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Auguste Comte

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Christine Pang

on 6 July 2013

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Transcript of Auguste Comte

Auguste Comte
Philosopher Auguste Comte was born in January 19, 1798, in Paris, France. He was born in the shadow of the French Revolution and as modern science and technology gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. During this time, European society experienced violent conflict and feelings of alienation. Confidence in established beliefs and institutions was shattered. Comte spent much of his life developing a philosophy for a new social order amidst all the chaos and uncertainty.
Free on his own, Comte developed a social doctrine based on scientific principles. In 1826, he began presenting a series of lectures to a group of distinguished French intellectuals. However, about one-third of the way through the lecture series, he suffered a nervous breakdown. Despite periodic hospitalization over next 15 years, he produced his major work, the six-volume Course of Positive Philosophy. In this work, Comte argued that, like the physical world, society operated under its own set of laws.
His contribution to sociology can be divided into four categories namely:
Classification and ordering of social sciences
The nature, method and scope of sociology
The law of three stages
The plan for social reconstruction
Comte's father, Louis, a government tax official, and his mother, Rosalie (Boyer) Comte, were both monarchists and devout Roman Catholics. While attending the University of Montpellier, Comte abandoned these attitudes in favor of republicanism inspired by the French Revolution, which would influence his later work.
Born in 1798, Auguste Comte grew up
in the wake of the French Revolution.
He rejected religion and royalty, focusing
instead on the study of society, which
he named "sociology." He broke into two
categories: the forces holding society
together ("social statics") and those
driving social change ("social dynamics").
Comte's ideas and use of scientific methods
greatly advanced the field.
In 1814, he entered E cole Polytechnique and proved to be a brilliant mathematecian and scientist. He left school before graduating and settled in Paris with no viable way to support himself. He earned a meager living teaching mathematics and journalism while deep in the study of economics, history and philosophy.
At 19, Comte met Henri de Saint-Simon, a social theorist interested in utopian reform and an early founder of European socialism. Deeply influenced by him, Comte became his secretary and collaborator. In 1824, the partnership ended over disputed authorship of the pair's writings, but Saint-Simon's influence remained throughout Comte's life.
His major publications:
The Course on Positive Philosophy
Discourse on Positive Spirit
A General View of Positivism
Religion of Humanity
Best known for:
Father of sociology
Founder of positivism
Coined the term sociology
His emphasis on systematic observation and social order
Continued to refine and promote his "new world order," attempting to unify history, psychology and economics through the scientific understanding of society. He died of stomach cancer in Paris on September 5, 1857. Though self-centered and egocentric, he devoted himself to the betterment of the society.
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