chapter  6
26 Pages

Sixteen Sociology: Comte and His Successors

Eight years after the fi rst Système de politique positive1 there began to appear that work of Comte to which his fame is mainly due. The Cours de philosophie positive, the literary version of the series of lectures which he had fi rst started in 1826, and then, after recovery from his mental illness, delivered in 1829, extended to six volumes, which appeared between 1830 and 1842.2 In devoting the best years of his manhood to this theoretical task, Comte remained

1 Originally published in 1822 under the title Plan des travaux nécessaires pour réorganiser la société and republished under the above title only in 1824. [Comte reprinted his 1822 essay in an appendix to volume 4 of Système. For an English translation, see “Plan of the Scientifi c Operations Necessary for Reorganising Society”, in Auguste Comte, System of Positive Polity, translated by John Henry Bridges, Frederic Harrison, Edward Spencer Beesly, Richard Congreve, and Henry Dix Hutton (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1875-77; reprinted, New York: Burt Franklin, 1968), vol. 4, pp. 527-89.—Ed.]

2 Page references to the Cours will be to the second edition, edited by Emile Littré (Paris: J. B. Baillière et fi ls, 1864), the pagination of which is identical with that of the third and fourth, but not with that of the fi rst and fi fth editions. English quotations in the text will be taken, wherever practicable, from the admirable condensed English version by Miss Martineau, The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte, freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau, 3rd ed. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., 1893), 2 vols. In references to this edition the title will be abbreviated PP, as distinguished from the French original, referred to as Cours.