religious phase.

Keywords: Producteur; Saint-Simon; Auguste Comte; Barthélemy-Prosper Enfantin; scientific reformer; Ecole polytechnique; natural science; modern socialism; positivism

Chapter.  9252 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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