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Lecture 8

Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Law Of Three Stages, Positivism, Atomism

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Charles Levine

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Wednesday November 7, 2012
Lecture 8
- *don’t have to do chapter 5 for midterm
- Comte-
- He came into play right after the French Revolution and is concerned with the mess France has
got itself into, he wants to stabilize society
- He thinks that stability is the key to morality
- He has the belief that science is a moral enterprise
- Science is going to help him understand how to produce stability which in turn produces moral
- Routine, order and regularity- what humans need according to Comte
- Comte’s definition of sociology:
- 5 points:
1. Sociology is a science that uses the scientific method in order to observe- implied is something
that can be objectively observed (positivist)
2. Sociology, when possible, it is to experiment
3. Sociology is to engage in cross-cultural comparison
4. The purpose of sociology is to reorganize society with the proper ideas in order to predict future
states of society- he is saying that the success of sociologies task depends on the proper ideas-
he is saying proper ideas will produce a proper society- the reason why France is in a mess
because it was influenced by improper ideas (justice, equality, liberty, morality)- he is claiming
that as a scientist with the right ideas he can help understand and predict social stability- sounds
like he considers himself a actor, he can step outside (atomist) take a look, study and influence-
he says he can step outside of the world and look because he is genetically superior
5. Sociology is an integrative and synthetic science. This means that there is something about
sociology that integrates information and puts it together in a new way. He is talking about
sociologies relationship to other sciences. When Comte says it is a integrative science it
integrates the knowledge, techniques and logic of all the sciences that precede it (biology,
chemistry, physics, astronomy, math) and synthesizes them in the way which enables the proper
investigation of society.
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