London Positivist Society

London Positivist Society

The London Positivist Society was a philosophical circle that met in London, England, between 1867 and 1974. In 1934 it merged with the English Positivist Committee. The Society's members occupied themselves in applying the ideas of the philosophical school of Comtean positivism to current affairs of the day, including the movement for home rule in Ireland (which the Society supported, following Gladstone's lead), the Second Boer War (which the Society opposed), and the Indian independence movement (which the Society supported).


The Society was founded by Richard Congreve (4 September 1818–5 July 1899) in 1867. Its members at one time or another included Henry Tompkins (1870–1954); Donald Fincham (1916–1969); George Henry Lewes (1817–1878); Frederick William Walsh (1879–1923), who had been paralysed in an industrial accident but whose mind remained sharp; Paul Juste Decours; and Benjamin Fossett Lock (honorary secretary of the Society 1880–1886), who resigned in 1886 over the Irish home rule debate.

In 1934 the London Positivist Society merged with the English Positivist Committee, taking the latter's name.

The Society's presidents included
*Shapland Hugh Swinny (30 December 1857–31 August 1923), Society president 1901–1923

Swinny was a personal friend of several Indian nationalists, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak.


* ['london')AND(RefNo='positivist')) Catalogue of the papers of the London Positivist Society] at the [ Archives Division] of the London School of Economics.
* – a detailed biography of Swinny and Victorian positivist history

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