Auguste Comte

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Born as Isdore Auguste Marie Francois Xavier Comte on January 19, 1798 in Montpellier, France, Auguste Comte was a French philosopher, acclaimed for being the founder of positivism and sociology. He is accredited for naming the science of sociology and giving a system to the subject. Comte was significantly influenced by philosophers that were starting to distinguish and map out an order in human society’s history. Many of these influential philosophers were his contemporaries including Montesquieu, Joseph de Maistre and Marquis de Condorcet, all of whom contributed to Comte’s system of thought.

The start of Comte’s career came after acquaintance with the French social reformer Henri de Saint-Simon. Many of Comte’s early written articles were published in Saint-Simon’s circulations though he broke off from Saint-Simon’s ideology in 1826 due to differing point of views. It was also during this time that Comte commenced a series of lectures dedicated to his system of positive philosophy for private audiences. Between 1829 and 1830 the success of his lectures were delivered to the Royal Athenaeum. The years from 1830 to 1840 were devoted to the writing and publication of Comte’s philosophical work entitled, Cours de Philosophie Positive, translated into English as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte, a six volume publication.

One of Auguste Comte’s major work, Systeme de Politique Positive, translated in English as System of Positive Policy was written after the death of his romantic interest Clotilde de Vaux published between 1851 and 1854. In this work Comte, completed his formulation of the subject of sociology. This major work of Comte laid heavy emphasis on the progress of morality as being the main fixation for human knowledge.

The emergence of Comte’s ideas can been seen as a further indulgence into the ideas of writers from the 18th and early 19th century such as David Hume and Immanuel Kant. The philosophy of positivism contributed by Comte laid under five distinct parts. These parts included is adoption of the scientific method, the law of three stages, classification of science, contribution to philosophies of sciences from anterior to sociology, the creation of positivist social philosophy.

Even though Comte is not credited for the originating the ideas of sociology, he has to his credit the extension of this field of study and systematization its content. Comte successfully divided sociology into two main fields of social statics and social dynamics. According to Comte’s view the foundation of society is based on a person’s individual egoism. According to his thought this is done by division of labor with the combination of a person’s efforts as well as maintaining the social unity that is the responsibility of the government and the state.

Auguste Comte died due to cancer on September 5, 1857 in Paris, France.

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