August Comte- Zeitgeist

Topics: Sociology, Psychology, Social sciences Pages: 7 (2118 words) Published: September 30, 2012
Auguste Comte: Personalistic & Naturalistic Positions
Claudette Spear
Dr. Joan Hageman
Northcentral University

This paper will focus on Auguste Comte, the founder of Sociology and how he uses both views of both Personalistic and Naturalistic positions in order to justify his findings. Also it will explain how his personal feelings about numerous subjects greatly influenced his studies and works in which things were manipulated to support his findings. Finally it gives an opinion as to the writers response of the view of Auguste Comte and how his views were formulated.

The personalistic and naturalistic positions in the history of psychological study are numerous and include many different scientists, from philosophers to various other scientists. These thinkers have influenced the study of modern psychological thinking in many ways. The personalistic position in scientific history as well as the naturalistic positions led to the discovery of the field of social psychology. The zeitgeist contributed to the field of psychology by giving those who were living in these times the tools to be able to cope with the times in which they were living. Using positivism to explain how all things should be observed to gain all the facts was used by Auguste Comte, who developed this theory to explain social sciences so that they could reach a more advanced stage. The Victorian Era was an age of great learning because “the late-Victorian medical profession was far less homogeneous than conventionally assumed and far more ideologically torn between commercializing pressures on the one hand and older anti-commercial gentlemanly ideals on the other. For another, contrary to those historians who have argued that state regulations, such as the Apothecaries Act of 1815 and the Medical Act of 1858, were a means to reinforce the boundaries between quackery and the kind of professional medical standards and ethics that held advertising and pecuniary ventures by doctors as “unprofessional and unseemly””(Cooter, Pg. 354). This climate of the times gives those who were in the psychological profession the ethical guide lines to help them legitimize their new science.

Comte's personal life lead him to form his philosophies. He “once supported the notion of equality for women, as well as other feminist causes, but he changed his mind when he married a strong-willed highly intelligent woman. He described his marriage as the biggest mistake of his life” (Schultz & Schultz, Pg. 35). Where he lacked in relationship successes he put into his work to develop his personal philosophies on his view point. These relationship hardships can also be the reason why Auguste Comte thought that socially, people were slightly inept and women, especially, were seen as an inferior gender for as long as they were.

Auguste Comte was a French man who gave a lot of clout to the invention of the study of sociology. “Comte’s most famous idea is undoubtedly his three stage law, according to which human intelligence successively develops three distinct philosophical methods the theological (fictive), metaphysical (abstract), and scientific (positive). This law depicts human development from several angles. Historically, it identifies three stages in the whole human race: epistemologically, the stages through which each science passes to realize its aim: psychobiographically, the stages of individual intellectual growth: and sociopolitically, the regeneration of economic, military, legal, and spiritual practices in response to intellectual progress” (Encyclopedia of Psychology, Pg. 241). Using these three methods helps an individual to explain how their thoughts were formulated and how they could address how they were feeling in a social environment. The growth of a person, both psychologically and intellectually is key to that person's growth.

Comte had an extremely important part of the...

References: Scharff, Robert C.  “Comte, Auguste In:Encyclopedia of psychology”, Vol. 2. Kazdin, Alan E. (Ed.); Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 2000. pp. 240-242 From EBSCOHost.
Schultz, Duane P. & Schultz, Sydney Ellen. “A History of Modern Psychology.” 10th edition. Pages 34 & 35. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning (2012).
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