Overzichtsartikel

Saint-Simon, Comte en de waan van het positivisme

Author: Walter Weyns orcid logo

  • Saint-Simon, Comte en de waan van het positivisme

    Overzichtsartikel

    Saint-Simon, Comte en de waan van het positivisme

    Author:

Abstract

The 20th century ‘Positivismusstreit’ seems a remote memory. This may at first seem a good thing, since the old debates were more often than not sterile. But there is little reason for joy. The big winner of the debate was positivism itself, not because of its arguments, but because it made a coalition with the powers that be. As an ideology, hidden under a veil of objectivity, positivism has conquered the world. We only have to look into the mirror of early positivism − when it still was radical, almost insane, even for its practitioners − to understand how radical that conquest was. Saint-Simon and Comte, the early positivists, were stubborn megalomaniacs. Yet, their megalomania is no secondary trait. Positivism, it is argued, is a scientistic totalitarianism, that catches people and things and forces them, willynilly, to function optimally. Bizarre as the positivistic notions might have seemed in the eyes of Saint-Simon’s contemporaries, as soon as we remove the old varnish, we discover something that is almost indiscernible from the ideas that occupy today’s minds. The delusions of positivism conquered our hearts and minds, were declared reality and prevail everywhere.

How to Cite:

Weyns, W., (2014) “Saint-Simon, Comte en de waan van het positivisme”, Sociologos 35(1-2), 60–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/sociologos.86844

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Published on
20 Feb 2014
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