Charles Fourier

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In existographies, Charles Fourier (183-118 BE) (1772-1837 ACM) (IQ:170|#440) (ID:2.62|65) (SN:35) (EPD:F9) (CR:36) (LH:10) (TL:46) was a French philosopher, for his 1808 Theory of the Four Movements and the General Destinies, which has been characterized as a Social Principia (Kaufmann, 1874), among other volumes, wherein he outlines his so-called “theory of the passions”, in terms of work and forces; coined the term feminism; eponym of Fourierism, defined as a “systematic set of economic, political, and social beliefs”; characterized a “Newton of the moral sciences” (Ulam, 1976).


In 1808, Fourier, in his Social Destiny of Man: Theory of the Four Movements, characterized as a Social Principia (Kaufmann, 1874), outlined his so-called “theory of the passions”, in terms of work and forces, the gist of which being that scheme of any given social order or system needs to fit the passions, not attempt to make the passions fit the system.[1]

Soul | Active principle

See main: Soul terminology reform

In 1770, Baron Holbach was describing the soul as such:

“Thus, in consequence of man’s reasoning upon false principles, the soul, OR moving principle within him, as well as the concealed moving principle of nature, have been made mere chimeras, mere beings of imagination.”
Baron Holbach (1770), The System of Nature (§7, pg. 51) [2]
“When it is said, that man is not a free agent, it is not pretended to compare him to a body moved by a simple impulsive cause: he contains within himself causes inherent to his existence; he is moved by an interior organ, which has its own peculiar laws, and is itself necessarily determined in consequence of ideas formed from perceptions resulting from sensations which it receives from exterior objects. As the mechanism of these sensations, of these perceptions, and the manner they engrave ideas on the brain of man, are not known to him; because he is unable to unravel all these motions; because he cannot perceive the chain of operations in his soul, OR the motive principle that acts within him, he supposes himself a free agent; which, literally translated, signifies, that he moves himself by himself; that he determines himself without cause: when he rather ought to say, that he is ignorant how or for why he acts in the manner he does.”
— Baron d’Holbach (1770), The System of Nature (pg. 97)

Fourier, likewise, who seems to have read Holbach, as Picavet (1891) suggests[3], gave an interpretation of the ‘soul’ as an active principle or generating power in humans, very similar to Holbach:

“It has been recognized in all ages that the most important of studies is the study of man. In him is the ‘active principle’, ‘creative force’, or ‘generating power’ in which all social phenomena have their origin. It is of primary importance then to comprehend the nature of that passional and intellectual motor in him, called the ‘soul’.”
— Charles Fourier (1808), Theory of the Four Movements: and of Destinies in General (pg. 2)
“The ‘soul’ or ‘active principle’ in man, is a whole, composed of a certain number of forces or motors, which we shall call the ‘passions’; by the metaphysicians, these ‘forces’ are variously termed: sentiments, affections, feelings, faculties, impulses, instincts.”
— Charles Fourier (1808), Theory of the Four Movements: and of Destinies in General (pg. 4)

Here, we note that where as Holbach's system was atheistic, Fourier's was theistic, in that he believed that the five senses, which connect the active principle (or soul) to the passive principle (material body), were given to man by god (pg. 14). Nevertheless, in both descriptions, we begin to see the use of the term OR, as in "soul" or, in an alternative secular-scientific language: moving principle (within), motive principle (that acts within), active principle, creative force, generating power, passional and intellectual motor.


An 1850 political satire showing (Ѻ) Americans William Garrison (IQ:145|#861) and Horace Greeley adding bags of “abolition” and “Fourierism” to their Hurly Burly pot.

In c.1830 to 1850s, in America, Fourier's views spawned the growth of over seven idealistic, albeit short-lived, Fourierism-based utopian communities, e.g. Lake Zurich, Illinois, founded by Fourierist Seth Paine (1836)[4], and Utopia, Ohio.



Fourier was influenced by: Charles Montesquieu, Descartes, and Baron Holbach.


Fourier influenced: Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Albert Brisbane, Karl Marx, Pierre Proudhon, Walter Benjamin, Peter Kropotkin.


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Fourier:

Fourier held that association is due an ever-present force which draws men together like the law of gravity in the physical world. And again in his ‘theory of universal unity’, he held that the earth will pass through life cycles similar to the life cycles of the human individual. Its present infancy will be succeeded by a millennium of seventy thousand years, due to the perfect and unimpeded operation of the ‘power of attraction’. An age of decline will follow this, while the fourth and last stage will be a brief era of dotage.”
— Howard W. Odum (1929), Introduction to Social Research [5]
“In 1808, Fourier published his first volume on social problems, but received practically no encouragement for his schemes for some five years. It must be said, however, that the chief support he craved was not that of the impecunious mass, but of the wealthy few who might subsidize some of his social experiments. Once he announced publicly that he would be at home every day at a certain hour to await any philanthropist who felt disposed to give him a million francs for the development of a colony based on Fourieristic principles. For twelve years thereafter he was at home every day punctually at noon awaiting the generous stranger, but, alas, no millionaire appeared. Most of the Saint-Simonians regarded his proposals with contempt.”
— Harry Laidler (1969), History of Socialism (pg. 57) [6]
“Passion, according to Fourier, draws humanity into association just as gravity draws celestial bodies into orbital systems. The phalanstery is a little solar system revolving around the central fire of the passions.”
— Peter Wilson (1991), “The Lemonade Ocean and Modern Times” [7]

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Fourier:

“The passions can be harmoniously developed, an act legitimately only on condition that they operate in a social order adapted to their nature and requirements. It may be laid down as a law, that forces can operate naturally and rightly only in mechanisms which are suited to them. This is true of the passions as it is of all other forces in nature , of steam for example, which cannot produce it legitimate effects in mechanics, except on the condition that it operates in an engine perfectly fitted to it.”
— Charles Fourier (1808), Theory of the Four Movements: and of Destinies in General (pg. 2) [1]
“Attractions are proportional to destines.”
— Charles Fourier (1808), Theory of the Four Movements: and of Destinies in General (pg. 14); cited by Albert Brisbane (1840) in Social Destiny of Man (pg. i) [8]
“The extension of women’s rights is the basic principle of all social progress.”
— Charles Fourier (c.1810), Publication (Ѻ)
“The passions were not created at random, were not called into existence without functions and employments having been assigned to them; on the contrary, their functions and uses have been calculated with mathematical precision.”
— Charles Fourier (c.1808), The Social Destiny of Man (pg. 4)[9]

End matter


  1. 1.0 1.1 (a) Fourier, Charles. (1808). Theory of the Four Movements: and of Destinies in General (Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinées generals). Lyon.
    (b) Fourier, Charles. (1808). The Social Destiny of Man: Theory of the Four Movements (translator: Henry Clapp); with a Treatise on the Functions of the Human Passions and An Outline of Fourier’s System of Social Science (by Albert Brisbane). DeWitt, 1857; Gordon Press, 1972.
  2. Soul terminology upgrades – Hmolpedia 2020.
  3. Picavet, Francois. (1891). Les idéologues: essai sur l'histoire des idées et des théories scientifiques (pg. 454). Publisher.
  4. Lake Zurich, IL – Encyclopedia of Chicago.
  5. (a) Laidler, Harry. (1927). A History of Socialist Thought (§8). Publisher.
    (b) Haney, Lewis. (1920). History of Economic Thought: a Critical Account of the Origin and Development of the Economic Theories of the Leading Thinkers in the Leading Nations (§21; Fourier, 14+ pgs.). MacMillan.
    (c) Odum, Howard W. and Jocher, Katharine C. (1929). An Introduction to Social Research (Fourier, pg. 184). H. Holt and Co.
  6. Laidler, Harry. (1969). History of Socialism (Fourier, 5+ pgs). Routledge.
  7. Wilson, Peter. (1991). “The Lemonade Ocean and Modern Times”, The Anarchist Library, 2009.
  8. Brisbane, Albert. (1840). Social Destiny of Man: or Association and Reorganization of Industry (quote, pg. i). Stollmeyer.
  9. Fourier, Charles. (c.1808). The Social Destiny of Man: or Theory of the Four Movements: Translated by Henry Clapp, Jr., With a Treatise on the Functions of the Human Passions and An Outline of Fourier’s System of Social Science by Albert Brisbane (mathematical precision, pg. 4; note, pgs. 32-33). Robert M. Dewitt, 1857.

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