Lecture 3(socb 42) May 26, 2010
Comte & Enlightenment
Social evolution: different from evolution of Darwin and also from what’s now called socio-Darwinism.
COMTE (theory of change) –
ENLIGHTMENT – an intellectual movement that stresses rationality as means for improving society,
They don’t rely on religious reality which was dominant in the 16 and 17 century
They don’t want to be satisfied with a little bit of traditional knowledge that people have been
gathering over time.
No body thought of how things worked gravity etc.
Learn as much as possible, about nature, history, society, and trying to think about all these rationally
(their reason and capability of reason and knowledge)
And use the same as means of improving society, don’t accept social problems as they are, as they are
god wills that they exist, we shouldn’t try to solve them through prayer, which is irrational, we should
think to improve it rationally.
Enlightenment thinkers introduced this.
It appeared out of significant social changed which happened in Europe in 16 and 17 century in
Reason 1: Trade increased (due to the improved transportation) since back then people only stayed
within 30 km of their homes and never left that; but people then made better roads more
Reason 2: COLONIALISM –
Reason 3: manufacturing – work faster if you divide the task. EX didn’t have enough clock buyers in
one town (not a lot of rich people) so you send it out to different communities.
Reason 4: the arab scientist brought some science thing to Europe..
Modernity – Belief in rationality, and perfection, very based on principled of enlightenment.
Capitalism – based on mass production, capitalist – earn profit and working class (proletariat) – sell
their work to capitalist and they get paid.
Urbanization – increasing part or population lives in the city than villages where they work in
Social revolution – American revolution and French revolution changed the social system from
feudal to capitalist.
ENLIGHMENT THINKERS: 17 CENT. WERE MOSTLY SCIENTISTS OR PHILOSOPHERS. They wouldn’t
JOHN ROUSSEAU: he specialized, only thought about society
According to him, people are naturally good, it is only in society that they become evil.
(noble savage) people that lived in pre-urban, the villages, were the best people, away from
Believed the first person to put fence around land and said this is mine; he is the one that
harmed the society.
Private property is theft; a common land belongs to all (privatizing it is theft from common
People agree to a SOCIAL CONTRACT, - all people in society will abandon their natural right if
they’re weaker, and the other party has something they want. And by agreeing to social
contract, they agree to abandon their natural right to settle their differences, in order to enjoy
the protection of the institution. And so state now has power to punish people who try to take
unlawful possession of another’s property. Only social contract is legitimate authority – it gives police and the GOVT to govern a society.
And if a state violates that right (unequal treatment of all), then members of society have
every right to attack and over turn it.
MODERNITY : a widespread acceptance of the enlightenment principles (rationality) and a society
organized on these principles
Most important characteristics :
Attitudes to the change- (traditionalists – distrust and resist changegod wants it this way /Religion
factor) these other guys believe in change, perfectibility. Change is progressive –moving forward,
going towards perfection, newer societies is always better than the older ones. Change for the better.
Attitudes of rationality – use your mind and your ability to reason in order to understand reality. They
would before go to the priests for solution. But they don’t care about religious authority anymore,
they want to use logic. EX: rene Descartes : (I think there I am – thinking makes us human, most
important of humanity, makes us different from animals) Emanuel Kant : (dare to be wise – dare to
think, use your reason) Max Weber (disenchantment of the world – people no longer believed that
the world is full of supernatural phenomena, and magic which isn’t relationally comprehended; a
change from magical thinking to rational thinking)
Universalism – you apply the same rules to all members of the society. (particularism : different parts of society have different duties and rights, all men and women are not equal.)
IDEOLOGY– most important characteristic of ideology - it is a set of ideas or bold view, a system of
belief that justifies interest of one social group, they are always tied to an identifiable social group,
that believe in that ideology, and persuade other that their ideologies is the best and the truest one.
They do so because it justifies their interest.
It is evidence resistance – you show someone proof, they deny it.
It maybe conservist or reformist (justify maintenance of status quo how things were)
Others a reformist – those justify social change of any kind.
Their social function – their means of social control, means by which identifiable control thinking
behavior of their members and other members of society.
NOT MODERN PHENOMENA.
They determine goals of science (should we use it in convervist or reformist way, etc.)
EX: every rel