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A Never Ending Subjection? Comte, Mill, And The Sociological Argument Against Sexual Equality

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins by assessing John Stuart Mill's qualified appraisal of Auguste Comte's contributions to sociology. Introducing Comte's static argument for the subjection of women and Mill's criticisms of it, it will show how it belies Comte's plea for an autonomous sociology. Following the same mode of presentation for Comte's dynamic argument, the chapter provides a general introduction to Comte's conception of the historical method typical of sociology and how it applies in the case of women's subjection and then uncover to what extent a biological inspiration suffuses Comte's treatment of the problem at hand. The first edition of the System of Logic is the primary source from which to draw a more precise idea of what Mill praised and what he criticised in Comte's sociology. Unlike social statics, social dynamics did seem to constitute a common ground on which Comte and Mill mostly agreed.

Keywords: System of Logic ; Auguste Comte; John Stuart Mill; social dynamics; social statics



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