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Levine Comte Lecture

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Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

Comte • maintaining things as they are - he thinks we are going to be totally destroyed as a species if we don't have a stable social order • believes there is a nature in us that is potentially very destructive • celebrate science because it teaches how to maintain social stability • about order because it produces the moral - the moral is well defined rules and norms Overview - we will talk about 4 things 1. Comptes conception and definition of sociology 2. his understanding of social stability and social order - the study of social statics 3. his conception of social change or evolution 4. his understanding of his contemporary society Comte's Conception and Definition of sociology • Comte tries too disguise his conservative bias with an apparent logic • definition of sociology : social change with producing social order • 1. Sociologists observe social reality - there is a reality out there to observe ◦ what he's saying is it can be analyzed and understood objectively • 2. He thinks under unusual circumstances that it might be possible for sociologists to experiment • 3. Comte believes sociology must engage in cross cultural comparison • 4. the purpose of sociology is to reorganize society with proper ideas in order to predict future states of it ◦ notice emphasis on proper ideas, saying the french revolution and the chaos that proceeded him was because of bad ideas, ideas like freedom equality, liberty - he is putting down the enlightenment ◦ he is making the claim that with proper ideas he can understand the social, make suggestions on how to make society better - this implies adamism, he can remove himself psychologically and study it ◦ this contradicts his organicism - everything about you is predetermined, doesn't deal with individuality • 5. for Comte sociology is an integrated and synthetic science ◦ its integrating and synthesizing ◦ Law of three stages : ◦ we used to think theologically - everything is based on god ■ we reason to comfort ourselves ◦ metaphysical thinking - abstract ideas ■ Compte's point is metaphysical thinking lacks coherent meaning - what is a soul? as a species we were thinking like this when really we were inviting everyone to have their own point of view ■ Comte is worried that when you have social ambiguity ◦ Positivism (Science Practicality) ■ be real and practical ■ scientific view of reality, I don't care what the ultimate cause of my actions are I care about what makes sense ◦ Comte is trying to integrate all sciences and synthesize them in a way that will allow sociology to study society ■ math, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, sociology -
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