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Does "contra Comte" mean "rebellious philosopher"?

 
 
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 12:30 am

Context:

We have at least quantitatively improved our estimate of one
previously shrouded term of the Drake Equation. This permits a
significant, if still moderate, easing of our agnosticism about the
final value yielded by the equation. We must still be agnostic about
life on other worlds - but a little bit less agnostic, because we are
just that bit less ignorant. Science can chip away at agnosticism, in
a way that Huxley bent over backwards to deny for the special case
of God. I am arguing that, notwithstanding the polite abstinence of
Huxley, Gould and many others, the God question is not in
principle and forever outside the remit of science. As with the
nature of the stars, contra Comte, and as with the likelihood of life
in orbit around them, science can make at least probabilistic
inroads into the territory of agnosticism.
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oristarA
 
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Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 07:31 am
@oristarA,
Looks like Dawkins' language is quite academic and a little bit difficult even for native speakers?
izzythepush
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  0  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 07:37 am
@oristarA,
It means contrary to the ideas of Auguste Compte. Enjoy.

Quote:
In Aspects of Sociology, a primer in social theory released by the Institute for Social Research (often referred to as the Frankfurt School), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer explain the bastard etymology of the term “sociology” and its origin in the positive philosophy of Auguste Comte:


The word “sociology” — science of society — is a malformation, half Latin, half Greek. The arbitrariness and artificiality of the term point to the recent character of the discipline. It cannot be found as a separate discipline within the traditional edifice of science. The term itself was originated by Auguste Comte, who is generally regarded as the founder of sociology. His main sociological work, Cours de philosophie positive, appeared in 1830-1842.The word “positive” puts precisely that stress which sociology, as a science in the specific sense, has borne ever since. It is a child of positivism, which has made it its aim to free knowledge from religious belief and metaphysical speculation. By keeping rigorously to the facts, it was hoped that on the model of the natural sciences, mathematical on the one hand, empirical on the other, objectivity could be attained. According to Comte, the doctrine of society had lagged far behind this ideal. He sought to raise it to a scientific level. Sociology was to fulfill and to realize what philosophy had striven for from its earliest origins. (Aspects of Sociology, pg. 1)

Somewhere I remember hearing the quip that the term “sociology” was such an ugly combination that only a Frenchman could have concocted it. Not sure who was supposed to have said it, or if it factually took place, but there seems to be a ring of truth to the assertion. Anyway, Adorno points out in his lecture course Introduction to Sociology that “Marx had a violent aversion to the word ‘sociology,’ an aversion that may have been connected to his very justified distaste for Auguste Comte, on whom he pronounced the most annihilating judgment” (Introduction to Sociology, pg. 143).

For some time since I first read this remark years ago I’d been wondering where Marx made this pronouncement, and what the gist of it was. Yesterday I finally discovered its source, from a letter Marx wrote to Engels in 1866:


I am studying Comte on the side just now, as the English and French are making such a fuss of the fellow. What seduces them about him is his encyclopedic quality, la synthèse. But this is pitiful when compared with Hegel (although Comte is superior to him as a mathematician and physicist by profession, i.e., superior in the detail, though even here Hegel is infinitely greater as a whole). And this shitty positivism came out in 1832!

Marx to Engels in Manchester, July 7 1866.
First published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen
F. Engels und K. Marx, Bd. 3, Stuttgart, 1913.
Collected Writings, Volume 42. Pg. 291.


http://thecharnelhouse.org/2013/10/11/contra-comte/
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contrex
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 08:00 am
@oristarA,
oristarA wrote:
Looks like Dawkins' language is quite academic and a little bit difficult even for native speakers?

Not at all. You need to be patient! Contra is a Latin word meaning "against" or "in opposition to".
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 08:51 am
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

oristarA wrote:
Looks like Dawkins' language is quite academic and a little bit difficult even for native speakers?

Not at all. You need to be patient! Contra is a Latin word meaning "against" or "in opposition to".



Like this one: Huxley bent over backwards to deny...
Deny what? Huxley tried his best to deny the contradiction between science and God? Huxley insisted that science and God belonged to different areas that never overlap each other?
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 10:58 am
Quote:
Huxley bent over backwards to deny for the special case
of God.

This is poorly and hastily written. The 'for' should no be there. Also it is an expression of opinion. To bend over backwards is to take up an unnatural position. The writer appears to think that Huxley was somehow wrong and mistaken in denying that there should be a special status for the concept of God.

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