Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (1798–1857) was a French philosopher who founded the discipline of sociology and the doctrine of positivism. Comte was one of the earliest purveyors of the secularization thesis, a key concept in the sociology of religion. Until, recently, he was also considered the first to use the term sociologie and is believed to have coined the term “altruism” (altruisme). Earlier usage of sociologie has been found in the work of French essayist Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1748–1836), but Comte’s conception is still considered more complete. Comte saw sociology as the last and greatest of all sciences, one which would include all other sciences and integrate and relate their findings into a cohesive whole. His explanation of the positive philosophy introduced the ...

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