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sociology, because it goes more into details, especially in the fact that it places special emphasis on the affections, which receive but little attention in sociology.
c. Comte's positivism is not empiricism. As a matter of fact the theory of stages presupposes that the facts must always be combined; the only question is, whence is the combining instrument to be derived. In the positive stage the combination can be effected in two ways. We associate phenomena which are given simultaneously according to their similarity of structure and function. We naturally arrange phenomena which follow in succession in a temporal series. The former is a static explanation (par similitude); the latter is a dynamic explanation (par filiation). We satisfy our mind's native impulse for unity by both methods and thus discover the constant in the midst of change (Discours sur l'esprit positif, 1844).
Of this combining function of the mind, which Comte here presupposes, he made no further investigation. His works contain no epistemological nor psychological analyses. His conception of knowledge is biological. Our knowledge is determined by the interaction of our organism with the objective world, of our understanding with the milieu. The elaboration of the impressions received from without follows the laws of our organization, and all knowledge is therefore determined by a relation of subject and object. Comte is of the opinion that in this biological theory of knowledge he is a follower of Kant and Aristotle.—In his later years he came to emphasize the subjective character of our knowledge more and more, until he finally proposed a subjective system instead of the objective system given in the Cours de philosophie positive.