Chapter

Saint-Simonian Influence<sup>1</sup>

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/9780226321127.003.0017
Saint-Simonian Influence1

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It is not easy today to appreciate the immense stir that the Saint-Simonian movement caused for a couple of years, not only in France, but throughout Europe, or to gauge the extent of the influence that the doctrine has exercised. But there can be little doubt that this influence was far greater than is commonly realised. This chapter evaluates the influence with which the Saint-Simonians were mentioned in the literature of the time—it would seem that their celebrity was as short-lived as it was great. However, in its later years, the school had covered itself with ridicule by its pseudo-religious harlequinades and its various escapades and follies, and in consequence, many men who had absorbed most of its social and philosophical teachings might well have been ashamed to admit their association with the cranks of Ménilmontant and the men who went to the East in search of the femme libre. It was only natural that people should come to treat their Saint-Simonian period as a youthful folly of which they did not wish to boast. But that did not mean that the ideas they had then absorbed did not continue to operate in and through them, and a careful investigation, which has yet to be undertaken, would probably show how surprisingly wide that influence has extended.

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

Chapter.  12243 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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