Soc401 comte

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Soc401 comte

  1. 1. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Background • Catholic at the wrong time. • Opposed to the Revolution. • Social order paramount. • Ecole Polytechnique: Military efficiency and preeminence of science. • Liked the school. • Expelled for anti-Enlightenment beliefs.• Secretary to Saint-Simon (1817). • Similar beliefs about society. • Comte preferred more positivist approach.
  2. 2. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Background • Breaks with Saint-Simon (1824). • Mental breakdown (1826). • “Cerebral hygiene.” • Ridiculed in scientific community. • Death of Clotilde: Emotion over intellect, feeling over mind. • “Founder of Universal Religion, Great Priest of Humanity.” • The new order: The Positivist Society.
  3. 3. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Intellectual Influences • Social order. • Science of society. • Hobbes, Kant, Saint-Simon. • Empirical approach to society • Observe structure and function to predict future events. • Critical of Enlightenment individualism.
  4. 4. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Intellectual Influences • Pascal: Continuity of history. • Turgot: Three stages of history. • Montesquieu: Laws of society.• Condorcet: Progress through science. • Use science to understand the laws of society. • Use science to predict the future of society. • Apply science to directing society.• de Bonald and de Maistre: Negative reaction to the French Revolution: Need to restore order.
  5. 5. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Intellectual Influences • The tradition of order: • Social contracts did not work. • Men had duties, not rights. • Society perfects man. • The tradition of liberalism • Laissez faire economics (Adam Smith) is a system conducive to anarchy. • Division of labor, on the other hand, awakens social cooperation.
  6. 6. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Coined term: Sociology. • The “social physics” of society. • Reject metaphysics and theology. • Science should intervene for the betterment of society. • Positivism: study society in the same manner as the natural sciences: • Natural laws. • Objective observation.
  7. 7. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Law of three stages 1. Theological: Rule by religion. 2. Metaphysical: Rule by mystics. 3. Positive: Reason, observation, natural laws of society that can predict future events.• Research Methods 1. Observation. 2. Experimentation. 3. Comparison. 4. Historical.
  8. 8. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Social Statics (“anatomy”) 1. Social structure. 2. Unit of observation is individual. 3. Processes that hold society together. 4. Humans must cooperate with one another. 5. Government functions for the benefit of the whole. 6. Subordination to government is necessary to achieve consensus.
  9. 9. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Social Statics (“anatomy”) 1. Consensus universalis. 2. Necessary for solidarity. 3. Foundation for the division of labor.• Importance of the family for maintaining consensus and social solidarity.
  10. 10. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Social Dynamics (“physiology”) 1. Social change. 2. Progress through science. 3. Change is evolutionary. 4. Dynamic equilibrium of alterations within the rule of government and social order. 5. Change came about as a result of a need to refine structure to adapt to new needs in society.
  11. 11. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Hierarchy of the Sciences 1. Mathematics.* 2. Astronomy. 3. Physics. 4. Biology. 5. Chemistry. 6. Sociology: The queen of the sciences.• Sociology is the most complex of the sciences.
  12. 12. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Division of Labor 1. Creates solidarity. 2. Tasks suitable to talents. 3. Parts function for the benefit of the whole.• Religion of Humanity 1. Religion contributes to social stability. 2. Need to move away from theocracy. 3. Positive religion: Humanistic approach. 4. The “new clergy” were sociologists.
  13. 13. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Race, Class, Women 1. Romanticized the working class. 2. Positivism over communism: • Positivism focused on morals. • Positivism encouraged individuality. • Positivism esteems leaders of industry. • Positivism encourage inheritance to provide historical continuity. 3. Women’s “affectional” component was a critical piece of positivism: order over self.
  14. 14. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Language 1. Binds us to one another. 2. Promotes unity. 3. Allows for interaction. 4. Continuity of traditions. 5. Without language, solidarity, consensus, and social order would be impossible.
  15. 15. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Concepts and Contributions • Theory 1. Necessary for observation. 2. Ideas guide science. 3. Science guides society.• Organic Analogy 1. Society is like a living organism. 2. The advancement of the organism through the three stages (for individuals and societies) is a progression of ideas.
  16. 16. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Relevancy• “Sociology.”• Functionalism.• Laws of society.• Positivism: the importance of scientific methods.• Social statics and social dynamics.• Focus on the practical applications of science.• Focus on macro-structures gives Comte’s sociology a strong historical perspective.• Last Line: Focus on his science, ignore his advocacy as the “Great Priest of Humanity.”
  17. 17. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Philosophy• Realism vs. Idealism • Realism, because he believed that society had laws that could be discovered.• Realism vs. Nominalism • Realism, because Comte believed that abstract ideas, such as “social contract,” were real in their consequences.
  18. 18. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Philosophy• Idealism vs. Materialism • Idealist in noting the importance of language in forming social relationships. • Materialist in focus upon the functional imperatives of society.
  19. 19. The Conservative ReactionAuguste Comte (1798-1857)Contemporary Issues• Strong federal government• Preeminence of scientific over value-based explanations.• Separation of church and state.• Policy guided by values, but not by blunders.• Most likely a democrat rather than a republican.

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