Comte, Auguste (1798–1857)

Auguste Comte, a French philosopher and utopian, was the founder of sociology and a strong proponent of positivism. In the fourth volume of the System of Positive Polity (1854), Comte proposed the word sociology for his new positivist science. The term positivism was intended as an ideological weapon with which to combat the philosophical legacy of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Comte believed that the reorganization of French society after the French Revolution would require intellectual reform. He was convinced that religious dogma, especially Catholicism, should be replaced by his positive philosophy—a system that had an intellectual and moral basis and allowed science to intervene on behalf of the betterment of society.

Consistent with many social thinkers of his era, Comte believed that society should ...

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