Auguste Comte

Auguste Comte
Auguste Comte (1798-1857) was a great thinker, a famous social philosopher and the first sociologist. His real name was Isidore Auguste Marie Fran├žois Xavier Comte. He was born at Montpellier, France, on January 19,1798, a decade after French Revolution. 

It was Comte who laid the foundations of sociology and is acclaimed as the "father of sociology". Comte was also the founder of French positivism and he was the one who coined the term sociology. 

Comte was born a Catholic, but somewhere around the age of fourteen, he apparently stopped believing in God. At the same time, he left the ideals of his royalist family behind and became a republican. From the very beginning Comte exhibited extra-ordinary mental ability, a strong character and a tendency to go against authority. He is often described as "brilliant and recalcitrant".

Comte  received his primary education at the Imperial Lycee and joined the "Ecole Polytechnique" in Paris, which was a leading scientific institution in France at the time. He was kicked out of this school for leading a student protest.

Comte's philosophy of positivism developed from historical studies of the human mind. This led to Comte's views of the three stages of the history of sciences. In order as follows, the stages are:
  1. Theological stage -  nature has a will of it's own. 
  2. Metaphysical state - though substituting ideas for a personal will.
  3. Positive - a search for absolute knowledge.
When Auguste Comte claimed to have invented the new science of sociology, he said that it was going to be the science that held all other sciences together. As in the course of Positive Philosophy, he said that a science must depend on the previous science to be understood. It was also in the 47th volume of the book that he changed the name of the social physics to sociology. 

Comte wanted to suggest proposals for the improvement of society. But in his attempts to do so, he deviated from the path and established the "Religion of Humanity" claiming himself to be its highest priest. Comte died on September 5, 1857. The religion he started died along with him but the science he set out continues to flourish.

Major Works of Auguste Comte:
  1. "The Prospectus of the Scientific Works Required for the Reorganization of Society", 1822 (a joint work of Comte and Saint Simon).
  2. "Positive Philosophy", 1830-1842, in six volumes.
  3. "Positive Polity", 1851-1854, in four volumes.
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