Auguste Comte (Jan 19,1798 - Sep 5, 1857)

  • Education

    Comte attended the Lycée Joffre and then the University of Montpellier, Comte was admitted to École Polytechnique in Paris. The École Polytechnique was notable for its adherence to the French ideals of republicanism and progress. The École closed in 1816 for reorganization, however, and Comte continued his studies at the medical school at Montpellier.
  • The Philosophical Considerations on the Sciences and the Scientists

    Written in 1825 contains the first and classical formulations of the two cornerstones of positivism: the law of the three stages, and the classification of the sciences.
  • The Law of Three Stages

    The Law of Three Stages
    According to Comte, human societies moved historically from a theological stage, in which the world and the place of humans within it were explained in terms of gods, spirits, and magic; through a transitional metaphysical stage, in which such explanations were based on abstract notions such as essences and final causes (see teleology); and finally to a modern, “positive” stage based on scientific knowledge.
  • Marriage to Caroline Massin

    Marriage to Caroline Massin
    Comte married Caroline Massin in 1825 after courting, falling in love and moving together for a couple of years. In 1826, he was taken to a mental health hospital, but left without being cured only stabilized. Through his tempestuous marriage with Caroline she was supportive of his work. After many years of a strained relationship their marriage came to an end in 1842.
  • Course of Positive Philosophy (Cours de Philosophie Positive)

    Course of Positive Philosophy (Cours de Philosophie Positive)
    Written by Comte between 1830 and 1842. Where he unveiled the epistemological perspective of positivism. The first three volumes of the Course dealt chiefly with the physical sciences already in existence (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology), whereas the latter two emphasized the inevitable coming of social science.
  • Sociology

    Comte first used the term “sociology” in 1838 to refer to the scientific study of society. He studied sociology applying Positivism, the principle of conducting sociology through empiricism and the scientific method, viewing sociology as made of two branches: dynamics, or the study by which societies change; and statics, or the study by which societies endure. He also envisioned sociologists developing a base of scientific social knowledge that would guide society into positive directions.
  • A General View of Positivism (Discours sur l'ensemble du positivisme)

    Written by Comte in 1844 is considered a founding text in the development of positivism and the discipline of sociology, the work provides a revised and full account of the theory Comte presented earlier in his multi-part The Course in Positive Philosophy (1830–1842). Comte outlines the epistemological view of positivism, provides an account of how sociology should be performed, and describes his law of three stages.
  • The Death of Clotilde

    The Death of Clotilde
    Clotilde de Vaux (1815-1846) an educated French lady who even though was never able to officially be with Comte due to not been divorced from a prior marriage, is known to have made Comte feel love and inspired him to develop the Religion of Humanity. After Clotilde’s death in 1846, positivism was transformed into “complete positivism”, which is ‘continuous dominance of the heart’. ‘We tire of thinking and even of acting; we never tire of loving’.
  • The Religion of Humanity

    The Religion of Humanity
    In later years, Comte developed the 'religion of humanity' for positivist societies to fulfil the cohesive function once held by traditional worship. In 1849, he proposed a calendar reform called the 'positivist calendar'. The system was rejected for the most part but some of its ideas were accepted like his concept of "vivre pour autrui" ("live for others"), from which comes the word "altruism".
  • The Positivist Review

    The Positivist Review
    Comte’s friend Emile Littre (1801-1881), a French philosopher best known for his Dictionary of the French Language (“Dictionnaire de la langue française”), founded The Positivist Review to which Comte owes him part of his fame after his death.
  • Ordem e Progresso (“Order and Progress”)

    Ordem e Progresso (“Order and Progress”)
    Brazilian thinkers turned to Comte's ideas about training a scientific elite to flourish in the industrialization process. Brazil's national motto, Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") was taken from the positivism motto, "Love as principle, order as the basis, progress as the goal", which was also influential in Poland.