Philos. system of A. Comte*; called positivism because it deals only with positive knowledge arrived at by experience and observation. Comte classified the sciences in a series beginning with consideration of attributes of objects that are most gen. and proceeding to other attributes combined in greater complexity: (1) mathematics, (2) astronomy, (3) physics, (4) chemistry, (5) biology, (6) sociology; from the 2d on, each is more special than the one before it and depends on the facts of all that precede it. Later he tried to construct a religion of humanity, in which humanity takes the place of God as the object of worship. See also Alembert, Jean Le Rond d'; Dewey, John; Dühring, Karl Eugen; Durkheim, Emile; Lévy-Bruhl, Lucien; Naturalism.
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