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Look Inside Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity

Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity
The Post-theistic Program of French Social Theory


  • Date Published: November 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521023627

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • This 2001 book offers an exciting reinterpretation of Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology. Following the development of his philosophy of positivism, Comte later focused on the importance of the emotions in his philosophy resulting in the creation of a new religious system, the Religion of Humanity. Andrew Wernick provides the first in-depth critique of Comte's concept of religion and its place in his thinking on politics, sociology and philosophy of science. He places Comte's ideas in the context of post-1789 French political and intellectual history, and of modern philosophy, especially postmodernism. Wernick relates Comte to Marx and Nietzsche as seminal figures of modernity and examines key features of modern and postmodern French social theory, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's system. Wernick offers original and fascinating insights in this rich study which will attract a wide audience from sociologists and philosophers to cultural theorists and historians.

    • First in-depth critique of Comte's concept of religion - the Religion of Humanity - and its place in his thinking on politics, sociology and philosophy of science
    • Accomplished scholarly appraisal of Comte's later work, in English
    • Provides new basis for understanding modern French social theory tradition (from Durkheim and Bataille to the postmoderns), in relation to Comte's project and system
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mr Wernick's book on August Comte is brilliant. ... (He) succeeds admirably in placing Comte's religion in the context of his time and in the history of social theory in France. … This book will give any reader pause to reflect on the distinctiveness of French social theory, the problem of defining a community, and the relationship between politics and religion in both its theistic and post-theistic forms.' Mary Pickering, San Jose State University, California

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521023627
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 154 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: rethinking Comte
    2. The system and its logic (1): from positive philosophy to social science
    3. The system and its logic (2): from sociology to the subjective synthesis
    4. Religion and the crisis of industrialism
    5. Love and the social body
    6. The path to perfection
    7. Humanity as 'le vrai grand-être'
    8. Socio-theology after Comte

  • Author

    Andrew Wernick, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario
    Andrew Wernick is Professor of Cultural Studies and Sociology at Trent University, Ontario, Canada. He is Director of the Center for the Study of Theory, Culture and Politics, and Director of the Graduate Program in Methodologies for the Study of Western History and Culture. His publications include Promotional Culture (1991), Shadow of Spirit: Religion and Postmodernism (with P Berry, 1993) and Images of Ageing (with M Featherstone, 1994).

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