Auguste Comte Theory on Sociology - Sample Essays
After 1846, Mill quickly distanced himself from his correspondent. Heeven went so far to describe the Système as “thecompletest system of spiritual and temporal despotism which ever yetemanated from a human brain, unless possibly that of IgnatiusLoyola” (Autobiography, 213). Such judgments, and thereare many, represent one extreme in a much more balanced globalassessment. Comte's later philosophy deserves criticism, but Mill waswas able to see its strong points and mention them. The lastsentences of Mill's 1865 book give a good example of the unique way hemanages to mix approval and harsh criticism:
Auguste Comte Essays - StudentShare
It goes without saying that Comte's idea of sociology was verydifferent from the current one. To ensure the positivity of theirdiscipline, sociologists have been quick to renounce its coordinatingfunction, also known as encyclopedic or architectonic function, whichcharacterizes philosophy. With its place at the top of the scale, thesociology of the Course recapitulates the whole of knowledge,while the sciences that precede it are but one immense introduction tothis final science. As a consequence, no one can become a sociologistwithout having had a solid encyclopedic education, one that has noplace for economics or social mathematics, but, on the contrary,emphasizes biology, the first science that deals with organizedbeings. How far removed this is from today's sociology curriculum!
If sociology merges at places with philosophy, it is also closelyrelated to history. Comte was thus led to take a stand on a questionthat deeply divides us today: how should the relations amongphilosophy of science, history of science, and sociology of science beseen? In the Course, history is at once everywhere andnowhere: it is not a discipline, but the method of sociology. Dynamicsociology is ‘a history without names of men, or even ofpeople’ (1830 (52), v. 2, 239). It is easy to understand,then, that positivism has always refused to separate the philosophy ofscience from the history of science. According to positivism, one doesnot really know a science until one knows its history; indeed, it wasa chair in the general history of science that Comte had asked Guizotto create for him at the Collège de France. Mill's position wasnot quite the same, for he took the author of the Course totask for neglecting the production of proof, or, to use modernvocabulary, for being more interested in the context of discovery thanin the context of justification (Mill 1865). The criticism is onlypartly legitimate: from the second lesson in the Course,Comte carefully distinguishes between the doctrinal and the historicalstudy of science, opting for the first while leaving the second forthe lessons in sociology. Just as for Comte the philosophy of scienceis not a philosophy of nature but of the mind, he likewise values thehistory of science less as a subject in its own right than as the‘most important, yet so far most neglected part’ of thedevelopment of Humanity (1830 (2), v. 1, 53). Each science istherefore examined twice in the Course: for its own sake, inthe first three volumes; in its relations to the general developmentof society, in the final three. In this way, Comte succeeds inreconciling the internalist and externalist points of view, usuallyconsidered to be incompatible.
Auguste Comte (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
There were many people who contributed to the positivist school, however the person who first placed an emphasis on a scientific approach was Auguste Comte (Adler et al 2012).
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Soon after finishing the Course, Comte returned to hisinitial project and began outlining the System of PositivePolity. The Discourse on the Positive Spirit, which hadserved as the preface to the Philosophical Treatise on PopularAstronomy (1844), had already emphasized the social purpose ofpositivism and its aptitude to replace theology in politics andmorality. But his encounter with Clotilde de Vaux would turn his lifeupside down and give Comte's second career an unexpected twist.
Auguste Comte and His Role in the History of Sociology
The second pillar of positive philosophy, the law of theclassification of the sciences, has withstood the test of time muchbetter than the law of the three stages. Of the variousclassifications that have been proposed, it is Comte's that is stillthe most popular today. This classification, too,structures the Course, which examines each of the sixfundamental sciences—mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry,biology, sociology—in turn. It provides a way to do justice tothe diversity of the sciences without thereby losing sight of theirunity. This classification also makes Comte the founder of thephilosophy of science in the modern sense. From Plato to Kant,reflection on science had always occupied a central place inphilosophy, but the sciences had to be sufficiently developed fortheir diversity to manifest itself. It was thanks to his education atthe École Polytechnique that Comte, from 1818, began to developthe concept of a philosophy of science. At about the same time Bolzanowrote his Wissenschaftslehre (1834) and Mill his Systemof Logic (1843), Comte's Course presented in sequence aphilosophy of mathematics, of astronomy, of physics, of chemistry, ofbiology, and of sociology. Comte's classification is meant not torestore a chimerical unity, but to avoid the fragmentation ofknowledge. Thanks to it, the sciences are related to one another in anencyclopedic scale that goes from the general to the particular, andfrom the simple to the complex: moving from mathematics to sociology,generality decreases and complexity increases.
Auguste Comte and Contribution to Sociology Essay …
The transformation of philosophy into religion does not yield areligion of science because, having overcome modern prejudices, Comte nowunhesitatingly ranks art above science. Now that the break-up with theacademic world was complete, the positivists placed their hopes on analliance with women and proletarians. Comte (who after Clotilde'sdeath obsessively, even cultishly, devoted himself to her) reserved adecisive role in the positive era for women. However, this aspect ofhis work is difficult to accept for a contemporary reader, inparticular because it involves the utopian idea of the virgin mother,which means parthenogenesis for human beings. As for the proletarians,he saw them as spontaneous positivists, just as the positivists weresystematic proletarians!