London Positivist Society

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Positivist Protest against the Afghan War 1878

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

In 1878, the organization published a manifesto protesting the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Edward Spenser Beesly signed the manifesto, which was one page long, and believed that attacking the Afghans was unjust.[1]


  1. ^ Beesly, Edward Spencer. "Positivist Protest against the Afghan War". World Digital Library. Retrieved 24 December 2013.