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Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a
French philosopher French philosophy, here taken to mean philosophy in the French language, has been extremely diverse and has influenced Western philosophy as a whole for centuries, from the medieval scholasticism of Peter Abelard, through the founding of modern phil ...
and writer who formulated the doctrine of
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory A philosophical theory or philosophical position''Dictionary of Theories'', Jennifer Bothamley is a view that attempts to explain or account for a particular problem in philosophy Philosophy (from ...
. He is often regarded as the first
philosopher of science A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...
in the modern sense of the term. Comte's ideas were also fundamental to the development of
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
; indeed, he invented the term and treated that discipline as the crowning achievement of the sciences. Influenced by the
utopian socialist Utopian socialism is the term often used to describe the first current of modern socialism and socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Étienne Cabet, and Robert Owen. Utopian socialism is often des ...
Henri de Saint-Simon Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as Henri de Saint-Simon (; 17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825), was a French political, economic and socialist theorist and businessman whose thought had a substantial influence on pol ...
, Comte developed positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social disorder caused by the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, which he believed indicated imminent transition to a new form of society. He sought to establish a new social doctrine based on science, which he labelled 'positivism'. He had a major impact on 19th-century thought, influencing the work of social thinkers such as
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
and
George Eliot Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real n ...

George Eliot
. His concept of ''Sociologie'' and
social evolutionism Sociocultural evolution, sociocultural evolutionism or cultural evolution are theories of sociobiology and cultural evolution that describe how Society, societies and culture change over time. Whereas sociocultural development traces processes t ...
set the tone for early social theorists and
anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the present and past, including . studies patterns of behaviour, while studies cultural meaning, including ...

anthropologist
s such as
Harriet Martineau Harriet Martineau (; 12 June 1802 – 27 June 1876) was an English social theorist often seen as the first female sociologist. Michael R. Hill (2002''Harriet Martineau: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives'' Routledge. She wrote from a ...
and
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
, evolving into modern academic sociology presented by
Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and is commonly cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science ...

Émile Durkheim
as practical and objective
social research Social research is a research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue ...

social research
. Comte's social theories culminated in his "
Religion of Humanity Religion of Humanity (from French ''Religion de l'Humanité'' or ''w:fr:église positiviste, église positiviste'') is a secular religion created by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), the founder of Positivism, positivist philosophy. Adherents of this ...
", which presaged the development of
non-theistic Nontheism or non-theism is a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of espoused belief in the existence of god or gods. Nontheism has generally been used to describe apathy or silence towards the subject o ...
religious humanist and
secular humanist Secular humanism, often simply called humanism, is a philosophy or life stance A person's life stance, or lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance. It involves the presuppositions and theories upon wh ...
organisations in the 19th century. He may also have coined the word ''altruisme'' (
altruism Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...
).


Life

Auguste Comte was born in
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr , it, Mompellieri ) is a city in southern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental coun ...

Montpellier
,
Hérault Hérault (; oc, Erau, ) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and adm ...
on 19 January 1798. After attending the Lycée Joffre and then the
University of Montpellier The University of Montpellier (french: Université de Montpellier) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An org ...
, Comte was admitted to
École Polytechnique The École Polytechnique (French: l'École polytechnique, commonly known as la Polytechnique or l'X ) is one of the most prestigious and selective grandes écoles Grandes may refer to: *Agustín Muñoz Grandes, Spanish general and politician ...
in Paris. The École Polytechnique was notable for its adherence to the French ideals of
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
and
progress Progress is the movement towards a refined, improved, or otherwise desired state. In the context of progressivism Progressivism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philos ...
. The École closed in 1816 for reorganization, however, and Comte continued his studies at the medical school at Montpellier. When the École Polytechnique reopened, he did not request readmission. Following his return to Montpellier, Comte soon came to see unbridgeable differences with his
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
and
monarchist Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, ...
family and set off again for Paris, earning money by small jobs. In August 1817 he found an apartment at 36
Rue Bonaparte Rue Bonaparte is a street in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It spans the Quai Voltaire/Quai Malaquais to the Jardin du Luxembourg, crossing the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the place Saint-Sulpice and has housed many of France's most famous ...
in Paris's
6th arrondissement The 6th arrondissement of Paris (''VIe arrondissement'') is one of the 20 Arrondissements of Paris, arrondissements of the capital city of France. In spoken French, this arrondissement is referred to as ''sixième''. The arrondissement, called L ...
(where he lived until 1822) and later that year he became a student and secretary to
Henri de Saint-Simon Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as Henri de Saint-Simon (; 17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825), was a French political, economic and socialist theorist and businessman whose thought had a substantial influence on pol ...
, who brought Comte into contact with intellectual society and greatly influenced his thought therefrom. During that time Comte published his first essays in the various publications headed by Saint-Simon, ''L'Industrie'', ''Le Politique'', and '' L'Organisateur'' (
Charles Dunoyer Charles Dunoyer Barthélemy-Charles-Pierre-Joseph Dunoyer de Segonzac (20 May 1786 – 4 December 1862), better known as Charles Dunoyer, was a French economist of the French Liberal SchoolThe French Liberal School, also called the Optimist School ...

Charles Dunoyer
and
Charles ComteFrançois-Charles-Louis Comte (1782–1837) was a French lawyer, journalist and political writer. Biography In 1814, Comte, along with Charles Dunoyer, founded with ''Le Censeur'', a liberal journal. In 1820, he was found guilty of attacks against ...
's '' Le Censeur Européen''), although he would not publish under his own name until 1819's "La séparation générale entre les opinions et les désirs" ("The general separation of opinions and desires"). In 1824, Comte left Saint-Simon, again because of unbridgeable differences. Comte published a ''Plan de travaux scientifiques nécessaires pour réorganiser la société'' (1822) (''Plan of scientific studies necessary for the reorganization of society''). But he failed to get an academic post. His day-to-day life depended on sponsors and financial help from friends. Debates rage as to how much Comte appropriated the work of Saint-Simon.Pickering (2006), p. 192ff. Comte married Caroline Massin in 1825. In 1826, he was taken to a mental health hospital, but left without being cured – only stabilized by French alienist
Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol (3 February 1772 – 12 December 1840) was a France, French psychiatrist. Early life and education Born and raised in Toulouse, Esquirol completed his education at Montpellier. He came to Paris in 1799 where he w ...

Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol
– so that he could work again on his plan (he would later attempt suicide in 1827 by jumping off the
Pont des Arts The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the River Seine ) , mouth_location = Le Havre Le Havre (, ; nrf, Lé Hâvre) is an urban French Communes of France, commune and city in the Seine- ...

Pont des Arts
). In the time between this and their divorce in 1842, he published the six volumes of his ''Cours.'' Comte developed a close friendship with
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
. From 1844, he fell deeply in love with the Catholic , although because she was not divorced from her first husband, their love was never consummated. After her death in 1846 this love became quasi-religious, and Comte, working closely with Mill (who was refining his own such system) developed a new "
Religion of Humanity Religion of Humanity (from French ''Religion de l'Humanité'' or ''w:fr:église positiviste, église positiviste'') is a secular religion created by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), the founder of Positivism, positivist philosophy. Adherents of this ...
".
John Kells Ingram John Kells Ingram (7 July 1823 – 1 May 1907) was an Irish economist and poet who started his career as a mathematician. He has been co-credited, along with John William Stubbs, with introducing the geometric concept of inversion in a circle. ...
, an adherent of Comte, visited him in Paris in 1855. He published four volumes of ''Système de politique positive'' (1851–1854). His final work, the first volume of ''La Synthèse Subjective'' ("The Subjective Synthesis"), was published in 1856. Comte died in Paris on 5 September 1857 from stomach cancer and was buried in the famous
Père Lachaise Cemetery Père Lachaise Cemetery (french: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise ; formerly , "Cemetery of the East") is the largest cemetery in Paris, France (). With more than 3.5 million visitors annually, it is the most visited necropolis in the world. Notable ...
, surrounded by cenotaphs in memory of his mother, Rosalie Boyer, and of Clotilde de Vaux. His apartment from 1841 to 1857 is now conserved as the and is located at 10 rue Monsieur-le-Prince, in Paris'
6th arrondissement The 6th arrondissement of Paris (''VIe arrondissement'') is one of the 20 Arrondissements of Paris, arrondissements of the capital city of France. In spoken French, this arrondissement is referred to as ''sixième''. The arrondissement, called L ...
.


Work


Comte's positivism

Comte first described the
epistemological Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemological
perspective of positivism in ''
The Course in Positive Philosophy The ''Course of Positive Philosophy'' (''Cours de Philosophie Positive'') was a series of texts written by the French Philosophy of science, philosopher of science and founding sociologist, Auguste Comte, between 1830 and 1842. Within the work he u ...
'', a series of texts published between 1830 and 1842. These texts were followed by the 1848 work, ''
A General View of Positivism ''A General View of Positivism'' (''Discours sur l'ensemble du positivisme'') was an 1844 book by a French philosopher Auguste Comte, first published in English in 1865. A founding text in the development of positivism and the discipline of sociolo ...
'' (published in English in 1865). The first 3 volumes of the ''Course'' dealt chiefly with the physical sciences already in existence (mathematics,
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
,
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
,
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
,
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
), whereas the latter two emphasised the inevitable coming of
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
. Observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and classifying the sciences in this way, Comte may be regarded as the first
philosopher of science A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...
in the modern sense of the term. Comte was also the first to distinguish natural philosophy from science explicitly. For him, the physical sciences had necessarily to arrive first, before humanity could adequately channel its efforts into the most challenging and complex "Queen science" of human society itself. His work ''View of Positivism'' would therefore set out to define, in more detail, the empirical goals of the sociological method. Comte offered an account of social evolution, proposing that society undergoes three phases in its quest for the truth according to a general law of three stages. Comte's stages were (1) the ''
theological Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
'' stage, (2) the ''
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysical
'' stage, and (3) the ''positive'' stage. (1) The Theological stage was seen from the perspective of 19th century France as preceding the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
, in which man's place in society and society's restrictions upon man were referenced to God. Man blindly believed in whatever he was taught by his ancestors. He believed in supernatural power.
Fetishism A fetish (derived from the french: fétiche; which comes from the pt, feitiço; and this in turn from la, facticius, "artificial" and , "to make") is an object believed to have supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomen ...
played a significant role during this time. (2) By the "Metaphysical" stage, Comte referred not to the Metaphysics of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
or other ancient Greek philosophers. Rather, the idea was rooted in the problems of French society subsequent to the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
of 1789. This Metaphysical stage involved the justification of ''universal rights'' as being on a vaunted higher plane than the authority of any human ruler to countermand, although said rights were not referenced to the sacred beyond mere metaphor. This stage is known as the stage of the investigation, because people started reasoning and questioning, although no solid evidence was laid. The stage of the investigation was the beginning of a world that questioned authority and religion. (3) In the Scientific stage, which came into being after the failure of the revolution and of
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
, people could find solutions to social problems and bring them into force despite the proclamations of ''human rights'' or prophecy of ''the will of God.'' Science started to answer questions in full stretch. In this regard, he was similar to
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
and
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">O.S._4_February_1747.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Old Style and New Style dates">O.S. 4 February 1747">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.htm ...

Jeremy Bentham
. For its time, this idea of a Scientific stage was considered up-to-date, although, from a later standpoint, it is too derivative of
classical physics Classical physics is a group of physics theories that predate modern, more complete, or more widely applicable theories. If a currently accepted theory is considered to be modern, and its introduction represented a major paradigm shift, then the ...
and
academic history An academic history can be a large, multivolume work such as the '' Cambridge Modern History'', written collaboratively under some central editorial control. In the 19th century the idea appeared in universities that a definitive history could b ...
. Comte's
law of three stages The law of three stages is an idea developed by Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosophy, French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivis ...
was one of the first theories of
social evolutionism Sociocultural evolution, sociocultural evolutionism or cultural evolution are theories of sociobiology and cultural evolution that describe how Society, societies and culture change over time. Whereas sociocultural development traces processes t ...
. The other universal law he called the "encyclopedic law". By combining these laws, Comte developed a systematic and
hierarchical classification A hierarchical classifier is a classifier (mathematics), classifier that maps input data (computing), data into defined Hierarchy#Subsumptive containment hierarchy, subsumptive output categories. The Statistical classification, classification occu ...
of all sciences, including inorganic physics (
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
,
earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Ta ...
and
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
) and organic physics (
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
and, for the first time, ''physique sociale'', later renamed ''Sociologie''). Independently from
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (3 May 174820 June 1836), usually known as the abbé Sieyès (), was a French Roman Catholic ''abbé Image:Abbé, Nordisk familjebok.png, upFrench abbé of the 18th century ''Abbé'' (from Latin ''abbas'', in turn from Gre ...
's introduction of the term in 1780, Comte re-invented "sociologie", and introduced the term as a
neologism A neologism (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
, in 1838. Comte had earlier used the term "social physics", but that term had been appropriated by others, notably by
Adolphe Quetelet Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet FRSF or FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged t ...
. This idea of a special science (not the humanities, not
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
) for the social was prominent in the 19th century and not unique to Comte. It has recently been discovered that the term "sociology" (as a term considered coined by Comte) had already been introduced in 1780, albeit with a different meaning, by the French essayist
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (3 May 174820 June 1836), usually known as the abbé Sieyès (), was a French Roman Catholic ''abbé Image:Abbé, Nordisk familjebok.png, upFrench abbé of the 18th century ''Abbé'' (from Latin ''abbas'', in turn from Gre ...
(1748–1836). The ambitious (or many would say 'grandiose') ways that Comte conceived of this special science of the social, however, was unique. Comte saw this new science, sociology, as the last and greatest of all sciences, one which would include all other sciences and integrate and relate their findings into a cohesive whole. It has to be pointed out, however, that he noted a seventh science, one even greater than sociology. Namely, Comte considered "
Anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, or true science of Man o bethe last gradation in the Grand Hierarchy of Abstract Science." Comte's explanation of the Positive philosophy introduced the important relationship between theory, practice, and human understanding of the world. On page 27 of the 1855 printing of
Harriet Martineau Harriet Martineau (; 12 June 1802 – 27 June 1876) was an English social theorist often seen as the first female sociologist. Michael R. Hill (2002''Harriet Martineau: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives'' Routledge. She wrote from a ...
's translation of ''The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte'', we see his observation that, "If it is true that every theory must be based upon observed facts, it is equally true that facts can not be observed without the guidance of some theories. Without such guidance, our facts would be desultory and fruitless; we could not retain them: for the most part, we could not even perceive them." Comte's emphasis on the interconnectedness of social elements was a forerunner of modern functionalism. Nevertheless, as with many others of Comte's time, certain elements of his work are now viewed as eccentric and unscientific, and his grand vision of sociology as the centerpiece of all the sciences has not come to fruition. His emphasis on a quantitative, mathematical basis for decision-making remains with us today. It is a foundation of the modern notion of Positivism, modern quantitative
statistical analysis Statistical inference is the process of using data analysis to infer properties of an underlying probability distribution, distribution of probability.Upton, G., Cook, I. (2008) ''Oxford Dictionary of Statistics'', OUP. . Inferential statistical ...
, and business decision-making. His description of the continuing cyclical relationship between theory and practice is seen in modern business systems of
Total Quality Management #REDIRECT Total quality management Total quality management (TQM) consists of organization-wide efforts to "install and make permanent climate where employees continuously improve their ability to provide on demand products and services that cus ...
(TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement where advocates describe a continuous cycle of theory and practice through the four-part cycle of
Plan-Do-Check-Act PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) is an iterative design Iterative design is a design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process ...
(
PDCA PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) is an iterative design Iterative design is a design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process ...

PDCA
, the Shewhart cycle). Despite his advocacy of quantitative analysis, Comte saw a limit in its ability to help explain social phenomena. The early sociology of
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
came about broadly as a reaction to Comte; writing after various developments in evolutionary biology, Spencer attempted to reformulate the discipline in what we might now describe as
socially Darwinistic Social Darwinism refers to various theories that emerged in Western Europe and North America in the 1870s that applied biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology, economics, and politics. Social Darwinism ...
terms. Comte's fame today owes in part to
Émile Littré 170px, Émile Littré, (1801–1881). Émile Maximilien Paul Littré (; 1 February 18012 June 1881) was a French lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or cr ...

Émile Littré
, who founded ''The Positivist Review'' in 1867. Debates continue to rage, however, as to how much Comte appropriated from the work of his mentor,
Henri de Saint-Simon Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as Henri de Saint-Simon (; 17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825), was a French political, economic and socialist theorist and businessman whose thought had a substantial influence on pol ...
. Auguste Comte did not create the idea of Sociology, the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture, but instead, he expanded it greatly. Positivism, the principle of conducting sociology through empiricism and the scientific method, was the primary way that Comte studied sociology. He split sociology into two different areas of study. One, social statics, how society holds itself together, and two, social dynamics, the study of the causes of societal changes. He saw these areas as parts of the same system. Comte compared society and sociology to the human body and anatomy. "Comte ascribed the functions of connection and boundaries to the social structures of language, religion, and division of labor." Through language, everybody in society, both past, and present, can communicate with each other. Religion unites society under a common belief system and functions in harmony under a system. Finally, the division of labor allows everyone in the society depends upon each other.


The Utopian Project

Comte is often disregarded when talking about utopia. However, he made many contributions to utopian literature and influenced the modern-day debate. Some intellectuals allude to the fact that the utopian system of modern life "served as a catalyst for various world-making activities during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries" (Willson, M. 2019) In this utopian project, Comte introduces three major concepts: altruism, sociocracy, and the religion of Humanity. Altruism termed coined by Comte in the 19th century "a theory of conduct that regards the good of others as the end of moral action.” (Britannica, T, 2013). Furthermore, Comte explains sociocracy as the governance by people who know each other, friends, or allies. After the French revolution, Comte was looking for a rational basis for government, after developing the Positivism philosophy he developed sociocracy to the “scientific method” of the government.


The religion of humanity

In later years, Comte developed the
Religion of Humanity Religion of Humanity (from French ''Religion de l'Humanité'' or ''w:fr:église positiviste, église positiviste'') is a secular religion created by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), the founder of Positivism, positivist philosophy. Adherents of this ...
for positivist societies to fulfil the cohesive function once held by traditional worship. In 1849, he proposed a
calendar reform Calendar reform or calendrical reform is any significant revision of a calendar system. The term sometimes is used instead for a proposal to switch to a different calendar design. Principles The prime objective of a calendar is to unambiguou ...
called the '
positivist calendarThe positivist calendar was a calendar reform proposal by Auguste Comte (1798–1857) in 1849. Revising the earlier work of Marco Mastrofini, or an even earlier proposal by "Hirossa Ap-Iccim" (Hugh Jones (professor), Hugh Jones), Comte developed a so ...
'. For close associate
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
, it was possible to distinguish between a "good Comte" (the author of the ''Course in Positive Philosophy'') and a "bad Comte" (the author of the secular-religious ''system''). The ''system'' was unsuccessful but met with the publication of
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...

Darwin
's ''
On the Origin of Species ''On the Origin of Species'' (or, more completely, ''On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' (1859) to influence the proliferation of various
Secular Humanist Secular humanism, often simply called humanism, is a philosophy or life stance A person's life stance, or lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance. It involves the presuppositions and theories upon wh ...
organizations in the 19th century, especially through the work of secularists such as
George Holyoake George Jacob Holyoake (13 April 1817 – 22 January 1906) was an English secularist, co-operator, and newspaper editor. He coined the term " secularism" in 1851 and " jingoism" in 1878. He edited a secularist paper, the ''Reasoner'', from 1846 t ...
and
Richard Congreve Richard Congreve (4 September 1818 – 5 July 1899) was the first English philosopher to openly espouse the Religion of Humanity, the godless form of religious humanism that was introduced by Auguste Comte, as a distinct form of positivism. Congre ...
. Although Comte's English followers, including
George Eliot Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real n ...

George Eliot
and Harriet Martineau, for the most part rejected the full gloomy panoply of his system, they liked the idea of a religion of humanity and his injunction to "vivre pour autrui" ("live for others"), from which comes the word "
altruism Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...

altruism
".


Law of three stages

Comte was agitated by the fact that no one had synthesized physics, chemistry, and biology into a coherent system of ideas, so he began an attempt to reasonably deduce facts about the social world from the use of the sciences. Through his studies, he concluded that the growth of the human mind progresses in stages, and so must societies. He claimed the history of society could be divided into three different stages: theological, metaphysical, and positive. The Law of three Stages, an evolutionary theory, describes how the history of societies is split into three sections due to new thoughts on philosophy. Comte believed that evolution was the growth of the human mind, splitting into stages and evolving through these stages. Comte concluded that society acts similarly to the mind.Delaney, Tim. "Auguste Comte". Council for Secular Humanism. ''Council for Secular Humanism'', Oct.-Nov. 2003. The Law of Three Stages is the evolution of society in which the stages have already occurred or are currently developing. The reason why there are newly developed stages after a certain time period is that the system "has lost its power" and is preventing the progression of civilization, causing complicated situations in society. 10.Comte, Auguste, and Gertrud Lenzer. Auguste Comte and Positivism: The Essential Writings. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print. The only way to escape the situation is for people within the civilized nations to turn towards an "organic" new social system. Comte refers to kings to show the complications of re-establishment in society. Kings feel the need to reorganize their kingdom, but many fail to succeed because they do not consider that the progress of civilization needs reform, not perceiving that there is nothing more perfect than inserting a new, more harmonious system. Kings fail to see the effectiveness of abandoning old systems because they do not understand the nature of the present crisis. But in order to progress, there need to be the necessary consequences that come with it, which is caused by a "series of modifications, independent of the human will, to which all classes of society contributed, and of which kings themselves have often been the first agents and most eager promoters". The people themselves have the ability to produce a new system. This pattern is shown through the theological stage, metaphysical stage, and positive stage. The Law of Three Stages is split into stages, much like how the human mind changes from stage to stage. The three stages are the theological stage, the metaphysical stage, and the positive stage, also known as the Law of Three Stages. The theological stage happened before the 1300s, in which all societies lived a life that was completely theocentric. The metaphysical stage was when the society seeks universal rights and freedom. With the third and final stage, the positive stage, Comte takes a stand on the question, “how should the relations among philosophy of science, history of science, and sociology of science be seen." He says that sociology and history are not mutually exclusive, but that history is the method of sociology, thus he calls sociology the “final science.” This positive stage was to solve social problems and forcing these social problems to be fixed without care for “the will of God” or “human rights.” Comte finds that these stages can be seen across different societies across all of history. # Theological Stage ##The first stage, the theological stage, relies on supernatural or religious explanations of the phenomena of human behavior because "the human mind, in its search for the primary and final causes of phenomena, explains the apparent anomalies in the universe as interventions of supernatural agents".Bourdeau, Michel. Auguste Comte. Stanford University. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/comte/ 8 April 2016 The Theological Stage is the "necessary starting point of human intelligence" when humans turn to supernatural agents as the cause of all phenomena."Auguste Comte." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2015): 1. MAS Ultra School Edition. Web. In this stage, humans focus on discovering absolute knowledge. Comte disapproved of this stage because it turned to simple explanation humans created in their minds that all phenomena were caused by supernatural agents, rather than human reason and experience. Comte refers to Bacon's philosophy that "there can be no real knowledge except that which rests upon observed facts", but he observes that the primitive mind could not have thought that way because it would have only created a vicious circle between observations and theories. "For if, on the one hand, every positive theory must necessarily be founded upon observations, it is, on the other hand, no less true that, in order to observe, our mind has need of some theory or other". Because the human mind could not have thought in that way in the origin of human knowledge, Comte claims that humans would have been "incapable of remembering facts", and would not have escaped the circle if it were not for theological conceptions, which were less complicated explanations to human life. Although Comte disliked this stage, he explains that theology was necessary at the beginning of the developing primitive mind. The first theological state is the necessary starting point of human intelligence. The human mind primarily focuses its attention on the "inner nature of beings and to the first and final causes of all phenomena it observes." (Ferre 2) This means that the mind is looking for the cause and effect of an action that will govern the social world. Therefore, it "represents these phenomena as being produced by a direct and continuous action of more or less numerous supernatural agents, whose arbitrary interventions explain all the apparent anomalies of the universe." (Ferre 2) This primary subset of the theological state is known as fetishism, where the phenomena must be caused and created by a theological supernatural being such as God, making humans view every event in the universe as a direct will from these supernatural agents. Some people believed in souls or spirits that possessed inanimate objects and practiced Animism. These natural spiritual beings who possessed souls and may exist apart from the material bodies were capable of interacting with humans, therefore requiring sacrifices and worship to please the agents. With all these new reasons behind phenomena, numerous fetishisms occur, needing several gods to continue to explain events. People begin to believe that every object or event has a unique god attached to it. This belief is called polytheism. The mind "substituted the providential action of a single being for the varied play of numerous independent gods which have been imagined by the primitive mind." These Gods often took on both human and animal resemblance. In Egypt, there were multiple gods with animal body parts such as Ra, who had the head of a hawk and had sun associations with the Egyptians. The polytheistic Greeks had several gods such as Poseidon who controlled the sea and Demeter who was the goddess of fertility. However, with all these new gods governing the phenomena of society, the brain can get confused with the numerous gods it needs to remember. The human mind eliminates this problem by believing in a sub-stage called monotheism. Rather than having multiple gods, there is simply one all-knowing and omnipotent God who is the center of power controlling the world. This creates harmony with the universe because everything is under one ruler. This leaves no confusion of how to act or who is the superior ruler out of the several gods seen in polytheism. The theological state functions well as the first state of the mind when making a belief about an event because it creates a temporary placeholder for the cause of the action which can later be replaced. By allowing the brain to think of the reason behind phenomena, the polytheistic gods are fillers that can be replaced by monotheistic gods. The theological stage shows how the primitive mind views supernatural phenomena and how it defines and sorts the causes. "The earliest progress of the human mind could only have been produced by the theological method, the only method which can develop spontaneously. It alone has the important property of offering us a provisional theory,… which immediately groups the first facts, with its help, by cultivating our capacity for observation, we were able to prepare the age of a wholly positive philosophy." (Comte 149) ##Comte believed the theological stage was necessary because of the foundational belief that man's earliest philosophy of explanation is the act of connecting phenomena around him to his own actions; that man may "apply the study of external nature to his own". This first stage is necessary to remove mankind from the "vicious circle in which it was confined by the two necessities of observing first, in order to form conceptions, and of forming theories first, in order to observe". Additionally, the theological stage is able to organize society by directing "the first social organization, as it first forms a system of common opinions, and by forming such a system". Though, according to Comte, it could not last, this stage was able to establish an intellectual unity that made an impressive political system. The theological state was also necessary for human progress on account that it creates a class in a society dedicated to "speculative activity". It is in this way that Comte sees the theological stage continue to exist into the Enlightenment. Comte momentarily admires the theological stage for its remarkable ability to enact this activity amidst a time when it was argued to be impractical. It is to this stage that the human mind owes "the first effectual separation between theory and practice, which could take place in no other manner" other than through the institution provided by the theological stage. The Theological Stage is the stage that was seen primarily among the civilizations in the distant past. Having been used before the 1300s, this is a very basic view of the world with little to no involvement in the world of science, and a world of illusions and delusions, as Freud would put it. To seek the nature of all beings, mankind puts its focus on sentiments, feelings, and emotions. This turned mankind towards theology and the creation of gods to answer all their questions. ## Fetishism ###The Theological Stage is broken into three sections, Fetishism, Polytheism, and Monotheism. Fetishism is the philosophy in which mankind puts the power of a god into an inanimate object. Every object could hold this power of a god, so it started to confuse those who believed in Fetishism and created multiple gods, and formed Polytheism. ## Polytheism ###The basic meaning of polytheism is the belief in an order of multiple gods who rule over the universe. Within polytheism, each god is assigned a specific thing in which they are the good of. Examples of this would be the Greek god, Zeus, the god of the sky/lightning, or Ra, the sun god, in Egyptian mythology. A group of priests was often assigned to these gods to offer sacrifices and receive blessings from those gods, but once again, because of the innumerable number of gods, it got confusing, so civilization turned to Monotheism. ## Monotheism ###Monotheism is the belief in one, all-powerful God who rules over every aspect of the universe. The removal of an emotional and imaginational aspects of both Fetishism and Polytheism resulted in intellectual awakening. This removal allowed for the Enlightenment to occur as well as the expansion of the scientific world. With the Enlightenment came many famous philosophers who brought about a great change in the world. This is the reason why "Monotheism is the climax of the theological stage of thinking." # Metaphysical or Abstract Stage ::The second stage, the metaphysical stage, is merely a modification of the first because a supernatural cause is replaced by an "abstract entity"; it is meant to be a transitional stage, where there is the belief that abstract forces control the behavior of human beings. Because it is a transitional stage between the theological stage and the positive stage, Comte deemed it the least important of the three stages and was only necessary because the human mind cannot make the jump from the theological to the positive stage on its own. ::The metaphysical stage is the transitional stage. Because "Theology and physics are so profoundly incompatible", and their "conceptions are so radically opposed in character", human intelligence must have a gradual transition. Other than this, Comte says that there is no other use for this stage. Although it is the least important stage, it is necessary because humans could not handle the significant change in thought from theological to positivity. The metaphysical stage is just a slight modification of the previous stage when people believed in the abstract forces rather than the supernatural. The mind begins to notice the facts themselves, caused by the emptiness of the metaphysical agents through "over subtle qualification that all right-minded persons considered them to be only the abstract names of the phenomena in question". The mind becomes familiar with concepts, wanting to seek more, and therefore is prepared to move into the positive stage. :: ::In understanding Comte’s argument, it is important to note that Comte explains the theological and positive stages first and only then returns to explain the metaphysical stage. His rationale in this decision is that “any intermediate state can be judged only after a precise analysis of two extremes”. Only upon arrival to the rational positive state can the metaphysical state be analyzed, serving only a purpose of aiding in the transition from the theological to a positive state. Furthermore, this state “reconciles, for a time, the radical opposition of the other two, adapting itself to the gradual decline of the one and the preparatory rise of the other”. Therefore, the transition between the two states is almost unperceivable. Unlike its predecessor and successor, the metaphysical state does not have a strong intellectual foundation nor social power for a political organization. Rather is simply serves to guide man until the transition from imaginative theological state to rational positive state is complete. :3. Positive stage ::The last stage – the positive stage – is when the mind stops searching for the cause of phenomena and realizes that laws exist to govern human behavior and that this stage can be explained rationally with the use of reason and observation, both of which are used to study the social world.Delaney, Tim. Auguste Comte. Council for Secular Humanism, 2003. This stage relies on science, rational thought, and empirical laws. Comte believed that this study of sociology he created was "the science that
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after all the others; and as the final science, it must assume the task of coordinating the development of the whole of knowledge" because it organized all of human behavior. The final, most evolved stage is the positivist stage, the stage when humans give up on discovering absolute truth, and turn towards discovering, through reasoning and observation, actual laws of phenomena. Humans realize that laws exist and that the world can be rationally explained through science, rational thought, laws, and observation. Comte was a positivist, believing in the natural rather than the supernatural, and so he claimed that his time period, the 1800s, was in the positivist stage. He believed that within this stage, there is a hierarchy of sciences: mathematics, astronomy, terrestrial physics, chemistry, and physiology. Mathematics, the "science that relates to the measurement of magnitudes", is the most perfect science of all, and is applied to the most important laws of the universe. Astronomy is the most simple science and is the first "to be subjected to positive theories". Physics is less satisfactory than astronomy, because it is more complex, having less pure and systemized theories. Physics, as well as chemistry, are the "general laws of the inorganic world", and are harder to distinguish. Physiology completes the system of natural sciences and is the most important of all sciences because it is the "only solid basis of the social reorganization that must terminate the crisis in which the most civilized nations have found themselves". This stage will fix the problems in current nations, allowing progression and peace. It is through observation that humanity is able to gather knowledge. The only way within society to gather evidence and build upon what we do not already know to strengthen society is to observe and experience our situational surroundings. “In the positive state, the mind stops looking for causes of phenomena, and limits itself strictly to laws governing them; likewise, absolute notions are replaced by relative ones,” The imperfection of humanity is not a result of the way we think, rather our perspective that guides the way we think. Comte expresses the idea that we have to open our eyes to different ideas and ways to evaluate our surroundings such as focusing outside of the simple facts and abstract ideas but instead dive into the supernatural. This does not make mean that what is around us is not critical to look out for as our observations are critical assets to our thinking. The things that are "lost" or knowledge that is in the past are still relevant to recent knowledge. It is what is before our time that guides why things are the way they are today. We would always be relying on our own facts and would never hypothesize to reveal the supernatural if we do not observe. Observing strives to further our thinking processes. According to Comte, "‘The dead govern the living,’ which is likely a reference to the cumulative nature of positivism and the fact that our current world is shaped by the actions and discoveries of those who came before us," As this is true, the observations only relevant to humanity and not abstractly related to humanity are distinct and seen situationally. The situation leads to human observation as a reflection of the tension in society can be reviewed, overall helping to enhance knowledge development. Upon our observation skills, our thinking shifts. As thinkers and observers, we switch from trying to identify truth and turn toward the rationality and reason nature brings, giving us the ability to observe. This distinct switch takes on the transition from the abstract to the supernatural. "Comte’s classification of the sciences was based upon the hypothesis that the sciences had developed from the understanding of simple and abstract principles to the understanding of complex and concrete phenomena." Instead of taking what we believe to be true we turn it around to use the phenomena of science and the observation of natural law to justify what we believe to be true within society. The condensing and formulation of human knowledge is what Comte drives us toward to ultimately build the strongest society possible. If scientists do not take the chance to research why a certain animal species are going distinct and their facts researched by those in the past are no longer true of the present, how is the data supposed to grow? How are we to gain more knowledge? These facts of life are valuable, but it is beyond these facts that Comte gestures us to look to. Instead of the culmination of facts with little sufficiency, knowledge altogether takes on its role in the realm of science. In connection to science, Comte relates to science in two specific fields to rebuild the construction of human knowledge. As science is broad, Comte reveals this scientific classification for the sake of thinking and the future organization of society. "Comte divided sociology into two main fields, or branches: social statistics, or the study of the forces that hold society together; and social dynamics, or the study of the causes of social change,” In doing this, society is reconstructed. By reconstructing human thinking and observation, societal operation alters. The attention is drawn to science, hypothesis’, natural law, and supernatural ideas, allows sociology to be divided into these two categories. By combining the simple facts from the abstract to the supernatural and switching our thinking towards hypothetical observation, the sciences culminate in order to formulate sociology and this new societal division. “Every social system… aims definitively at directing all special forces towards a general result, for the exercise of a general and combined activity is the essence of the society,” Social phenomena Comte believed can be transferred into laws and that systemization could become the prime guide to sociology so that all can maintain knowledge to continue building a strong intellectual society. To continue building a strong intellectual society, Comte believed the building or reformation requires intricate steps to achieve success. First, the new society must be created after the old society is destroyed because "without…destruction no adequate conception could be formed of what must be done,". Essentially a new society cannot be formed if it is constantly hindered by the ghost of its past. On the same terms, there will be no room for progress if the new society continues to compare itself to the old society. If humanity does not destroy the old society, the old society will destroy humanity. Or on the other hand, if one destroys the old society, "without ever replacing it, the people march onwards towards total anarchy,".  If the society is continuously chipped away without being replaced with new ideal societal structures, then society will fall deeper back into its old faults. The burdens will grow deep and entangle the platforms for the new society, thus prohibiting progress, and ultimately fulfilling the cursed seesaw of remodeling and destroying society. Hence, according to Comte, to design a successful new society, one must keep the balance of reconstruction and deconstruction. This balance allows for progress to continue without fault.


Predictions

Auguste Comte is well known for writing in his book ''The Positive Philosophy'' that people would never learn the chemical composition of the stars. This has been called a very poor prediction regarding human limits in science. In thirty years people were beginning to learn the composition of stars through spectroscopy.


Bibliography

* — ''A general view of positivism'' 'Discours sur l'Esprit positif'' 1844London, 185
Internet Archive
* — Bridges, J.H. (tr.); ''A General View of Positivism''; Trubner and Co., 1865 (reissued by
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, 2009; ) * — Congrev, R. (tr.); ''The Catechism of Positive Religion''; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., 1891 (reissued by
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, 2009; ) * with Gertrud Lenzer. ''Auguste Comte and Positivism the Essential Writings''. Transaction Publishers, 1998. * — Martineau, H. (tr.); ''The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte''; 2 volumes; Chapman, 1853 (reissued by
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, 2009; ) (but note that Cambridge University Press said "Martineau's abridged and more easily digestible version of Comte's work was intended to be readily accessible to a wide general readership, particularly those she felt to be morally and intellectually adrift", so this is not really Comte's own writings) * — Jones, H.S. (ed.); ''Comte: Early Political Writings'';
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
, 1998; * — ''System of Positive Polity''; various publishers * — ''Cours de Philosophie Positive, Tome II''; Bachelier, Paris, 1835
The Project Gutenberg eBook of Cours de philosophie positive (2/6), par Auguste Comte
scans of the six volumes are a
Projet Gallica
* with Ferré Frederick. Introduction to Positive Philosophy. Hackett Pub. Co., 1988. * with H. S. Jones. Early Political Writings. Cambridge University Press, 2003.


Notes


Sources

* Mary Pickering, ''Auguste Comte, Volume 1: An Intellectual Biography'', Cambridge University Press (1993), Paperback, 2006. * Mary Pickering, ''Auguste Comte, Volume 2: An Intellectual Biography'', Cambridge University Press, 2009a. * Mary Pickering, ''Auguste Comte, Volume 3: An Intellectual Biography'', Cambridge University Press, 2009b.


Further reading

*
Henri Gouhier Henri Gouhier (; 5 December 1898 – 31 March 1994) was a France, French philosopher, a historian of philosophy, and a literary critic. Biography Born in Auxerre, Yonne, Gouhier's studies led to a doctorate in 1926. He served as the Professor of ...

Henri Gouhier
, ''La vie d'Auguste Comte'', Gallimard, 1931 lah * Jean Delvolvé, ''Réflexions sur la pensée comtienne'', Félix Alcan, 1932 *
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
, ''Auguste Comte and Positivism'', Trübner, 1865 * Laurent Fedi, ''Comte'', Les Belles Lettres, 2000, réédition 2005 * Laurent Fedi, L'organicisme de Comte, in ''Auguste Comte aujourd'hui'', M. Bourdeau, J.-F. Braunstein, A. Petit (dir), Kimé, 2003, pp. 111–132 * Laurent Fedi, Auguste Comte, la disjonction de l'idéologie et de l'État, ''Cahiers philosophiques'', n°94, 2003, pp. 99–110 * Laurent Fedi, Le monde clos contre l'univers infini : Auguste Comte et les enjeux humains de l'astronomie, ''La Mazarine'', n°13, juin 2000, pp. 12–15 * Laurent Fedi, La contestation du miracle grec chez Auguste Comte, in ''L'Antiquité grecque au XIXè siècle : un exemplum contesté ?'', C. Avlami (dir.), L'Harmattan, 2000, pp. 157–192 * Laurent Fedi, Auguste Comte et la technique, ''Revue d'histoire des sciences'' 53/2, 1999, pp. 265–293 * Mike Gane, ''Auguste Comte'', London, Routledge, 2006. * Henri Gouhier, ''La jeunesse d'Auguste Comte et la formation du positivisme, tome 1 : sous le signe de la liberté'', Vrin, 1932 * Henri Gouhier, ''La jeunesse d'Auguste Comte et la formation du positivisme, tome 2 : Saint-Simon jusqu'à la restauration'', Vrin * Henri Gouhier, ''La jeunesse d'Auguste Comte et la formation du positivisme, tome 3 : Auguste Comte et Saint-Simon'', Vrin, 1941 * Henri Gouhier, ''Oeuvres choisies avec introduction et notes'', Aubier, 1941 *
Georges Canguilhem Georges Canguilhem (; ; 4 June 1904 – 11 September 1995) was a French philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaph ...

Georges Canguilhem
, « Histoire des religions et histoire des sciences dans la théorie du fétichisme chez Auguste Comte », ''Études d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences'', Vrin, 1968 * H.S. Jones, ed., ''Comte: Early Political Writings'', Cambridge University Press, 1998 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Auguste Comte et la théorie sociale du positivisme'', Seghers, 1972 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Auguste Comte, la science sociale'', Gallimard, 1972 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Le projet anthropologique d'Auguste Comte'', SEDES, 1980, réédition L'Harmattan, 1999 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''L'anthropologie positiviste d'Auguste Comte'', Lib. Honoré Champion, 1980 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Entre le signe et l'histoire. L'anthropologie positiviste d'Auguste Comte'', Klincksieck, 1982, réédition L'Harmattan,1999 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Le positivisme'', Coll."Que sais-je?", PUF, 1982 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Le concept de science positive. Ses tenants et ses aboutissants dans les structures anthropologiques du positivisme'', Méridiens Klincksieck, 1983 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Le positivisme d'Auguste Comte'', L'Harmattan, 2006 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Auguste Comte et la science politique'', in Auguste Comte, ''Plan des travaux scientifiques nécessaires pour réorganiserla société'', L'Harmattan, 2001 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Auguste Comte et l'histoire générale'', in Auguste Comte, ''Sommaire appréciation de l'ensemble du passé moderne'', L'Harmattan, 2006 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Auguste Comte et la science politique'', L'Harmattan, 2007 * Angèle Kremer-Marietti, ''Le kaléidoscope épistémologique d'Auguste Comte. Sentiments Images Signes'', L'Harmattan, 2007 * Realino Marra, ''La proprietà in Auguste Comte. Dall'ordine fisico alla circolazione morale della ricchezza'', in «Sociologia del diritto», XII-2, 1985, pp. 21–53 * Pierre Macherey, ''Comte. La philosophie et les sciences'', PUF, 1989 * Thomas Meaney, ''The Religion of Science and Its High Priest
The Religion of Science and Its High Priest
The New York Review of Books, 2012 * Jacques Muglioni, ''Auguste Comte: un philosophe pour notre temps'', Kimé, Paris, 1995 * Annie Petit, ''Le Système d'Auguste Comte. De la science à la religion par la philosophie'', 2016, Vrin, Paris * Gertrud Lenzer, ''Auguste Comte: Essential Writings'' (1975), New York Harper, Paperback, 1997 * Raquel Capurro, ''Le positivisme est un culte des morts: Auguste Comte'', Epel, 1999 (traduit en français en 2001) : l'étude la plus récente sur la vie d'Auguste Comte, la vision sans complaisance d'une psychanalyste de l'école de Jacques Lacan, Lacan * Auguste Comte, ''Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte'' (1855), translated by Harriet Martineau, Kessinger Publishing, Paperback, 2003; also available from th
McMaster Archive for the History of Economic ThoughtVolume OneVolume TwoVolume Three
* ''Pierre Laffitte (1823–1903): Autour d'un centenaire'', in ''Revue des Sciences et des Techniques en perspective'', 2ème série, vol. 8, n°2, 2004, Brepols Publishers, 2005 * Zeïneb Ben Saïd Cherni, ''Auguste Comte, postérité épistémologique et ralliement des nations'', L'Harmattan, 2005 * Wolf Lepenies, ''Auguste Comte: die Macht der Zeichen'', Carl Hanser, Munich, 2010 * Oséias Faustino Valentim, ''O Brasil e o Positivismo'', Publit, Rio de Janeiro, 2010. . * Jean-François Eugène Robinet
Notice sur l'oeuvre et sur la vie d'Auguste Comte, par le Dr Robinet, son médecin et l'un de ses treize exécuteurs testamentaires
Paris : au siège de la Société positiviste, 1891. 3e éd. * Jean-François Eugène Robinet
La philosophie positive: Auguste Comte et M. Pierre Laffitte
Paris : G. Baillière, [ca 1881].
Auguste Comte Sociology Theory Explained
*Andrew Wernick, ''Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity,'' Cambridge University Press, 2001. * * * *


External links

* * *
Auguste Comte: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

Review materials for studying Auguste Comte

J.H. Bridges, ''The Seven New Thoughts of the Positive Polity'' 1915

Henri Gouhier, "Final Chapter – Life in the anticipation of the Grave", from ''The Life of Auguste Comte'' (1931).
In Comte's last years, practicing his own religion.
Auguste Comte quotes
*
Positivist Church of Brazil


by Caspar J M Hewett
The positive philosophy, Auguste Comte
/ freely translated and selected by Harriet Martineau, Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection – downloadable version
Cornell University Library Digital Collections


from first lecture of ''Course of Positive Philosophy''

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Maison d'Auguste Comte
{{DEFAULTSORT:Comte, Auguste Auguste Comte, 1798 births 1857 deaths 19th-century economists 19th-century French non-fiction writers 19th-century philosophers Burials at Père Lachaise Cemetery Consequentialists Cultural critics École Polytechnique alumni French agnostics French economists French ethicists French male non-fiction writers French philosophers French sociologists Materialists Moral philosophers People from Montpellier Philosophers of culture Philosophers of economics Philosophers of education Philosophers of ethics and morality Philosophers of history Philosophers of religion Philosophers of science Positivists Saint-Simonists Social critics Social philosophers Structural functionalism Theories of history Utilitarians