Giorgio Lanaro

Comte reflecting on Condorcet. From Critical Appraisal to Glorification

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Progress, Civilization, Middle Ages, Revolution, Industrial Society.

In 1817 Comte read Condorcet and was impressed by his attempt to establish the science of society on the basis of history. Two years later, in 1819, he emphatically praised Condorcet. However he also criticized him for sharing the philosophes' habit of judging past ages (especially the Middle Ages) by the more enlightened standards of their own time. This and other criticisms were developed in the following years: by rectifying Condorcet's errors, Comte believed he would set up the true theory of progress. After 1848 he partially modified his judgement, extolling Condorcet as his «père spirituel», while trying to efface any trace of his early association with Saint-Simon.

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