Warren Schmaus


Illinois Institute of Technology

Was Renouvier as Scientifically Conservative as Comte?

Over the course of his career, Renouvier moved progressively further from Comte’s positivism, defining his own philosophy of science in opposition to Comte’s. Among Renouvier’s criticisms were that Comte was not au courant in the sciences of his day, did not appreciate the directions that the sciences and mathematics were taking during his lifetime, and thus gave very conservative advice, proscribing research in sidereal astronomy, psychology, and mathematical probability and statistics. Furthermore, Renouvier claimed that Comte provided little argument in support of these opinions.