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Auguste Comte: regards croisés

Journey to Isidore

Auguste Comte’s utopian method
Mike Gane
p. 43-67

Résumés

Si Auguste Comte est connu pour être l’inventeur de la sociologie, on sait moins qu’il fut également un penseur de l’utopie. Aucun des travaux récents sur l’utopisme ne le mentionne. L’article examine la distinction qu’il introduit entre méthode objective et méthode subjective ainsi que son recours à l’idée d’utopie. Trois notions-clés sont impliquées dans le projet utopique de Comte : celles d’altruisme, de sociocratie et de religion de l’Humanité. L’auteur analyse les conséquences d’une telle entreprise sur la sociologie comtienne.

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Notes de l’auteur

On a personal note, I taught “Comte” as a topic on courses in social theory for many years at Loughborough University (almost each year from 1972-2007). At first the courses followed the formal indications given by Comte himself. But as I experimented with teaching I found the temptation to look at his fictions and utopia, and students were more than willing to participate. Some were outstanding at what I call social science fiction (not SF in the narrow sense). The utopian name used in this article (Isidore, Comte’s first Christian name) was invented by students over the years, and I acknowledge a debt to them here. I would also like to thank Michel Bourdeau, Mike Hawkins and Andrew Wernick for valuable comments on an early version of this paper.

Extrait du texte

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Plan

1. What is Utopia?
2. Comte’s subjective method
3. Isidore
4. The utopia and the real world
5. The subjective synthesis in the objective world
6. Forwards, sideways or backwards?
Conclusion

Aperçu du texte

The literature on the topic of utopia is rich and extensive as are the number of utopias composed, yet Auguste Comte’s contribution is curiously absent from the contemporary debate. It is curious for a number of reasons, not least because his was a major contribution both to the utopian method and within the sociological tradition his utopia was the first and most carefully crafted. The exclusion of his work is total: not a mention in Ruth Levitas (2013), or in Frederic Jameson (2005), and hardly a mention in Krishnan Kumar (1991—these three authors form the basis of the discussion that follows). This was not the case when H. G. Wells wrote his A Modern Utopia (2005 [1905]) and advocated the method of utopia as the key to any successful sociology, a judgement recently supported and advocated by Levitas.

What is it in Comte that suggests that either his work is no longer needed and thus forgotten, or that it contains something so horrific that it is best avoided? Even if it contained...

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Référence électronique

Mike Gane, « Journey to Isidore », Revue européenne des sciences sociales [En ligne], 54-2 | 2016, mis en ligne le 30 novembre 2019, consulté le 17 octobre 2017. URL : http://ress.revues.org/3590 ; DOI : 10.4000/ress.3590

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Auteur

Mike Gane

Loughborough University
m.j.gane2"at"lboro.ac.uk

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