Understanding Auguste Comte’s Theory in Sociology

Understanding Auguste Comte’s Theory in the Field of Sociology-Sociology in the field of science plays an important role in developing knowledge that is increasing rapidly today. Humans themselves are social beings who in their daily life must socialize with each other with other humans. This is what gave rise to a branch of science called sociology whose main focus is studying social activity between humans. In social life, humans must always apply sociological values ​​in their activities such as buying and selling transactions, establishing business relationships, or even looking for a life partner requires social activities that are based on sociological values ​​because it is impossible for humans to carry out all activities without need the help of others in their daily activities.

However, when discussing sociology, do you know who was one of the originators of the first sociological theory in the world? Namely a philosopher named Auguste Comte who introduced the science of sociology through his thoughts. In this discussion we will try to discuss the theory put forward by Auguste Comte.

Furthermore, we will describe the discussion below!

History of Sociology

Sociology was founded by the ancient Greeks. Sociology was originally combined with social philosophy. Separate, because then community discussion revolves around issues that attract public attention, such as war, social conflict. In the book Sociology: Society Diving in Society (2007), 19th-century French philosopher Auguste Comte expressed his concern about the state of French society after the burgeoning French Revolution. The impact of the revolution brought positive changes with the birth of an atmosphere of democracy, but it also brought negative changes. Negative changes in the form of class conflicts that lead to anarchism in society. Conflicts are caused by a lack of understanding to deal with changes or laws such as Social Security. Under such conditions, Auguste Comte suggested that the study of society be developed into an independent science. Sociology was born there as the youngest branch of social science. The term sociology was popularized by Auguste Comte in his book Cours de Philosophie Positive (1830). The book explains that the object of sociology is people or society at large. Sociology then became a science that developed in Europe, especially in Germany and France.

In its development stage, sociology can be separated from other social sciences such as economics and history. Sociology, which thinks about society, has slowly developed into an independent science. Many efforts, both scientific and non-scientific, have made sociology an independent science. The main factor for the emergence of sociology is the increasing attention to the welfare of society and the changes that occur in it.

Sociology Terms

Sociology is a science that studies social phenomena. The main goal of sociology is to understand patterns of behavior and social interaction. The father of world sociology is Auguste Comte. Why is Auguste Comte called the father of sociology? Because he first introduced science by using society as the object of his study.

Sociology is also known as a science that studies various aspects of society and its impact on human life. The term sociology was first used by Auguste Comte and later expanded into a scientific discipline by Herbert Spencer. The development of sociology as a science is divided into four stages, namely the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the period of sociology as a social science that uses scientific methods from other sciences (18th century AD) and the sociology period. science with an independent scientific method (19th century AD). Sociology has a clear object of study that can be studied using the scientific method and can be arranged into a rational and interconnected system. The main research object of sociology is the structure of society, social elements, socialization and social change.

Get to know Auguste Comte

Auguste Comte (full name: Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte; 19 January 1798- 5 September 1857) was a French philosopher who is best known for introducing the fields of sociology and positivism. By using the principles of positivism, Comte built the foundation used by academics today, namely the application of the scientific method in the social sciences as a means of obtaining truth. Comte was also the first to coin the term sociology, earning him the nickname the father of world sociology.

One of his contributions to sociology concerns the law of the development of society’s culture, which is divided into three eras, namely: The Theological Age is the age when people have magical beliefs, they believe in spirits, amulets and religion, the world moves in the afterlife, to worship ancestors. , a world where the dead rule the living. The metaphysical era is the age of society when human thought is still limited by abstract and universal philosophical concepts. The positivist era was the time when all explanations of social and natural phenomena were made in terms of scientific descriptions (scientific laws).

According to Auguste Comte, sociology is a scientific discipline that studies human beings. As humans, we have the instinct to always live with other people.

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Comte’s ideas in sociology are known as the law of the three stages of human thought. The stages mentioned by Auguste Comte are the theological stage, the metaphysical stage and the positivist stage. The word sociology comes from the Latin socius which means friend or friend. While logos means knowledge. Interpreting these two words, sociology is the science of friends.

In general, sociology is the study of interactions in society. This science was known in the 19th century and was separate from philosophy. Sociology studies the relationship between humans and life. In addition, sociology studies class, society, customary ties, customs, beliefs, behavior and culture.

Auguste Comte’s Life Background

Comte was born in Montpellier, a small town in southwest France. After attending school there, he continued his studies at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. ECole Polytechnique became known for its adherence to republican ideals and a philosophy of process. In 1816, the university of applied sciences in which he had studied was closed due to a reorganization. Comte graduated and continued his studies at the Montpellier Medical School.

Soon after, he saw such a significant discrepancy between his Catholic faith and the thinking of the ruling monarchy that he was forced to leave Paris. Then, in August 1817, he became a pupil and secretary to Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, who brought the Comte into intellectual circles. In 1824, Comte left Saint-Simon, again feeling that their relationship was at odds.

At this point, Comte knew what he had to do next: study the philosophy of positivism. This plan was later published as Plan de travaux scientifiques nécessaires pour réorganiser la Société (1822) (Indonesia: Plans for Scientific Research to Reorganize Society). But he failed to secure an academic position, which hampered his research. Then his life and research began to depend on sponsorship and financial assistance from some friends.

He later married a woman named Caroline Massin. The Comte was known for being arrogant, cruel, and cunning, so that in 1826 he was committed to an asylum, but fled before recovering. Later, when Massin’s wife’s condition stabilized and he returned to work as planned. But sadly she divorced Massin in 1842 for reasons that are still unknown. Between the renewal of plans and the divorce, he published Le Cours de Philosophie Positive.

In 1844, Comte fell in love with Clotilde de Vaux, a relationship which remained platonic. After Clotilde’s death, this love story becomes almost religious. Shortly after that, Comte published his book Systeme de politique positive (1851-1854).

Comte died in Paris on 5 September 1857 and was buried at Cimetière du Père Lachais.

Theories Put forward by Auguste Comte

Born in 1842, sociology became significant when Auguste Comte published his Positive-Philosophy. Many of Comte’s ideas and theories have been known from that time to the present day. According to Comte, sociology must be formed based on observations or observations of society, not just speculation about society. The most famous thought of this man who was born 215 years ago is his thinking about the three stages of intellectual development. Namely, the first theological or fictional stage, the second metaphysical stage, which is the first stage of development, and the third positive stage, which is the final stage of human development. Auguste Comte divided sociology into two parts, namely social statics and social dynamics. Social statics is intended to study the laws of action and reaction between the parts of a social system. Social statics is the most basic part of sociology, but not the most important part of the study of sociology, because basically social statics is the result of growth.

According to Auguste Comte, the most important part of sociology is what he called social dynamics, which he defined as the theory of the development and progress of society. Because social dynamics is the study of history, which eliminates speculative philosophy from history itself. Comte Dividing sociology into these two parts does not mean separating them from each other. While social statics is the study of the interconnectedness of society and constitutes the most basic of sociological approaches, the study of the social relations between its parts can never be studied without understanding them as developmental outcomes. Therefore, Comte argued that this cannot be achieved, a proper understanding of social problems without using a social dynamics or historical approach.

As the founding father of the study of Sociology, Comte characterized that sociology should consist of two main parts, namely Social Statistics and Social Dynamics, namely:

Auguste Comte divided sociology into two parts, social statics and social dynamics.

  • Theory of Social Dynamics

Social dynamics is a theory of social development and progress, because social dynamics is the study of history, which removes speculative philosophy from history itself. In the section on social dynamics a theory was born known as The law of three stages or (the law of three stages).

  • The Law of Three Stages

Comte stated that in society there is continuous development, but the development of society as a whole does not take place in a straight line. Many things hinder the development of a society, such as race, climate and political activism. Comte argued that the answer to social development must be sought in the characteristics that distinguish humans from animals, namely the development of intelligence. Comte put forward three levels of human intelligence, namely the theory of development or what is commonly called the law of three phases or stages, namely:

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1) The theological phase

Beginning before 1300 and characterizing the world. At this stage, everything that happens in this world is believed to be controlled by gods, spirits or supernatural powers of gods. This thought is the absolute basis for explaining all phenomena around humans in such a way that they seem absurd. In this theological stage, society has three beliefs. The first is the fetishism (everything) and the dynamism that this universe has a soul. Then animism, which believes the world is the place where spirits or ghosts live. The second is polytheism (choice), a little more advanced than the previous belief. Polytheism classifies things and natural phenomena based on the similarities between them. Thus, polytheism simplifies the diversity of the universe. example of polytheism, before each rice field had different gods in different villages. Polytheism assumes that every rice field where it is located has the same god, the Javanese say that the god of rice is Dewi Sri. Finally, monoism is the belief that there is only one God. In the theological phase, we can give the following example of the roar of thunder made by the giants in battle.

2) Metaphysical Phase

This phase occurred between 1300 and 1800. At that time, people experienced a change in the way of thinking. At this stage abstract concepts or abstract forces other than God appear, namely nature. Everything that happens on earth is an immutable law of nature. For example, a government official is an educated person who knows science, but still believes in the supernatural and believes in the power of shamans.

3) Positivism Phase

At this stage, all phenomena or natural phenomena that occur can be studied, tested, and proven empirically or scientifically. This stage makes science develop and everything becomes more rational, creating a better world, because people tend to stop looking for absolute causes (God or nature) and focus more on studying the social and physical world, trying to discover the laws that govern it. For example, rice plants bear fruit not because of the will of Dewi Sri, but because of good care and fertilization.

  • Law of the Hierarchy of Knowledge

Having created the structure of knowledge, Comte realized the level of development of human thought in all the behavior it embodied. So often occurs in human thought that we find a scientific level of thinking. At the same time, thinking is seeing the symptoms or reality of theology.

  • The Law of Practical Activity Correlation

Comte believed that there was a natural connection between theological thought and militarism. The theological way of thinking encourages the birth of efforts to answer all problems with violence. That is why power and profit have always been the goals of primitive society in relation to each other. At the metaphysical stage, legal principles (especially natural laws) form the basis for social organization and human relations. This legalistic metaphysical stage is a transition to a positive stage.

  • The Law of Emotional Correlation

Comte believed that only emotions could unite people. Thus, history has demonstrated the relationship between human thinking and the formation of social feelings. At the theological stage, feelings and social sympathies are limited to local communities. In the Middle Ages, however, the social scene expanded more and more with the development of Christianity. The Middle Ages is a century that Comte considered a century in a metaphysical phase. But in the positive/scientific phase, social sympathy is growing in general. Comte believed that a positive and scientific attitude of the human mind could develop an altruistic spirit (respect for superiors) and universalize social feelings (social sympathy).

  • Theory of Social Statics

What is meant by social statics is a theory about the foundations of society. Comte divided sociology into two parts with different positions. Although social statics is an important part of sociology, its position is less important than social dynamics. The task of social statistics is to search for the laws of action and reaction in various parts of the social system. At the same time, in social statics, we seek laws about social phenomena that occur at the same time. There is a doctrine in social statics, namely the doctrine of the individual, family, society and state.


This is a brief discussion of the definition of the theory put forward by Auguste Comte. The discussion this time does not only discuss Auguste Comte’s theory but also discusses the history of sociology, the definition of sociology, and a brief biography of Auguste Comte himself. Understanding the meaning of the theory put forward by Auguste Comte makes us understand more about the study of sociology in depth and try to apply its benefits in social life.

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Author: Pandu Akram