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Saint-Simon, Henri (1760–1825)

Claude-Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, was a French social theorist who is considered the founding father of social science and socialism. His writings contained original ideas on the application of scientific methods to the study of humans and society, championed a new “scientific-industrial” age, and influenced social theory and modern thought.

His call for a “science of society,” situating it on a par with the natural sciences, influenced his disciple, Auguste Comte (1798–1857), as well as later sociologists. In his major work, Nouveau Christianisme (1825), Saint-Simon advocated a New Christianity—a secular humanist religion to replace the defunct traditional religions—that would have scientists as priests. Two of his followers, Barthelemy Prosper Enfantin (1796–1864) and Saint-Amand Bazard (1791–1832), noticed this theme, adding their own mysticism and ritual ...

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