The Reception of Positivism in Whewell, Mill and Brentano

In Ion Tanasescu, Alexandru Bejinariu, Susan Krantz Gabriel & Constantin Stoenescu (eds.), Brentano and the Positive Philosophy of Comte and Mill: With Translations of Original Writings on Philosophy as Science by Franz Brentano. Berlin: De Gruyter (2022)
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This article compares and contrasts the reception of Comte’s positivism in the works of William Whewell, John Stuart Mill and Franz Brentano. It is argued that Whewell’s rejection of positivism derives from his endorsement of a constructivist account of the inductive sciences, while Mill and Brentano’s sympathies for positivism are connected to their endorsement of an empiricist account. The mandate of the article is to spell out the chief differences between these two rival accounts. In the last, conclusive section, Whewell’s anti-positivist argument is briefly assessed, and rebutted.

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Arnaud Dewalque
University of Liège


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