No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Auguste Comte

For me, reading Comte echoed the multidimensional nature of safety. Like Comte cautioned, we shouldn’t reduce it to a single perspective and instead focus on its evolution alongside established disciplines, like sociology, philosophy, psychology/cognitive science, and engineering which have developed further since Comte’s time. 

Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) was a prominent French philosopher and sociologist who made significant contributions to the field of sociology. His work, particularly "Cours de Philosophie Positive" in six volumes (1830-1842), has had a lasting impact on contemporary sociology. Comte's ideas continue to be of interest for several reasons:

  1. Knowledge sociology: Comte's knowledge sociology emphasized that a particular style of thinking is associated with a specific type of society. He argued that Catholic thinking was linked to feudal medieval society, while the triumph of scientific thought was characteristic of the modern industrial society.

  2. Religion sociology: Comte explored the relationship between religion and science in modern society. He viewed religion as a necessary precursor to the development of scientific knowledge, which differed from the Enlightenment philosophers who held a more critical view of religion.

  3. Science sociology: Comte also wrote about the rise and role of science in modern society. He highlighted the potential dangers of disparities in knowledge across different stages and their impact on social cohesion.

  4. Sociological Approach: Comte's approach to sociology involved explaining the functioning of society by examining the contributions of its individual parts, similar to how biology studies organisms. This organicism and functionalism laid the foundation for sociological thinking.

  5. La loi des trois états: Comte's theory of the three stages of knowledge progression, from theological or fictitious to metaphysical to positive or scientific, underscored the evolution of human understanding and laid the groundwork for positivism.

  6. La classification des sciences: Comte categorized sciences from general to specific, simple to complex, and independent to dependent. Sociology, which he considered the most complex and dependent on other sciences, was placed at the end of this hierarchy.

Comte's work marked a crucial transition in the intellectual landscape, as it sought to establish sociology as a legitimate scientific discipline and emphasized the importance of empirical observation and scientific methodology. While some of his ideas have been criticized or evolved over time, Auguste Comte remains a key figure in the development of sociology and the understanding of societal change and progress.