Thesis ID: CBB368433669

From Perfectibility to Progress: The Search for a Science of Society in France, 1750-1850 (2022)

unapi

Cook, Alexander (Advisor)
Lalevee, Thomas (Author)


Cook, Alexander
Australian National University
Publication date: 2022
Language: English


Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 300

The early nineteenth century was a defining moment in the emergence of new, future-oriented visions of human progress. This thesis analyses this development of modern thought through a particular case study: the search for a science of society in France in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Through a contextual study of ideas and knowledge production, the chapters examine the successive models of reform and regeneration that defined this search, tracking a shift in the way these models were conceptualised. This shift involved a transition from individual to collective models of improvement, or, more discursively, from perfectibility to progress. This thesis documents this shift by tracing the origins and development of early French social science in the works of Sieyes, Condorcet and the Ideologues, before turning to the reconfiguration of this science effected by Saint-Simon and his followers in the nineteenth century. In doing so, this study provides new insights into the search for a science of society during and after the French Revolution, a revised interpretation of the history of the concept of perfectibility and a fresh perspective on the ongoing contest between science, religion and politics in this period of intense upheaval. It also advances scholarly understanding of the range of moral, philosophical and natural scientific ideas behind early French positivism and socialism. The nineteenth-century fascination, if not obsession, with progress is shown, in this thesis, to have been shaped by the works of theorists with visionary but idiosyncratic imaginations.

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Authors & Contributors
Beck, Naomi
Blanckaert, C.
Brandli, Fabrice
Brian, Eric
Emigh, Rebecca Jean
Feichtinger, Johannes
Journals
Blätter für Technikgeschichte
History of European Ideas
History of Science
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Publishers
Carocci Editore
Cambridge University Press
Columbia University Press
Droz
Palgrave Macmillan
Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté
Concepts
Science and society
Positivism
Social sciences
Progress, ideas of
Socialism
Evolution
People
Comte, Auguste
Durkheim, Émile
Charcot, Jean Martin
Condorcet, Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de
Darwin, Charles Robert
Ferri, Enrico
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
16th century
17th century
20th century
Places
France
Italy
Great Britain
Europe
Germany
North America
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