Mesmo tendo sido feitos há mais de 30 anos, esses comentários são odiosos e representam, como afirmei, o que há de pior nas universidades e em vários círculos intelectuais. É por esses motivos que escrevi a carta abaixo e que a reproduzo aqui.
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Dear professor Enthoven:
My name is Gustavo Biscaia de Lacerda and I am a Brazilian researcher of Comtean thought. I was reading the two-volume edition of Comte’s Système de philosophie positive. Actually, I read the second volume, which has been commented by you.
The very initiative of republishing such a work is, of course, full of merits and, albeit it has happened more than 30 year ago, it must be celebrated.
However, as my reading goes on, I became more and more astonished with the commentaries by you: besides those which are simply biographical, your “substantive” comments (political and philosophical ones) were all negative and in order to depreciate Comte.
Not only you and your associates committed two basic errors in the name of both volumes – naming the first as “Philosophie première” and the second as “Physique Sociale”, which don’t correspond to Comte’s ideas and clearly indicate how (little) careful were you in the preparation of the volumes –, but every note of you was destructive and, so, generally unfair. A single example: somewhere you’ve said Comte had no political theory (i. e., theory of the State) at all. However, not only disciples of Comte (from Brazil, France, England, USA, Argentina, Chile, Turkey and many other countries) have noticed, developed and applied such a theory, but also researchers not committed to Positivism in a personal level have done that too. Moreover, not only right-wing politicians applied Comte’s ideas: it is astonishing that you quoted Ch. Maurras, but strangely “forgot” Léon Gambetta, Jules Ferry and many important progressive leaders of the French III Republic. I quote only these examples because presently I am researching Comte’s political thought and I’ve found not only a theory of the State, but a complete theory of Political Sociology, which owes nothing to Marx, Weber or Tocqueville (to name only some political thinkers of the XIXth Century). Actually, all over the books anyone can read misunderstandings and interpretations burdened with the worst intellectual prejudices.
During the reading of the volumes and of your commentaries, an impression has developed slowly, until the point when the simple impression became a certainty: you and your colleagues used Comte just as a jumping board to your academic careers. Such an enterprise you may call “an exercise of ‘criticism’”, but, indeed, the words of Comte are completely adequate: it is a demonstration of “pedantocratie” and the “criticism” as a synonym of “destruction”. (By the way: thank you very much for being a contemporary illustration of Comte’s idea of “pedantocratie”!)
Gustavo Biscaia de Lacerda