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Religions 2017, 8(8), 147; doi:10.3390/rel8080147

Auguste Comte and Consensus Formation in American Religious Thought—Part 1: The Creation of Consensus

Department of History, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
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French intellectual Auguste Comte was the most influential sociologist and philosopher of science in the Nineteenth Century. This first of two articles summarizes his complex life’s works and details reactions to them by Transcendentalists and Unitarians, from its American introduction in 1837 until just after the Civil War. Using public speeches and published essays, the article analyzes the ways in which intellectuals supported and criticized Comte’s theories. Because he wrote in such abstract and difficult French, criticisms centered not on the nuances of his work, but more superficially on his alleged atheism. These attacks occur because of a variety of consequences of the Civil War that had little to do directly with Comte’s philosophy. Instead, Comte was a convenient vehicle for expressing anxiety over a modernism that included an accelerated threat against religion posed by technology and science and the emerging dominance of that secular knowledge in universities. The second article will analyze Comte’s influence on later Transcendentalists and other post-Unitarian thinkers. View Full-Text
Keywords: Comte; positivism; community of discourse; Unitarianism; Transcendentalism Comte; positivism; community of discourse; Unitarianism; Transcendentalism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sacks, K.S. Auguste Comte and Consensus Formation in American Religious Thought—Part 1: The Creation of Consensus. Religions 2017, 8, 147.

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