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Antoine-Augustin Cournot as a Sociologist


  • Focuses on important French author and thinker of the 19th century through an historical and comparative approach

  • Connects Cournot’s philosophical and epistemological thinking to the development of sociological theory and thought in the 20th century

  • Bridges sociological theory and historical sociology with historiography and philosophy of knowledge


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Robert Leroux
    Pages 1-23
  3. Robert Leroux
    Pages 25-45
  4. Robert Leroux
    Pages 47-69
  5. Robert Leroux
    Pages 71-96
  6. Robert Leroux
    Pages 97-125
  7. Robert Leroux
    Pages 127-147
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 149-166

About this book


The thinking of Antoine-Augustin Cournot has inspired a growing literature in economy and epistemology, but as of yet, his sociological thought has not been explicitly discussed and contextualized within the discipline. From the 1850s to the end of the 1870s, Cournot contributed significantly to the history of French sociology, particularly in the development of one essential idea: that forms of knowledge are intimately linked to the progress of reason. Philosophy, therefore, becomes interested in the development of the sciences, evolving as they do from the process of rationalizing human societies. Cournot’s comparative-historical sociology, “rediscovered” especially by Gabriel Tarde in the 20th century, seeks to understand how a macro-sociological trend can depend on the aggregation of a host individual decisions and actions, or to discern a certain order out of apparent chaos.


epistemology French thought scientific thought philosophy of the social sciences intellectual legacy historical knowledge Cournot Comte Tarde Durkheim historiography

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

About the authors

Robert Leroux is Professor of Sociology at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is the author of, among other publications, History and Sociology in France (2018), The Foundations of Industrialism (2016), and Political Economy and Liberalism in France (2012).

Bibliographic information