Auguste Comte

(3950 words)
  • Mary Pickering (San Jose State University )

Auguste Comte is known as the founder of sociology (the science of society), the history of science (the study of the development of the sciences in their historical context), positivism (a philosophy limiting knowledge to what can be observed), and the Religion of Humanity (a secular religion that celebrated society or Humanity).

Comte was born into a modest bourgeois family in 1798 in Montpellier, France. He was forever marked by the turmoil of the French Revolution (1789-99), which upset traditional institutions and beliefs and made it difficult for the French to agree on what constituted a legitimate government and a just society. Comte’s life reflects the instability of the post-revolutionary period. As a teenager, he …

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Pickering, Mary. "Auguste Comte". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 June 2010
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]