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8 differences between SAINT-SIMON and COMTE highlighted

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Saint-Simon and Comte: differences

In this lesson from a TEACHER we explain the differences between Saint-Simon and Comte, two positivist philosophers, who despite having collaborated for many years and sharing the idea that there is no more knowledge that the scientist, with time, they came to move away, mainly because of the theories of the first in favor of a society technocratic. Comte was Saint-Simon's secretary, and participated in several works with him, but eventually, they broke their friendship and work relationship, due to their differences.

If you want to know more about the differences between Saint-Simon and Comte, keep reading this article by a PROFESSOR.

You may also like: Augusto Comte and Positivism: summary


  1. What is the positivism of Augusto Comte and Saint-Simon?
  2. What is the difference between the thinking of Saint Simon and Comte?
  3. Saint-Simon's influence on Comte

What is the positivism of Augusto Comte and Saint-Simon?

The positivismarises as a result of more radical empiricism and starts from the premise that

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everything that is not quantifiable and measured, what cannot be proven from the data collected from the experience, does not constitute true knowledge. In addition, they ensure that politics must be subject to economics, defining the former as the art of producing.

Besides the French, Comte YSaint-Simon, stand out positivists english likeJohn stuart mill. All the authors of this current present differences and similarities and all consider that positive philosophy can be applied to all sciences and research objects.

The human being and society, as one more object of knowledge, can be studied in the same way as physics. The "social physics”Of the positivists, anticipate the modern sociology.

Saint-Simon and Comte: differences - What is the positivism of Augusto Comte and Saint-Simon?

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What is the difference between the thinking of Saint Simon and Comte?

Here we explain the main differences between Saint-Simon and Comte:

  1. Both share their project of transformation of society, but for Comte, the ideal is not the industrial society that Saint-Simon dreams of, but a scientific society.
  2. The problem of societies, for Comte, is not structural, but rather a question of education and values.
  3. For Comte, ideology is fundamental for social change, for the transformation of society into a positive, but only as an instrument that leads to rational thinking.
  4. Comte sees positivism as a religion and therefore, it gives the same values ​​as it. The human being, in his transformation to positivism, has to accept certain hierarchies and institutions.
  5. Comte's radical objectification leaves no room for either identity or the feeling of unity.
  6. The Saint-Simon philosophy gets closer to utopian socialism, compared to that of Comte, which extols family ties against those of the community. What the Communists want, he says, by abolishing the family, is to destroy society.

  7. Comte is against ideas in defense of a technocratic society from his mentor.
  8. The philosophy of Comte is more romantic and conservativea, mystical, and when a moment comes, it acquires religious qualities. This philosopher intends to make positivism a religion of which, he himself, would be the high priest.

Stages or states of Comte

For Comte, the observation of the phenomena, allows to establish general laws that direct the course, not only of nature, but also of society and the history of mankind, which can be divided on 3 stages or states:

  1. Theological state, dominated by theological dogmatism.
  2. Abstract metaphysical state, speculative philosophy take the place of religion.
  3. Positive or scientific state: the triumph of empiricism and the scientific method. Society, can already be studied in the manner of other sciences, sociology is born.

The idea of ​​progress for Comte, implies the passage through these three stages or states of humanity and history.
He divided sociology between social statics, which deals with the conditions of existence and the laws that govern the functioning of society and social dynamics, that manage the laws of the evolution of the same

Saint-Simon and Comte: differences - What is the difference between the thinking of Saint-Simon and Comte?

The influence of Saint-Simon on Comte.

Many consider Comte as the father of the modern sociology, although, for many others, the true founder, the science of society or social physics, would be his teacher, Saint-Simon. The truth is that his influence on his disciple was decisive for him to develop his philosophy, but who gave him the name of "sociology”Was Auguste Comte.

Both thinkers assume that the positivism, must take the place of religion, that sociology must replace theology and that the progressIt is not something that involves either metaphysics or theology.

The project of these two philosophers includes, in addition to a social transformation that goes through a reorganization of society, where those who are in command of power are the scientists and technicians, a federated Europe with common institutions.

What Discards, defend that there is a single method for all sciences, the scientific method and all the objects of study are capable of being analyzed based on this.

If you want to read more articles similar to Saint-Simon and Comte: differences, we recommend that you enter our category of Philosophy.


  • Comte, A. Positive Philosophy Course. Ed. Orbis. 1985
  • Comte, A. Speech about positive spirit. Ed. Altaya. 1996
  • Saint- Simon. Reorganization of European society. Ed. Fine Arts School. 2012
  • Saint- Simon. The catechism of industrialists. Ed. Orbis. 2012
  • Saint- Simon. The new christianity. Ed. Biblos. 2004
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