Sociology Index

Auguste Comte

Among distinguished sociologists, Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte, was known as Auguste Comte. The discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism were enriched by Auguste Comte. The term 'sociology' was first used in the fourth volume of Cours de philosophie positive (1838). Positive philosophy was an attempt by Auguste Comte to undo the social malaise of the French revolution with the help of a new social doctrine. Auguste Comte coined the word "altruism" and his social theories influenced the development of religious humanist and secular humanist organizations. According to Comte, society through the division of labour, became complex, differentiated and specialized.

"Religion of Humanity" presaged the development of non-theistic religious humanist and secular humanist organizations in the 19th century. The division of labour generated new social divisions between classes and between the private and public domains. Auguste Comte's works include four volumes of Système de politique positive and the first volume of La Synthèse Subjective (The Subjective Synthesis). Wallace and Wolf trace the development of structural functionalism to Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, and David Emile Durkheim.

The idea of a special science for the social was prominent in the 19th century and not unique to Comte. It has recently been discovered that the term "sociology" had already been introduced in 1780 with a different meaning, by the French essayist Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1748–1836). The ambitious way that Comte conceived of special science of the social 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 that he noted a seventh science, one even greater than sociology. Comte considered "Anthropology, or true science of Man, the last gradation in the Grand Hierarchy of Abstract Science."