Auguste Comte [1798 - 1857] - The Founding Father of Sociology


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.

34 comments:

Gibbering Giraffe said...

I would argue that while Comte coined the term Sociology, rather than be considered the founding father, he is one of the founding fathers alongside Max, Weber and Durkheim.

Gibbering Giraffe said...

Excuse the typo, Max should read Marx!

Nimesh said...

If you read the post you will realise that why I regard Comte as the father of sociology. He is the first man ever who called this stream of knowledge as "Sociology". I agree that Marx, Durkheim and Weber also have also contibuted a lot in sociology. Recently I have added three articles on those founding fathers of sociology.

Anonymous said...

Sure, in the Western world he was the Father of sociology. But once you move outside that rather myopic, Eurocentric approach to history...

The clear winner is Ibn Khaldun, who should properly be regarded as the true father of Sociology. The man was an absolute genius.

Nimesh said...

Yes Ibn Khaldun was a genious. I have post an article about him in this blog under the label "Related Writings".

viagra online said...

august is the father of modern sociology, his sense of the social issues is incredible, even in this epoch.

okpuzor ogochukwu peace said...

my name is peace ogochukwu okpuzor,a sociology student of the university of benin,Nigeria.I belief that Comte has made a name and also a great impact to my life and all the sociologist in the globe

Anonymous said...

are the phases and branches of sociology the same?

joseph maleko said...

this was was so great in sociology since he tried his best to influance the world to know the importance and meaning of sociology and i appreciate that.

Gono Alfred Nantim said...

Comte desarve to be called the father of sociology not only because he coined the word "sociology" but because he layed the social basis to which the discipline is studied today. For entrenching positivism alone, he desarves the commendation as the father of sociology.

Ryker said...

Can we all also draw our attention to Robertson Ian! He has also contributed a lot to the development of sociology.

Anonymous said...

critically analysing what comte said one as no doubt that he is a great man

Anonymous said...

he Auguste Comte is the founding father of socilogy but the work of Ibn Khaldun cannot be overemphasized in the scientization of society.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sociology student at university of technology.Ive just read about the founder/father of sociology and he was an incredible man i must say.

Anonymous said...

auguste comte is the father of sociology being that he came up with the name alone is enough.

SIX COLUMBUS HOTEL said...

It is really beneficial. I'm glad that you posted this article. Thanks for your efforts.

gift said...

comte did nt coin term sociology, ibu khaldum had in d middle ages coined the arabic term Al umran whch hz bin translated sociology by comte

Anonymous said...

If augustus comte is the father of sociology. What about karl marx, Emile durkheim, nd max spencer what are they?

ABU GIFT said...

Auguste comte..is a man dat shud be emulated...even if his efforts wer nt dat bulky but....creating new ideas and philosophy....worths a great applaud...

Anonymous said...

Auguste comte should be the father of sociology

3la said...

Anonymous The Last Name In The List Of The Founding Fathers Of Sociology Should Read... "Herbert Spencer" And Not "max spencer".

Anonymous said...

My names are KADIRI ABDULRAHMAN a student of kogi state unversity studing sociology yes going by my studies and posted comments comete was regarded as the father of sociology.

Anonymous said...

comte is the true father of sociology.,because he made the word sociology more specific...and the others... they're just followers of comte...hehe...

Yvette Yirebati Abem said...

I'm pretty sure that Sociology defined itself in society and had different names but his term Sociology was put in writing and was accepted. God is the father of all Societies. :).

Anonymous said...

well i think Compte has done well in explaining how the societies should be seen ...as in its social statics and dynamics.

Anonymous said...

Compte have done an amazing job to explain and find the real meaning of sociology.

Anonymous... Emile Durkheim introduced the scientific study of SUICIDE.

Anonymous said...

well as i've read the posts
....comte is really the father of sociology....and i'm pretty sure of that...

Anonymous said...

why does Comte is a father of sociology? what are the advantages of him?

Anonymous said...

this can not be the reason why he is called the father of sociology
then what about the rest who contributed more than him??????

Anonymous said...

I'm innocnt uwalaka from Nassarawa state university, not withstanding all the find father of sociology they all did well but August Comte remains de first man to give a brief definiton of sociology. Every other person is a follower

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Auguste Comte,Emile Durkheim,Karl Marx,Max Weber and any other sociologists whose ideologies and concepts are worth studying in the discipline.......expect Quodjo 4rena very soon

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Anonymous said...

What "area of sociology" would comte be considered under?

Anonymous said...

From my own POV, Auguste Comte is nonetheless the founding father of modern sociology. History has it that sociology was coined from the Greek n Latin word "socius" n "logo" in (1838) i.e. Science n society. Meaning the study of both. Thank God for the knowledge

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