Auguste Comte and Early Positivism Chapter 4. August Comte (1798-1857)

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Auguste Comte and Early Positivism Chapter 4
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Transcript of Auguste Comte and Early Positivism Chapter 4. August Comte (1798-1857)

  • Slide 1
  • Auguste Comte and Early Positivism Chapter 4
  • Slide 2
  • August Comte (1798-1857)
  • Slide 3
  • French After the Revolution Intellectual Background of Positivism: Efforts in the rehabilitation of social order after the French Revolution 1789. There are two mainstreams: 1. Return to traditional society (political romanticists) 2. New values of modernity and dream of future of the scientific industrial society (positivists)
  • Slide 4
  • What is Positivism? Epistemological doctrine that true knowledge is only about fact. Nature and scope of knowledge The fact or the factual is an object that can be observed with our senses. Term positive doesnt mean good or useful It means the factual.
  • Slide 5
  • Comte: Social Environment Social Upheaval Political Instability Democratic Oligarchy of middle-class elites Dictatorship of Napoleon (1799-1814) Return to Bourbon monarchy Economic problems Religious turmoil
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  • Comte: Social Environment Religion & Politics Parents were Roman Catholics Power of Church decreasing Role in education Land confiscated
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  • Comte: Goals for Sociology 1) Create order Spiritual order Social & political problems Diagnose & Cure like diseases Societys basic unit=Family
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  • Comte: Goals for Sociology 2) Discover natural laws 3) Replace Catholic Church as source of: Truth Understanding Order
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  • Comte: Intellectual Roots Saint-Simon Comtes mentor Both had theory with 3 stages
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  • Comte: Intellectual Roots Benjamin Franklin Secular code of morality Based on scientific understanding of human nature
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  • Comtes Calendar To make human life more rational 1849, published 13 month calendar Positivist Calendar 13 months of 28 days each
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  • Comtes Calendar 1 extra day at end of year Had no weekdays 1 extra day on leap years Year begins on Monday, Moses 1 Begins with 1789 as year 1 2014= year 226
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  • Comtes Calendar Names of the months: Best representatives of mankind 1. Moses 2. Homer 3. Aristotle 4. Archimedes 5. Caesar 6. St. Paul 7. Charlemagne 8. Dante 9. Gutenburg 10. Shakespeare 11. Descartes 12. Frederick II (The Great, King of Prussia) 13. Bichat ( Marie Franois Xavier Bichat a French anatomist & physiologist)
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  • Positivist View of History According to Comte the history of mankind develops in three stages: 1. Theological Stage 2. Metaphysical Stage 3. Positivist Stage
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  • Comte: Ideas Law of 3 Stages 1. Theological Stage (Understanding based on) Will of Human-like: Gods Spirits Demons Ghosts
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  • Early Theological Stage Objects are alive & have human- like qualities Rocks Trees Weapons
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  • Later Theological Stage Monotheism One all-powerful god Explained everything
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  • 2) Metaphysical Stage (1300 to his time period) Natural forces were not superhuman Abstract concepts like cause, ether, being, substance etc. No more God God was an abstract entity. Social organization = laws-oriented society
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  • 2) Metaphysical Stage (cont.) Transition Upheaval & chaos Feudal institutions destroyed Make way for Positive Stage
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  • 3. Positivist Stage Man explains natural phenomena factually Ex. Fall of an apple not caused by God or primal cause, but by gravitation. Humans can observe neither God nor primal cause. Only fact is observable. Social organization is industrial society
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  • Invariable natural laws Sociological truths High Priests of Sociology Positive spirit Morality & duties regulate society 3) Positivist Stage
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  • Private economic activities No government intervention Restrict pretensions of wealthy Silences the poor
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  • Positivist Stage Social inequality= just Based on individual abilities Shared truth
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  • Societal Stages Societies go through these stages as well: Theological Metaphysical Positive
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  • Theological Stage Ancient World: Dominated by military men Basic societal unit is family
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  • Metaphysical Stage Middle Ages: Under authority of churchmen and lawyers The state rises to social prominence
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  • Positive Stage Modern Age: Governed by industrial administrators and scientific moral guides. Whole human race becomes main social unit.
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  • Historical Comparison The historical comparison of the consecutive states of humanity is not only the chief scientific device... it constitutes the substratum of the science... Sociology is nothing if not informed by a sense of historical evolution
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  • TR 9/16 Historical Comparison Comte: Different parts of the world were at different stages of development. Comparing these different social systems enables better understanding of social order and social change
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  • Scientific Stages Each science based on prior development science preceding it Each is more complex than the last Social sciences are most complex and Highest in the hierarchy Sociology completes positive method. All others are preparatory to it
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  • The Hierarchy of Sciences According to Comte, mathematics is fundamental to all sciences. Mathematics is basis of modern astronomy Mathematics and astronomy are the basis of modern physics. These three sciences are the basis of the chemistry and biology. The complete and last science is sociology that assumes the other five sciences.
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  • Comtes Terms First named new science social physics Later changed this to sociology From the Greek soci which means society and Latin ology which means study of
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  • Comtes Terms Social Statics= Stability Social Dynamics= Change Social Realism= Society is real Social organism
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  • Comte: Human Nature Humans incapable of self-control Need social (societal) control
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  • Comte: Womens Role in Society Intellectually inferior to men Emotionally superior (e.g., altruism) Model altruism for children & men Make society harmonious
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  • Comte: Relevance to Sociology 1. Coined term Sociology 2. Applied sociology (improve society) 3. Social statics & Social dynamics 4. Emphasized positivism Science creates truth
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  • Functionalism Comte one of the first functionalists Stressed consequences that social phenomena have on entire social system And interconnectedness of parts of the system
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  • Functionalism Always be a spontaneous harmony between parts and whole social system Political institutions and social manners Manners and ideas Society must be connected with the development of humanity