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SOAN 2111 (44)
Chapter 9

Chapter 9.docx

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Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Professor
Linda Hunter

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Chapter 9: Auguste Comte – (1798-1857) - Comte fought against the heritage of the Philosophes and in the process formed his own philosophy - Comte saw a ‘deplorable state of anarchy’ in this time, and he believed that his ‘social physics’ bearing directly upon the ‘principal needs and grievances of society’ would help bring order out of chaos. - He hoped to call this science to the attention of statesmen who ‘profess to devote themselves to the task of resolving the alarming revolution constitution of modern societies’ - Order and progress must be united once and for all - The principle of order was derived form the Catholic-feudal state of social philosophy - The principle of progress was derived from the critical tendencies of the reformation and the enlightenment - Comte (like Saint Simon) appreciated certain aspects of the feudal-theological order and did not reject it altogether - It had facilitated the development of modern society - Comte (unlike Bonald) believed it was impossible to restore the old order - The declined of the old is no temporary – Comte argues, a synthesis of the opposing ideas, order and progress, must be achieved, because only through intellectual unity and harmony can social unity be restored - The principles of the ‘metaphysicians’ (Comte’s term for the Enlightenment thinkers) were essentially critical and revolutionary - The contributed to progress but only in a negative sense - The metaphyiscal stage was necessary because it broke up the old system and paved the way for the next stage – the positive one that would put an end to the revolutionary period by the formation of a social order uniting the principles of order and progress - Comte insists that unity and unanimity will be essential in the new organic society - Social order, he writes ‘must ever be incompatible with a perpetual discussion of the foundations of society’ - Comte also finds particularly objectionable Rousseau’s “metaphysical notion of a supposed state of nature” - Comte despised intellectual anarchy and regarded it as the main cause of moral disunity - True moral order is incompatible with the existing vagabond liberty of individual minds if such license were to last; for the great social rules which should become customary cannot be abandoned to the blind and arb
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