Download Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill on Sexual Equality: by Vincent Guillin PDF

By Vincent Guillin

Vincent Guillin makes use of the difficulty of sexual equality as a prism wherein to ascertain vital alterations - epistemological, methodological and theoretical - among Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill. He succeeds in displaying how their differing conceptions of technology and human nature impact and impact their respective techniques to philosophy and to the research of girl (in)equality particularly. Guillin shines a shiny searchlight into long-neglected elements of either men's considering - for instance, Mill's idea to build an 'ethology', or technology of character-formation, and Comte's doubtless strange curiosity in phrenology - and the ways that those formed their perspectives of women's highbrow and political capacities. Guillin's wide-ranging learn examines either men's significant and minor works, their correspondence with each other, and the explanations for the ultimate acrimonious holiday among of the 19th century's most unique and demanding thinkers.

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Additional resources for Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill on Sexual Equality: Historical Methodological and Philosophical Issues (Studies in the History of Political Thought)

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Mill’s Feminism: Is Liberal Naturalism Consistent? ”41 Notwithstanding this metho dological ag reement, Mi ll did no t thin k that a scientific appraisal of the question of sexual equality would lead to the practical conclusions upheld by Comte. To be sure, Mill adopted an agnostic stance at the opening of the debate: “I am far from harboring o pinions co ntrary t o y ours. ”42 Bu t such a n a ttitude ma y b e as cribed to Mi ll’s desir e no t to compromise an exchange which he r egarded as p otentially beneficial for his o wn in tellectual de velopment.

E. males. Accordingly, if Mill wants his argument to b e valid, he ne eds to add a p remise to the eff ect that women are not intellectually or morally inferior to men. Then the inference would hold. Unfortunately, no such p remise is to b e found in Mi ll’s ess ay. ”56 What would it look like? Given Mill’s empiricist and associationist leanings, one can conjecture that the best candidate would consist in an environmentalist theory of human capacities, stating that under normal conditions (for instance, the absence of any inborn physical deficiency affecting one’s intellectual faculties), men and women subjected to a similar range of psychological stimulations (affective, moral, rational) display on average the s ame ca pacities a nd tha t a ny diff erence obs erved in their achievements is due to unrecorded environmental stimulations.

However, their attempt differed radically from that of Comte, for they repudiated the latter’s principle of subordination and placed their hope in a mo re bala nced r elation b etween husband a nd wif e, w hich would be characterized by a respect for the individual’s rights to begin and end the relationship at her own will (if there were children, provisions being made for their education and with their interests in view) and share in the decisions concerning the household. But this conception of marriage assumed that women had the s ame rights as men t o choose the life they wanted to live, and that along with their male counterparts they partook in the intellectual and moral capacities enabling them to do so.

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