August Comte Essay

671 words - 3 pages

In order to understand Auguste Comte’s views of positivism and his relevance in our study of classical theory and sociology, it is my opinion that we must look at Auguste Comte, the man, as well as the age in which he was born and matured. He was born in the shadow of the French Revolution in 1798, as both technology and science was on the precipice of the Industrial Revolution. Our textbook mentions on page 124 that in the author’s opinion, one of the basic weaknesses of Comte’s theories was that they were reflective and influenced by Comte’s own trials and tribulations of life. The world he was born into was experiencing great conflict, and people’s beliefs in prior institutions were being smashed. His focus was on a new social order and he focused on the study of this new society as opposed to the past belief in monarchism or religion. In fact, it is his work that the term “sociology” was coined. This study of society was ...view middle of the document...

In his book System of Positive Polity, he emphasized morality and humanity as cornerstones of political organizations in which society participated. His was a new world order and he attempted to use a scientific understanding to bring together history, psychology and economics. His work greatly influenced Karl Marx and his thinking. Above all, Comte was a devotee of the betterment of society.
While this is a discussion board post, and not a paper on Comte it is challenging to just touch on some of his work. His positivism was evident in his Law of the Three Stages, according to our textbook. He argues that people go through three stages in their lives which all lead to the highest tier of the Positivist Stage. He takes that one step further by relating it to the history of the world, feeling that if people better understood these laws, there would be less difficulties and we would progress at greater speed.

One of Comte’s own concern is raised when he seems to ask which social groups would support positivism. It appears that he feels that the working class and women would be the main supporters of this theory. I find it interesting that it almost seems to be happening just this way at this time in history. I found that the authors seem to lean on the side of criticizing Comte’s theories and pointing out their weakness and lack of relevancy in today’s society. They do list the positive contributions by acknowledging Comte as the “founder” of sociology and say that he was responsible for bringing an awareness to three major methods of research, that being; observation, experiment and comparison of information. Their strongest opinion comes on page 125 where they seem to feel that he was just imposing his reflections on the world and that they were not empirical evidence of what actually transpired. Fortunately, the authors recognize their bias and acknowledge it, although they go further until the end of the chapter berating Comte and accusing him of using his “oversized ego” to impose his views on society.

I don’t know how anyone else felt in reading the chapter, but I actually like Comte’s theories and see their relevancy in today' society, domestically as well as globally.

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