Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 485
Gould, F. J. Auguste Comte. London: Watts, 1920. This biography, though brief, provides a balanced survey of Auguste Comte’s life and thought. It provides information on his intellectual circle and a full treatment of his ideas. The curious positivist calendar is appended.
Harp, Gillis J. Positivist Republic: Auguste Comte and the Reconstruction of American Liberalism, 1865-1920. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995. This book examines how Comte’s thoughts influenced the political arena.
Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien. The Philosophy of Auguste Comte. Translated by Kathleen de Beaumont-Klein. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903. A thorough and sympathetic treatment of Comte’s thought by a highly regarded French scholar. Takes issue with John Stuart Mill’s contention that there are serious discrepancies between Comte’s early and later writings.
Manuel, Frank. The Prophets of Paris. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961. This survey of a number of important French social philosophers devotes an illuminating chapter to Comte and provides a good perspective from which to assess Comte in relation to his intellectual milieu. Seen in the company of other visionaries, his detailed prescriptions are somewhat less puzzling.
Mill, John Stuart. Auguste Comte and Positivism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961. First published in 1865, this critical assessment of Comte’s ideas remains one of the most important books by an English author on Comte. Highly critical of Comte’s later writings, it slights the elements of continuity they share with the rest of his work.
Mill, John Stuart, and Auguste Comte. The Correspondence of John Stuart Mill and Auguste Comte. Translated and edited by Oscar A. Haac. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1994. These eighty-nine letters, written between 1841 and 1847, address important issues of mid-nineteenth century philosophy, science, economics, and politics. Cumulatively, they provide a humanistic view of Western Europe and its social problems.
Pickering, Mary. Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993. First volume of a projected two-volume intellectual biography. Offers a reinterpretation of Comte’s “first career,” the period between 1798 and 1842, when he completed the scientific foundation of his philosophy, and describes the interplay between Comte’s ideas and the historical context of postrevolutionary France.
Scharff, Robert C. Comte After Positivism. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. An in-depth treatment of Comte’s ideas.
Sokoloff, Boris. The “Mad” Philosopher, Auguste Comte. New York: Vantage Press, 1961. A brief, readable biography that summarizes Comte’s chief ideas while treating more fully the biographical context within which they developed. Gives more attention to his youth and his relationships with women than to his ties to other intellectuals.
Standley, Arline Reilein. Auguste Comte. Boston: Twayne, 1981. An effort to integrate the larger pieces of Comte’s worldview. Suitable for undergraduates.
Whittaker, Thomas. Comte and Mill. London: Archibald Constable, 1908. Comte and Mill, though antithetical in some respects, sprang from the same movement in modern thought. This straightforward study is especially strong on Comte’s early writings and the transition to later work.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support