Comtean Scheme of Hierarchy of the Sciences Hierarchy of Sciences: According to this view of the sciences, first proposed by Comte, the sciences can be arranged in ascending order of complexity, with sciences higher in the hierarchy dependent, but not only dependent, on those below. Spencer was of the view that the new science should not interfere with the natural process occurring within society. He explained that by this method the different stages of evolution may all be observed at once. Hence, the sciences developed as follows: from , , , and to and finally to. In 1845, he fell violently in love with a married woman, Clotilde de Vaux 1815 - 1846 , and although she insisted that their relationship could never be physical, she cooperated with him and encouraged him to develop his ideas further. Hence, they occupy the highest place in the hierarchy. The order of their dependence upon each other.
His positivism was presented as articulating and systematizing the principles underlying this last and best stage. Of the various classifications that have been proposed, it is still the most popular today. However, it is impossible to confine oneself merely to the Course. Just as mankind progresses only through determinant stages, each successive stage building on the accomplishments of its predecessors, so scientific knowledge passes through similar stages of development. He christened his principle of classification as the law of Increasing Dependency. From 1822, after the fading of the spiritual power of the Church, Comte reproached the French body politic for neglecting to create an organization with analogous power. Thus, Comte refers to two major types of societies; the theological-military society, which was dying; and scientific-industrial society which was being born during his lifetime.
It is on this basis that Comte has classified various branches of knowledge. After being named tutor in analysis and mechanics at the École Polytechnique in 1832, in 1833 he sought to create a chair in general history of science at the Collège de France, but to no avail. Thought Comte lived through the aftermath of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, at a time when a new, stable social order—without despotism—was sought. The title of the fiftieth lesson of the Course reads: Social statics, or theory of spontaneous order of human society. His concept of altruism recalls the principle of friendship or philia, which Aristotle made the cement of the ancient cities.
He was expelled from the École in 1816 after leading a student protest, and he was forced to continue his studies at the medical school at Montpellier. But there was also an economic obligation to work, and to sustain the products of that work as long as possible; for the importance of solidarity among people would only become clear from the perspective of future generations. This was so successfully concluded that he redelivered it at the Royal Athenaeum during 1829—30. Comte also identified four methods of sociology. This completes the human unity to which the synthesis tends through loving, thinking and acting.
Written long after the first and long before the second of these works, the Cours de philosophie positive contains an epistemology concerned with revealing the scientific means of demonstrating the final necessity of the human and social sciences. In general, human action aims to substitute for this natural order an artificial one, more in line with our desires. In this scheme of classification Comte found an appropriate place for sociology and gave that discipline its name. Comte lived to see his writings widely scrutinized throughout. The second one is the realization that States as we know them are a historical product, which did not exist before 1500, and there is no reason to believe that they will exist for ever.
At the level of doctrine, mathematics has a status of its own, well indicated in the second lesson, where it is presented last, and as if to make up for something forgotten. In 1825, he married Caroline Massin, but the union proved unhappy and they eventually divorced in 1842. A few months later, his correspondence with Mill, begun in December 1841, came to an end. Thus all natural phenomena could be categorised into two grand divisions: inorganic and organic. The thoughts of several important French political philosophers of the 18th century—such as , the Marquis de Condorcet, , and —were critically worked into his own system of thought. While the Hegelian state is called upon to transcend the egoistic civil society by an objective moral idea, Comte wants to orient the will towards the superior reality of humanity, a subjective moral idea. To bring out this eminent place of sociology is the principal aim of the General Conclusions of the Course.
Only death prevented him from writing the System of Positive Industry, or Treatise on the Total Action of Humanity on the Planet, announced as early as 1822. All sciences progress towards the positive method. And it is this emphasis on organic or organismic unitythat sociology has in common with biology. The year 1844 also marked his first encounter with Clotilde de Vaux. He divided all phenomena in the universe into three categories, i.
Positivism asserted very early its wish to construct a moral doctrine that owes nothing to the supernatural. Critical Evaluation Comte successfully established through his classification of sciences that sociology is also a positive science. Worn out from his intellectual labors and personal tragedies, he died in wretchedness and isolation in Paris on 5 September 1857, and is buried at the famous Cimetière du Père Lachaise. The increasing specialization which accompanied it, even if it is the sine qua non condition of progress, threatens the cohesion of society. The positive method must prevail in history and politics and finally in sociology which is the roof of all sciences. In brief, scientific positivism demands that we act so that theory and practice are in harmony.
But only in 1847 does Comte make the substitution explicitly; sociological synthesis comes to replace theological synthesis. From times immemorial thinkers have been trying to classify knowledge on one or the other basis. The religious ritual is the active side of religion. Based on his discussions with Condorcet and Saint-Simon, Comte developed his theory of a universal law, which was at work in all societies and sciences, and through which progress is inevitable and irreversible. The sacred things are considered to possess special powers, are reserved for special occasions and a number of restrictions are attached with them. At this stage, mind takes into account abstract forces and a belief that personified abstractions are capable of producing all phenomena. The second pillar of positive philosophy, the law of the classification of the sciences, has withstood the test of time much better than the law of the three stages.