I. Mexican Positivism
- Guiding philosophy of Porfirian era
- A reaction against turmoil of 1810-1867 period
- Created an alliance between government, economic elites, and technocrats
- Develops late in the Juarez/Lerdo era
- Provides a unifying
philosophy for Mexican elites
III. Early Development
- Based on thinking of Auguste Comte
- Auguste Comte - French philosopher
- Born 1789, witnessed turmoil of France after Revolution
- Sought to bring order to society
- Trained as engineer
- Believed in evolutionary Stages of History
- Last stage - Utopia
- Technocratic, non-political elite would regulate society
- Guided by the benevolent rule of a director
- Appeal to elite Mexicans
- Fused order and progress
- Demanded direct control by elite and a state geared towards progress
- Demonstrable, empirical science to determine truth and develop
laws (an antidote to personalism)
- A cure for disorder
emphasis on education, particularly elite education
- This appealed to both Liberals and Conservatives
IV. Spread of Positivism
- Mexican Positivism develops during Juarez/Lerdo years
- Leading popularizer was Gabino Barreada
- Barreada studies in France, knew Comte
- Saw post-1867 Mexico as beginning a new, final stage.
- Saw the violence of 1810-1867 violence as necessary for
eliminating evil, retrograde influences on Mexico.
- Disillusioned with classical liberalism, as egalitarianism and
democracy seemed unabtianable
- Saw Juarez and Union victories
as triumphs of modern, republican liberties against old, outdated regimes
V. Mexican Positivism
- Barreada appointed by Juarez to reorganize schools
- Positivism's emphasis on education had broad appeal
Juarez/Lerdo begin an expansion of education that continues to be a
factor for decades
- Proposed a more "scientific" hierarchy of schools
- At top, created the National Preparatory School - 1867.
- NPS would produce a whole generation of positivists.
- Still, most Mexican "positivists" learned from magazines, popular books,
not from heavy philosophical tomes or school.
VI. Positivism and Class
- Defeat of monarchists, Church, Conservatives
- Seen as final stage in human development.
- Victory of progressive and rationally civilized forces.
- Now order and Comtean principles would assure brilliant future.
- Distinctions from Comte
- Comte had proposed a new religion of humanity.
- Barreada sought one based on rational logic.
- Comte's slogan of Love, Order, and Progress
- Barreada's slogan was Liberty, Order, Progress.
- This emphasized fusion of Liberal individuality and orderly scientific progress.
- Other influences
- Social Darwinism became important in Mexican Positivism.
- dislike for Amerindians united Liberals and Conservatives
Both preferred European immigration and favored foreign
- Law could be used to rationally control society.
- Becomes particularly influential under Diaz, notably with the
emergence of the cientificos, a political faction which
promoted Positivism and technocratic rule
- Developmental thrust of positivism appealed to middle and professional classes.
- Positivism called for wide respect for trained professionals.
- Government came to favor education, which expanded this class.
- But focus was on elite schools, not a broad-based education for all.