August Comte Pattern Variables

Topics: Sociology, Human, Religion Pages: 8 (2589 words) Published: March 5, 2013
Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention to the social dimension of science resonates in many respects with current points of view. However, this essay will cover his consensus, language, religion and division of labour as the foundation of social solidarity. To start with, major concepts will be defined followed by the discussion showing how these 3 factors are contributing to the social solidarity in the African society. After doing so, a conclusion will be drawn.

Consensus is an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favourite" of each individual. According to the Merriam-Webster, consensus is general agreement and group solidarity of belief or sentiment. Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. Auguste Comte defines language as a dynamic system linking political and domestic life. (Grin F & Daftary F, 2003)

Religion is such a complex and varied human phenomenon that some sociologists prefer to avoid definitions and think of religion in terms of an ideal type. They will say that most religions have most of the characteristics of the ideal type, but they need not have all of them. In general terms, James C. Livingston (2008) defined religion as “that system of activities and beliefs directed toward that which is perceived to be of sacred value and transforming power.” Religion is also defined as a collection of belief systems, cultural systems and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Comte defines religion as a bond that encourages individuals to subordinate their own self-interests to the interests of their fellows. It holds a society together in a system of common beliefs. (Andrew Wernick, 2001)

Division of labour is an approach to the completion of a complex task which involves breaking the task into a number of simpler tasks and assigning these tasks to specialists who generally perform only their assigned task.

Auguste Comte argued that consensus, language, religion and division of labour are the social bonds of society and that they are the foundations of social solidarity as shall see in the following discussion.

The term consensus was introduced into the language of the social sciences by Auguste Comte in the nineteenth century; he conceived it as the indispensable cement on which any social structure must rest. He believed that if society was not to collapse into a sandheap of individuals it had to be based on the consensus of a moral community of like-minded and like-feeling individuals. Consensus is used to describe both the decision and the process of reaching a decision, it is also concerned with the process of deliberating and finalizing a decision, and the social and political effects of using this process. However, it is evident that consensus brings about solidarity as people come together and agree. An example in Africa would be that of a peace summit where a number of African Countries came together to agree, they called this summit African Alliance Summit (AAP) 2010. The AAP held its First Regional Summit in Accra, Ghana, in May 2008, where the theme was “The African Alliance for Peace: Moving it Forward.” The Second Regional Summit of the AAP was held 22-25 October 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria. The theme of the Second AAP Summit was “Building Institutional Capacities and Partnerships for a Culture of Peace.”...
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