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BOHN'S PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY



THE POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY OF
AUGUSTE COMTE

VOL. 111.



GEORGE BELL & SONS

LONDON : YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN
AND NEW YORK, 66, FIFTH AVENUE
CAMBRIDGE : DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.



THE

POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY



OF



AUGUSTE COMTE

FREELY TRANSLATED AND CONDENSED BY

HARRIET MARTINEAU

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

FREDERIC HARRISON
IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. in.




LONDON

GEORGE BELL & SONS

1896



CHISWICK PRESS I — CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



CoHege
Library

3

£rH5
V. 5



CONTENTS.

BOOK VI.
SOCIAL PHYSICS.

CHAPTER VII.

PREPARATION OF THE HISTORICAL QUESTION.— FIRST THEO-
LOGICAL PHASE: FETICHISM. — BEGINNING OF THE
THEOLOGICAL AND MILITARY SYSTEM.

PAGE

Limitations of the analysis ....... 1

Abstract treatment of History ...... 3

Abstract inquiry into laws ....... 4

Co-existence of successive states ...... 6

Fetichism ........... 7

Starting-point of the human race ...... 7

Relation of Fetichism to Morals . . . . . .10

To Language . . . . . . . . . .11

To Intellect 12

To Society 13

Astrolatry 14

Relation of Fetichism to human knowledge .... 15
To the line arts ......... 16

To Industry 17

Political influence . . . . . . . . .18

Institution of Agriculture ....... 21

Protection to products ........ 22

Transition to Polytheism ........ 24

The Metaphysical spirit traceable 27

CHAPTER VIII.

SECOND PHASE: POLYTHEISM.— DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEO-
LOGICAL AND MILITARY SYSTEM.

True sense of Polytheism 30

Its operation on the human Mind . . . . . .31

Polytheistic Science. ........ 33



15G9900



VI CONTENTS.

Polytheistic Art

Polytheistic Industry

Social attributes of Polytheism

Polity of Polytheism

Worship ....

Civilization by War .

Sacerdotal sanctions

Two characteristics of the polity

Slavery

Concentration of spiritual and temporal

Morality of Polytheism .

.Moral effects of Slavery .

Subordination of morality to polity

Personal morality

Social morality

Domestic morality .

Three phases of Polytheism

The Egyptian, or theocratic

Caste ....

The Greek, or intellectual

Science ....

Philosophy

The Roman, or Military .

Conquest ....

Morality ....

Intellectual develoi^ment .

Preparation for monotheism

The Jews ....



power



PAGE
36

43

44
45
46
47
48
50
50
52
55
55
56
58
59
59
61
61
61
66
68
70
72
73
74
75
76
79



CHAPTER IX.

AGE OF MONOTHEISM. — MODIFICATION OF THE THEOLOGICAL
AND MILITARY SYSTEM.

Catholicism, the form ........ 82

Principle of political rule. ....... 83

The great proldeni ......... 87

Separation of spiritual and temporal power .... 87

Transposition of morals and politics ..... 88

Function of each 89

The speculative class 90

The Catholic system 91

Ecclesiastical organization ....... 92

Elective principle ......... 93

Monastic Institutions 94

Special education of tlie clergy 94

Restriction of inspiration. ....... 95

Ecclesiastical celibacy ........ 96

Temporal sovereignty of the Popes ...... 97

Educational function 99



CONTENTS.



Dogmatic conditions

Dogma of exclusive salvation .

Of the Fall of Man ....

Of Purgatory .....

Of Christ's divinity ....

Of the Real Presence

Worsliip ......

Significance of controversies .
Temporal organization of the regime
The Germanic invasions .
Rise of Defensive system .
Of territorial independence
Slaveiy converted into serfage.
Intervention of the Church tliroughout
Institution of chivalry
Operation of the Feudal system
Moral aspect of the regime
Rise of Morality over Polity .
Source of moral influence of Catholicism.
Moral types .....

Personal morality under Catholicism
Domestic ......

Social ......

Intellectual aspect of the regime
Philosojahy .....

Science

Art

Industry ......

Provisional nature of the regime

Division between Natural and Moral philosophy

The Metaphysical s]>irit .

Temporal decline ....

Conclusion .....



Vll
'AUK

102
103
103
104
104
104
105
105
106
106
108
108
109
109
111
112
113
113
115
119
119
120
122
123
125
126
127
128
129
LSO
131
132
133



CHAPTER X.



METAPHYSICAL STATE, AND CRITICAL PERIOD OF MODERN
SOCIETY.



Conduct of the inquiry
Necessity of a transitional state
Its commencement ....
Division of the critical period .
Caiises of spontaneous decline .
Decline under negative doctrine
Character of the provisional philosojjhy
Christian period of the doctrine
Deistical period ....
Organs of the doctrine
Scholasticism .....



135
137

1.37
139
1.39
142
143
144
144
140
147



Vlll CONTENTS.

The Legists

Period of spontaneous spiritual decline
Spontaneous temporal decline .
True character of the Reformation .

The Jesuits

Final decay of Catholicism
Vices of Protestantism
Temporal dictatorship
Royal and Aristocratic .
Rise of Ministerial function
Military decline ....

Rise of Diplomatic function
Intellectual influence of Protestantism
Catholic share in Protestant results
Jansenism ; Quietism
Moral Influence of Protestantism .
Three stages of dissolution
Lutheranism .....

Calvinism ......

Socinianism .....

Quakerism .....

Political revolutions of Protestantism
Holland ; England ; America .
Attendant errors ....

Suhjection of spiritual power .
Moral changes under Protestantism
Stage of full development of the Critical
Protestantism op]iosed to progress .
The negative philosophy .
Three periods of the negative philosophy
Systematized .....

Hobhes ......

Its intellectual character .

Its moral character ....

Its political character

Its propagation ....

School of Voltaire ....

Its political action ....

School of Rousseau ....

The Economists ....

Attendant evils ....



doct



PAGE

148
l.-)0
lo2
154
155
156
158
159
159
162
163
165
167
170
170
171
173
173
173
173
174
174
175
176
176
178
ISO
181
182
184
185
185
186
187
187
189
192
194
194
196
197



CHAPTER XI.

RISE OF THE ELEMENT.? OF THE POSITIVE STATE.-
FOR SOCIAL REORGANIZATION.



-PREPARATION



Date of modern history .
Ilise of new elements
Philosophical order of employments



199
200
201



CONTENTS. IX

PAGE

Classifications .......... 202

Order of succession ......... 203

The Industrial Movement 206

Birth of political liberty 209

Characteristics of the Industrial movement . . . .211
Personal effect . . . . . . . . . .211

Domestic effect 212

Social effect .......... 213

Industrial policy . 215

Kelation to Catholicism . . . . . . . .216

Relation to the temporal authority . . . . . .217

Administration . 217

Three periods .......... 218

Paid armies .......... 219

Rise of public credit . . . . . . . .219

Political alliances . . . . . . . . .219

Mechanical inventions ........ 220

The Compass; Fire-arms. 220

Printing 221

Maritime discovery ......... 223

Second period .......... 223

Colonial system ......... 225

Slavery 226

Third period 227

Final subordination of the Military spirit .... 227

Spread of Industry ......... 228

The Intellectual Movement 231

The pesthetic development ....... 231

Intellectual Originality . 233

Relation of Art to Industry ....... 235

Critical character of Art ........ 237

Retrograde character . 239

Relation of Art to politics . . . . . . . 240

Spread of Art 243

The scientific development 245

New birth of science 246

Relation to Monotheism . 247

Astrology 250

Alchemy 251

F'irst modern phase of progress 252

Second phase 254

Filiation of discoveries ........ 255

Relation of science to old philosophy 256

Galileo 257

Social relations of science ....... 257

Third phase 258

Relations of Discoveries ........ 259

Stage of specialty . . . . . . . . .261

Tlve philosophical development ...... 262

Reason and Faith ......... 262

Bacon and Descartes ........ 265



X CONTENTS.

PAGE

Political philosophy 268

Third phase 269

The Scotch School 269

Political philosophy 270

Idea of Progression 270

Gajis to be supplied . . . . . . . . .271

In Industry .......... 271

In Art .' 274

In Philosophy 275

In Science. .......... 275

Existing needs 275



CHAPTER XII.

BEVIEW OF THE REVOLUTIONARY CRISIS. —ASCERTAINMENT OF
THE FINAL TENDENCY OF MODERN SOCIETY.



France first revolutionized

Precursory events .....

First stage. — The Constituent Assembly

Second stage. — The National Convention

Alliance of foes

Constitutional attempt .

Military ascendancy

Napoleon Bonaparte

Restoration of the Bourbons

Fall of the Bourbons

The next reign .

Extension of the movement

Completion of the Theological deca;\

Decay of the Military system

Recent Industrial jirogress

Recent ^Esthetic progress

Recent Scientific progress

Abuses ....

Recent Philosophical progress

The law of evolution

Speculative preparation .

The spiritual authority .

Its Educational function .

Regeneration of Morality.

International duty .

Basis of Assent

The Temporal authority .

Public and private function

Principle of co-ordination

Speculative classes highest

Tlie Practical classes

Privileges and comjiensations

Practical privacy



277
278
279
280
282
284
285
285
288
289
290
291
292
295
297
299
300
302
307
310
312
313
319
3-21
322
323
325
325
326
328
.329
329
.331



CONTENTS.



Practical freedom

Popular claims ....

Reciprocal effects

Preparatory stapje

Promotion of Order and Progress

National participation

France ; Italy ; Germany

England .....

Spain .....

Co-operation of Thinkers .

Summary of results under the Sociological theory



CHAPTER XIII.

FINAL ESTIMATE OF THE POSITIVE METHOD.



Principle of Unity .

Which element sliall prevail

First general Conclusion .

The Mathematical element
' The Sociological element .
/solves antagonisms .

Spirit of the Method
'Mature of tlie ^Method

Inquiry into laws

Accordance with common sense

Conception of Natural laws

Logical method

Scientific method

Stahility of opinions

Destination of the Method

The Individual.

The Race ....

Speculative life

Practical life

Liberty of method .

Extension of the positive metliod

Abstract of concrete Science

Relations of phases .

Mathematics

Astronomy

Physics and Chemistry

Biology

Sociology .



Xll



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XIV.

ESTIMATE OF THE RESULTS OF POSITIVE DOCTRINE IN ITS
PREPARATORY STAGE.

PAGE

The Mathematical element 387

Application to Sociology 388

The Astronomical element 391

The Physical 392

The Chemical 393

The Biological 395

The Sociological 397



CHAPTER XV.

ESTIMATE OF THE FINAL ACTION OF THE POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY.



The scientific action.
Abstract speculation
Concrete research
The moral action
Personal morality
Domestic morality
Social morality.
Political action
Double government
The .'esthetic action
The Five Nations
Concluding Considerations



401
402
403
405
405
406
407
408
409
412
414
414



THE POSITIA^E PHILOSOPHY OF
AUGUSTE COMTE.

CHAPTER VII.

PREPARATION OF THE HISTORICAL QUESTION. — FIRST THEO-
LOGICAL PHASE : FETICHISM. BEGINNING OF THE THEO-
LOGICAL AND MILITARY SYSTEM.

''I^HE best way of proving that iny priuciple of social
J- development will ultimately regenerate social science,
is to show that it affords a pei'fect interpretation of the
past of human society, — at least in its principal phases.
If, by this method, any conception of its scope and proper
application can be obtained, future philosophers can extend
the theory to new analyses, and more and more special
aspects of human progression. The application which I
propose now to enter upon must, however, in order to be
brief, be restricted ; and the first part of my task is to
show what the restrictions must be.

The most important of these restrictions. ...
and the one which comprehends all the rest, th""anliVySs
is, that we must confine our analysis to a ' '

single social series ; that is, we must study exclusively the
development of the most advanced nations, not allowing
our attention to be drawn oif to other centres of any inde-
pendent civilization which has, from any cause whatever,
been arrested, and left in an imperfect state. It is the
selectest part, the vanguard of the human race, that we
have to study : the greater part of the white race, or the
European nations, — even restricting ourselves, at least in
regard to modern times, to the nations of Western Europe.
When we ascend into the remoter past, it will be in search

III. B



2 POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY.

of the political ancestors of these peoples, whatever their
country may be. In short, we are here concerned only
with social phenomena which have influenced, more or less,
the gradual disclosure of the connected phases that have
brought up mankind to its existing state. If Bossuet was
guided by literary principle in restricting his historical
estimate to one homogeneous and continuous series, it
appears to me that he fulfilled not less successfully the
philosophical conditions of the inqiiiry. Those who would
produce their whole stock of erudition, and mix up with
the review such populations as those of India and China
and others that have not aided the process of develop-
ment, may reproach Bossuet with his limitations : but not
the less is his exposition, in philosophical eyes, truly
universal. Unless we proceed in this way, we lose sight
of all the political relations arising from the action of the
more advanced on the progress of inferior nations. The
metaphysical, and even the theological polity seeks to
realize its absolute conceptions everywhere, and under all
circumstances, by the same empiricism, which disposes
civilized men everywhere to transplant into all soils their
ideas, customs, and institutions. The consequences are
such that practice requires as imperatively as theory that
we should concentrate our view upon the most advanced
social progression. When we have learned what to look
for from the ('life of humanity, we shall know how the
superior portion should intervene for the advantage of the
inferior ; and we cannot understand the fact, or the con-
sequent function, in any other way : for the view of co-
existing states of inequality could not help us. Our first
limit then is that we are to concentrate our sociological
analysis on the historical estimate of the most advanced
social development.

For this object we want only the best-known facts ; and
they are so perfectly co-ordinated by the law of the three
periods, that the largest phases of social life form a ready
and complete eluciclation of the law ; and when we have
to contemplate the more special aspects of society, we have
only to apply in a secondary way the corresponding sub-
divisions of the law to the internuHliiite social states.
Social physiology being thus directly founded, its leading



HISTORICAL STATEMENT ABSTRACT. 6

conception will be more and more precisely wrought out
by our successors by its application to shorter and shorter
intervals, the last perfection of which would be, if it could
be reached, that the true filiation of every kind of progress
should be traced from generation to generation.

In this department of science, as in every other, the
commonest facts ai-e the most important. In our search
for the laws of society, we shall find that excejjtional events
and minute details must be discarded as essentially insig-
nificant, while science lays hold of the most general pheno-
mena which everybody is familiar with, as constituting the
basis of ordinary social life. It is true, popular prejudice
is against this method of study ; in the same way that
physics were till lately studied in thunder and volcanoes,
and biology in monstrosities : and there is no doubt that
a reformation in our ignorant intellectual habits is even
more necessary in Sociology than in regard to any of the
other sciences.

The restrictions that I have proposed are Abstract treat-
not new, or peculiar to the latest department ment of His-
of study. They appear in all the rest under ^°0'-
the form of the distinction between abstract and concrete
science. We find it in the division which is made between
physics and natural history, the first of which is the appro-
priate field of positive philosophy. The division does not
become less indispensable as phenomena become more
complex : and it in fact decides, in the clearest and most
precise manner, the true office of historical observation in
the rational study of social dynamics. Though, as Bacon
observed, the abstract determination of the general laws
of individual life rests on facts derived from the history
of various living beings, we do not the less carefully
sepai'ate physiological or anatomical conceptions from their
conci-ete application to the total mode of existence proper
to each organism. In the same way we must avoid con-
founding the abstract research into the laws of social
existence with the concrete histories of human societies,
the explanation of which can result only from a very
advanced knowledge of the whole of these laws. Our
employment of history in this inquiry, then, must be
essentially abstract. It would, in fact, be history without



4 POSITIVE PHILOSOPHY.

the names of men, or even of nations, if it were not neces-
sary to avoid all such j^uerile affectation as there would be
in depriving ourselves of the use of names which may
elucidate our exposition, or consolidate our thought. The
further we look into this branch of science, as well as
others, the more we shall find that natural history, essen-
tially synthetic, requires, to become rational, that all
elementary orders of phenomena sliould be considered at
once : whereas, natural philosoi^hy must be analytical, in
order to discover the laws which correspond to each of the
general categories. Thus the natural history of humanity
involves the history of the globe and all its conditions,
physical, chemical, and everything else : while the philo-
sophy of society cannot even exist till the entire system of
preceding sciences is formed, and the whole mass of his-
torical information offered as material for its analysis.
The function of Sociology is to derive, from this mass of
unconnected material, information which, by the principles
of the biological theory of Man, may yield the laws of
social life; ea(;h portion of this material being carefully
prepared by stripping off from it whatever is peculiar or
irrelevant, — all circumstances, for instance, of climate,
locality, etc., — in order to transfer it from the concrete to
the abstract. This is merely what is done by astronomers,
physicists, chemists, and biologists, in regard to the pheno-
mena they have to treat ; but the complexity of social
phenomena will always render the process more delicate
and difficult in their case, even when the positivity of the
science shall be universally admitted. As for the reaction
of this scientific treatment on History itself, I hope that
the following chapters will show that it sets up a series of
immutable landmarks throughout the whole past of human
experience ; that these landmarks afford direction and a
rallying-pomt to all subsequent observations ; and that
they become more frequent as we descend to modern times,
and social progression is accelerated.

Ahstiact in- As the abstract history of humanity must

(jiiiry into be separated from the concrete, so must the

law.s. abstract inquiry into the laws of society be

separated from questions of concrete Sociology. Science
is not yet advanced enough for this last. For instance.



ABSTRACT INQUIRY INTO LAWS. 5

geological consideratious must enter into such concrete
inquiry, and we have but little positive knowledge of
geology : and the same is true of questions of climate,
race, etc., which never can become positively imderstood
till we can apply to them the sociological laws which we
must attain through the abstract part of the study. The
institution of social dynamics would be in fact impossible,
if we did not defer to a future time the formation of con-
crete sociology ; and ready as we are to pursue this course
in regard to other sciences, there can be no reason why we
should resist it here. — As an instance of this necessity, let
us take the most imjjortant sociological inquiry that pre-
sents itself, — the question of tlie scene and agent of the
chief progression of the race. Why is Europe the scene,
and why is the white race the agent, of the highest civili-
zation ? This question must have often excited the curio-
sity of philosophers and statesmen ; yet it must remain
prematui"e, and incapable of settlement by any ingenuity,
till the fundamental laws of social development are ascer-
tained by the abstract research. No doubt, we are be-
ginning to see, in the organization of the whites, and
especially in their cerebral constitution, some positive
germs of superiority ; though even on this naturalists are
not agreed : and again, we observe certain physical, chemi-
cal, and biological conditions which must have contributed
to render European countries j^eculiarly fit to be the scene
of high civilization : but if a trained philosophical mind
were to collect and arrange all the material for a judgment
that we possess, its insufficiency would be immediately
apparent. It is not that the material is scanty or imper-
fect. The deficiency is of a S(^ciological theory which may
reveal the scope and bearing of every view, and direct all
reasoning to which it may give rise : and in the abseni-.e
of such a theory, we can never know that we have assembled
all the requisites essential to a rational decision. In every
other case is the postponement of the concrete study as
necessary as in this : and if the novelty and difficulty of
my creative task should compel me occasionally to desert
my own logit-al precept, the Avarning I have now given
will enable the reader to rectify any errors into which I
may lapse.



6 . POSITIVK PHILOSOPHY.

Coexistence On© more preliminary consideration re-

of successive mains. We must determine more precisely
states. than I have yet done the regular mode of

definition of the successive periods which we are about to
examine. The law of evolution, no doubt, connects the
chief historical phases with the corresponding one of the
three periods : but there is an uncertainty of a secondary
kind for which I must provide a solution. It arises out of the
unequal progression of the different orders of ideas, which
occasions the coexistence, for instance, of the metaphysical
state of some intellectual category with the theological
state of a later category, less general and less advanced, —
or with tlie positive state of a former category, less complex
and more advanced. The apparent confusion thus pro-
duced must occasion j^erplexing doubts in minds which
are not in possession of the explanation about the true
philosophical character of the corresponding times : but
the hesitation may be obviated or relieved by its being
settled what intellectual category is to decide the specula-
tive state of any period. On all accounts, the decision
must be grounded on the most complex and special ; that
is, the category of moral and social ideas, — not only on
account of their eminent importance, but from their position
at the extremity of the encyclopedical scale. The intel-
lectual character of each j^eriod is governed by that order
of speculations ; and it is not till any new mental regime
has reached that category that the corresj^onding evolution
can be regarded as realized, beyond all danger of a return
to the prior state. Till then, the more rapid advance of
the more general categories can only establish in each
jjhase the germs of the next, without its own character
being much affected; or can, at most, introduce subdivisions
into the period. J'or instance, the theological period must
be regarded as still subsisting, as long as moral and politi-



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