The impact of positivism in Mexico, 1867-1910

Aziria, A. M. R (1977) The impact of positivism in Mexico, 1867-1910. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The main object of this thesis is to discover how far the Mexican Positivists influenced the development of Mexican society during the period, known as the 'Porfiriato' (1877-1910). Three areas have been chosen for analysis. These are: educational reorganization, economic development during this period and the political impact of the 'Union Liberal.' In each of these specific areas, the analysis has been widened so as to ascertain the general impact of the 'Cientificos,' a group of intellectuals, commonly associated with 'Positivism' in Mexic. Nevertheless, before this analysis can be embarked upon, an examination of Positivism as a philosophica system will be given. This examination encompasses Part I of the thesis, where Positivism, as expounded by Comte and Littre, is analysed. The purpose of Part I is to set the context in which to analyse Mexican Positivism and hence there is a critical examination of the differences between Positivism and Spencer's Social philosophy, known as Social Darwinism as the question of whether there was a Positivist movement in Mexico, which is one of the major points dealt with in Part II revolves around the relationship between Social Darwinism and Positivism. The first two chapters of the second part of the thesis deal with Mexican 'Positivism, ' though in a different manner to that used in Part I to analyse French Positivism. Instead of giving a simple exposition of the basic tenets of Mexican Positivism, these two chapters are concerned with the views of Gabino Barreda, considered to have been the leading Mexican Positivist intellectual. In particular his interpretation of Mexican history and the philosophical basis of the 1867 Law on educations of which he was the prime mover, are examined. The next two chapters deal with the question of whether 'Positivism' became the ideological servant of either the Mexican 'Bourgeoisie' and or the 'Diaz' regime. Secondly the question of whether it is correct to use the term 'Positivism' in the Mexican context is dealt with. The next four chapters are concerned with three selected subjects. The first two, the fate of the political party, known as the 'Union Liberal,' and the pattern, of economic development during the 'Porfiriato' have been chosen to eluoidate the impact of 'Positivism.' The third topic involves an examination of Justo Sierra's views concerning the interpretation of Mexican history and on the subject of educational reform, so as to compare and contrast the philosophies of Justo Sierra and Gabino Barreda who have been seen as the two pillars of Maican 'Positivism.' There are two basic arguments put forward throughout this section, The first is that the impact of Mexican 'Positivists' was limited by the fact that it was dependent on the power they were given in terms of policy-making by Porfirio Diaz. The second, and one of the min conclusions of this thesis, is that Mexican 'Positivism' very soon ceased to be the philosophy of Comte. Instead it became synonymous with the 'scientific method,' and the majority of those who were counted as 'Positivists, appeared to have owed more to Social Darwinism than to Positivism for their actual philosophical view. It is this point which many authors on, late nineteenth and early twentieth century Mexican history have failed to note and consequently have tended to consider Positivism and Social Dar- winism as one and the same philosophy, mainly because this was the view of the majority of Mexican 'Positivists' themselves. The above conclusions are subject to one major proviso and that is that the impact of Positivism in the cultural field has not been examined; it is possible that in this area, it had a greater impact. The reasons for not examining the cultural field are given in the conclusion.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Latin American history, Social structure
Date of Award: 1977
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1977-72778
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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