Auguste Comte, the French Philosopher, is traditionally considered the "Father of Sociology". Comte who invented the term "Sociology" was the first man to distinguish the subject-matter of sociology from all the other sciences. He worked out in a series of books, a general approach to the study of society. Comte is regarded as the "Father of Sociology" not because of any significant contributions to the science as such, but because of the great influence he had upon it. It would be more appropriate to regard him as a philosopher of science rather than a sociologist.
Comte introduced the word "sociology" for the first time in his famous book "Positive Philosophy" at about 1839. The term "Sociology" is derived from the Latin word Socius, meaning companion or associate, and the Greek word logos, meaning study or science. Thus, the etymological meaning of sociology is the science of society. He defined sociology as the science of social phenomena "subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation".
Comte devoted his main efforts to an inquiry into the nature of human knowledge and tried to classify all knowledge and to analyse the methods of achieving it. He concentrated his efforts to determine the nature of human society and the laws and principles underlying its growth and development. He also laboured to establish the methods to be employed in studying social phenomena.
Comte believed that the sciences follow one another in a definite and logical order and that all inquiry goes through certain stages (namely, the theological, the metaphysical and the positive or scientific or empirical). Finally, they arrive at the last or scientific stage or as he called the positive stage. In the positive stage, objective observation is substituted for speculation. Social phenomena like physical phenomena, maintained, can be studied objectively by making use of the positive method. He thought that it was time for inquiries into social problems and social phenomena to enter into this last stage. So, he recommended that the study of society be called the science of society, i. e. 'sociology'.
Comte proposed sociology to be studied in two main parts (i) the social statics and (ii) the social dynamics. These two concepts represent a basic division in the subject-matter of sociology. The social statics deals with the major institutions of society such as family, economy or polity. Sociology is conceived of as the study of inter-relations between such institutions. In the words of Comte, "the statical study of sociology consists the investigations of laws of action and reaction of different parts of the social system". He argued that the parts of a society cannot be studied separately, "as if they had independent existence".
If Statics examines how the parts of societies are interrelated, social dynamics focuses on whole societies as the unit of analysis and how they developed and changed through time. "We must remember that the laws of social dynamics are most recognisable when they relate to the largest societies", he said. Comte was convinced that all societies moved through certain fixed stages of development and that progressed towards ever increasing perfection. He felt that the comparative study of societies as "wholes" was major subject for sociological analysis.