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Auguste Comte

1798- 1857

Lecture:

Life
Works
Contribution

Life

Quick Facts
Also Listed In :Philosophers
Nationality :French, Famous French Men
religion :Atheist
Born on :19 January 1798 AD
Zodiac Sign

:Capricorn
Born in :Montpellier, France
Died on :05 September 1857 AD
place of death :Paris, France
father
:Louis Comte
mother :Rosalie Boyer
Spouse: :Caroline Massin (m. 18251842)
education :cole Polytechnique
discoveries / inventions
:Discipline Of Sociology And Of The Doctrine Of
Positivism

Auguste Comte or Isidore

Auguste Marie Franois


Xavier Comte was a
prominent French
philosopher.
He, for the first time,
proposed the idea of
positivism
It is a philosophy of science that
gained wide recognition in the
second half of the nineteenth
century.

Childhood & Early


Life
Born in Montpellier,

Herault, in southern
France.
He studied at the
Lycee Joffre and
later attended the
University of
Montpellier.

Personal Life &


Legacy
He married his live-in partner
Caroline Massin in 1824. They did
not lead a happy married life on
account of financial problems and
he divorced his wife in 1842. From
1844, he developed a platonic
relationship with Clotilde de
Vaux.
He passed away due to stomach
cancer. He was buried in the Pere
Lachaise Cemetry, Paris. His
apartment, where he lived from
1841 to 1857, has been preserved
as the Maison dAuguste Comte
which is a private museum.

Works

The Early Essays


The Course of Positive Philosophy
The Systems of Positive Polity
The Subjective Synthesis
Scientific Textbooks

The Early Essays/Writings


where one can see the influence of Saint-Simon, for

whom Comte served as secretary from 1817 to 1824


A General Distinction Between Opinions and Desires
(1819)
A Summary Appreciation of Modern Past (1820)
A Plan for the Scientific Works Necessary to Reorganize
Society (1822)
Philosophical Consideration on Science and Scientists
(1825)
Considerations of Spiritual Power
A Review of Broussaiss Treatise On Irritation (1828)

The Course of Positive Philosophy


six volumes, translated and condensed by Harriet

Martineau as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste


Comte
Like the physical world, society operated under its
own set of laws.
Explains Comtes three Law of Development.
1.
2.
3.

The Theological Stage (Fictitious)


The Metaphysical State (Abstract)
The Positive State (Scientific)

The Systems of Positive Polity

Two main tenets of positive politics


1.
2.

There are no society without government


The proper functioning of society requires a spiritual
power independent from the temporal power.

The Subjective Synthesis


He intended to be a review of the seven sciences

from the point of view of the subjective method.


He intended to write, besides the volume on
mathematics, two volumes on morals, theoretical
and practical.
The remaining volumes he was prepared to leave to
his successors.

Scientific Textbooks
Philosophical Treatise of Popular Astronomy (1844)
Elementary Treatise of Analytical Geometry (1843)

Contribution

Comtes goal was to


Explain

the past
Predict the future

Contribution
He coined the term Sociology
2 broad area of Sociology

Social Statics
Social Dynamics/ Social Change ( The Law of
Three Stages)

Theological or Fictitious Stage


Universe explained in terms of:
Gods
Demons
Mythological

Beings
In this stage the social and the physical world was
produced by God.

The concept of super natural power itself passes through

four sub-stages. In other words Comte had divided the


theological stage into the following four stages.
Fetishism- In this stage men thought that in every object or

thing God resided. Fetishism is a kind of belief that there exists


some living spirit in the non-living objects.
Anthropomorphism- With the gradual development in
human thinking there occurred a change or improvement in the
human thinking which resulted in the development of this stage.
Polytheism- He believed that each and every God had some
definite function and his area of action or operation was
determined. At this stage man had classified Gods or natural
forces.
Monotheism- Mono means one. It implied that one God was supreme
who was responsible for the maintenance of system in the world. This type
of monotheistic thinking marked the victory of human intellect over
irrational thinking.

Metaphysical or Abstract Stage:

In this stage, people viewed the world and

events as natural reflection of human


tendencies.

Positivistic Stage:

Experimentation
Observation
Logic

Three basic methods of Inquiry


Observation
Experiment
Historical Comparison

Three Levels of Society


The Individual
Family
Social Integration