RE: MD MOQ and Evidence (from Struan)

From: Glenn Bradford (
Date: Fri Jan 10 2003 - 01:14:37 GMT

  • Next message: john williams: "Re: MD No to absolutism"


    Not receiving mails from the list means that I have had to rely upon
    the archives, which have a considerable time delay between posting and
    appearance. *If* anyone has asked me to clarify/elaborate etc, the
    chances are I will not know it for a while and so, obviously, have not
    responded here.

    Glenn has rightly shown me [in private email] that, by Horse's criteria,
    I should provide some evidence that positivists attempt to upgrade art
    or music rather than, as Horse spuriously alleges, attempting to degrade
    art or music. I can do without the side-show. So here it is.

    Horse seems only to be satisfied with direct quotations from the people
    concerned so I will, once more, play along with his rules.

    Auguste Comte is regarded by every philosophy text book I have ever
    seen as the founder of 'positivism', indeed, he himself made this claim,
    and so it seems only right that, out of a choice of many, I turn to him.

    "The demolition of the ancient system by the negative philosophy was
    extremely unfavourable to Art, in as far as it permitted it to have
    none but fleeting inspirations, incompatible with all fundamental truth
    of poetic conception . . . . The consequences of so unnatural a state
    of things could not but be fatal, both to society and to Art, if it
    were long protracted: and the evil effects are seen in the rule of the
    men of letters, who are the offspring of the transition and the leaders
    of the social revolution. We here find the necessary close of the
    preparatory phase of the aesthetic element; for its incorporation with
    the sociality of the modern age has thus been urged to excess; and the
    time for reorganization has evidently arrived." (The Positive
    Philosophy of Auguste Comte Volume III Auguste Comte Batoche Books
    2000 pg 207)

    "When a stable and homogeneous and at the same time progressive state
    of society shall have become established under the positive philosophy,
    the fine arts will flourish more than they ever did . . . . . . etc" (
    IBID pg 40)

    "Art will enter largely into the social life of the Future, and will be
    regarded as the most pleasurable and most salutary exercise of our
    intellectual powers, because it leads them in the most direct manner to
    the culture and improvement of our moral nature. . . . "(Catechism of
    Positive Religion - Auguste Comte Hardcover - 304 pages Kelley, USA)

    "When the conception of the Order of Nature has become generally
    accepted in its full extent, the ordinary definition of Art will become
    as comprehensive and as homogeneous as that of Science; and it will
    then become obvious to all sound thinkers that the principal sphere of
    both Art and Science is the social life of man." (A General View of
    Positivism, translated by J H Bridges, Robert Speller and Sons, 1957;
    Chapter 1)

    Comte was deeply concerned that art was being undermined and devalued
    by the society in which he lived and saw positivism as the way to raise
    it out of, as he saw it, degradation. Comte chose the term 'positivist'
    rather than 'negativist' for a very good reason!

    In the absence of any contrary evidence, I think this is sufficient to
    establish the point that "positivists see their philosophy as upgrading


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