John Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte: a trans-cultural comparative epistemology of the social sciences.

Article


Robbins, Derek 2011. John Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte: a trans-cultural comparative epistemology of the social sciences. Journal of Classical Sociology. 11 (1), pp. 57-74.
AuthorsRobbins, Derek
Abstract

The paper begins by outlining the approaches to the development of a philosophy of social science in the work of Bourdieu, Passeron, and Habermas. The discussion of the positions of Comte and Mill which follows is an historical case-study of the tensions between competing stances adopted in the 1960s — between the tendency to formulate a logic of the social sciences and the tendency to ground a philosophy of social science in ontology or in the socio-political conditions of its production. The method adopted to compare the contributions to the philosophy of social science made by Comte and Mill displays sympathy with Bourdieu’s inclination to analyse the social conditions for the genesis of theory. The paper first considers comparatively the contexts in France and England for the emergence of social science and philosophy about social science. It then examines separately the developments of the projects of Comte and Mill before turning to an articulation of the contrasts between their positions, focusing on aspects of their correspondence as subsequently published and introduced by Lévy-Bruhl. The purpose of the paper is to raise the general question whether international intellectual exchange in relation to the analysis of society can occur within a universal discourse possessing a priori validity or through socio-cultural exchanges which assist the construction of universality through the mutual recognition of difference.

Keywordscross-cultural communication,; epistemology,
JournalJournal of Classical Sociology
Journal citation11 (1), pp. 57-74
ISSN1468-795X
Year2011
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1432
Publication dates
PrintFeb 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Feb 2012
Additional information

Citation:
Robbins, D. (2011) ‘John Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte: a trans-cultural comparative epistemology of the social sciences. Journal of Classical Sociology, 11 (1) 57-74.

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