By Vincent Guillin
Vincent Guillin makes use of the difficulty of sexual equality as a prism by which to check very important adjustments - epistemological, methodological and theoretical - among Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill. He succeeds in exhibiting how their differing conceptions of technological know-how and human nature effect and impact their respective ways to philosophy and to the research of woman (in)equality specifically. Guillin shines a shiny searchlight into long-neglected facets of either men's pondering - for instance, Mill's suggestion to build an 'ethology', or technological know-how of character-formation, and Comte's likely strange curiosity in phrenology - and the ways that those formed their perspectives of women's highbrow and political capacities. Guillin's wide-ranging research 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 unusual 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)
P. 40). For, p rior t o the in stitution o f ma rriage as a n indiss oluble tie , the la w o f the strongest applied to marital matters, enabling men to take whatever woman they could, but also to repudiate her as soon as she did not fulﬁl their expectations. Because it was based on pure physical strength, the relation was by essence asymmetric. With the institution of an i rrevocable vow, wome n c ould at least, and despite the fact that they were still chosen by men, secure a m inimum of permanency for their situation and subsistence: they could not be repudiated by a pure act of whim.
On Tracy, see the old but informative account by F. Picavet, Les Idéologues. 34 On Cabanis’ “science of man,” its physiological basis a nd its social and political aspects, see M. S. Staum, Cabanis. Enlightenment and Medical Philosophy in the French Revolution; E. A. Williams, The Physical and the Moral, pp. 82 et seq. 35 Auguste Comte, “Considérations sur les tentatives qui ont été faites pour fonder la science sociale sur la p hysiologie et sur q uelques autres sciences,” in Auguste Comte, Ecrits de Jeunesse, 1816–1828, p.
The condition of a single woman has ceased to b e dangerous and pre carious: t he law, and general opinion, suﬃce without any more special guardianship, to shield her in o rdinary cir cumstances f rom in sult o r in jury: w oman in sho rt is no longer a mere property, but a person, who is counted not solely on her h usband’s o r fa ther’s acco unt b ut o n her o wn. 55 However, from the fact that women’s subordination cannot be grounded on mere physical inferiority, it does not follow, as Mill seems to have it, that sub ordination sho uld b e dis carded al together.