Positivism, Science and ‘The Scientists’ in Porfirian Mexico

BookPositivism, Science and ‘The Scientists’ in Porfirian Mexico

Positivism, Science and ‘The Scientists’ in Porfirian Mexico

A Reappraisal

Liverpool Latin American Studies

2016

January 29th, 2016

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This innovative monograph is of major significance for not only students and academics undertaking research on the history of Mexico during the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, but also scholars specializing in the history of ideas, philosophy and science. Unlike previous discussions of positivism in Latin America, this book presents a detailed analysis of the English thinker, Herbert Spencer’s original works as a necessary gateway into the discussion of the thinking of 'The Scientists'. Its principal purpose is to revisit the influential thesis of Leopoldo Zea which proposed that 'The Scientists' throughout this period were Spencerian positivists.

 

This book offers a revisionist analysis of the original papers of 'The Scientists', Francisco Bulnes and Justo Sierra, as well as their political and philosophical ideas and activities. This analysis demonstrates that their eclectic discourses used the ideas of the American Social Darwinists, and those from Spencer, Darwin, August Comte, and other European writers, concluding that 'The Scientists' lacked a clear leader and had an ambivalent relationship with Díaz. It interprets 'The Scientists' not as ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’, but as men struggling to appropriate European philosophical advances into their quest to modernise Mexico.

This innovative monograph is of major significance for not only students and academics undertaking research on the history of Mexico during the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, but also scholars specializing in the history of ideas, philosophy and science. Unlike previous discussions of positivism in Latin America, this book presents a detailed analysis of the English thinker, Herbert Spencer’s original works as a necessary gateway into the discussion of the thinking of 'The Scientists'. Its principal purpose is to revisit the influential thesis of Leopoldo Zea which proposed that 'The Scientists' throughout this period were Spencerian positivists.

 

This book offers a revisionist analysis of the original papers of 'The Scientists', Francisco Bulnes and Justo Sierra, as well as their political and philosophical ideas and activities. This analysis demonstrates that their eclectic discourses used the ideas of the American Social Darwinists, and those from Spencer, Darwin, August Comte, and other European writers, concluding that 'The Scientists' lacked a clear leader and had an ambivalent relationship with Díaz. It interprets 'The Scientists' not as ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’, but as men struggling to appropriate European philosophical advances into their quest to modernise Mexico.

About The Author

Dr Natalia Priego is Research Fellow, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures (DMLC), University of Liverpool. Member of National Research System of the National Council for Science and Technology, Mexico.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Contents7
Acknowledgements9
Introduction11
1. Porfirio Díaz, Positivism, and ‘The Scientists’26
2. The origins of the Spencerian theory of evolution55
3. The evolution of Spencerianism88
4. Spencerian evolution120
5. The eradication of the myth: Conclusions165
Bibliography171
Index181