It was invented by Auguste Comte and adopted by the English positivists as a convenient antithesis to egoism.
In England, however, a number of prominent Positivists have carried out Comte's original ideal of a Church of Humanity with ritual and organization.
But those who, like the positivists, agnostics and sceptics, deny the possibility of metaphysics as a theory of the ultimate nature of things, are still obliged to retain philosophy as a theory of knowledge, in order to justify the asserted limitation or impotence of human reason.
He also made the acquaintance of the leading English Positivists, to whose opinions he became an ardent convert.
A follower of the positive philosophy, but in conflict with Richard Congreve as to details, he led the Positivists who split off and founded Newton Hall in 1881, and he was president of the English Positivist Committee from 1880 to 1905; he was also editor and part author of the Positivist New Calendar of Great Men (1892), and wrote much on Comte and Positivism.