Describe Comte's three stages of human history. Does Comte think it is possible for all three stage to exist together in the same place at the same time? Please offer an example of how someone at...

Describe Comte's three stages of human history. Does Comte think it is possible for all three stage to exist together in the same place at the same time? Please offer an example of how someone at each of the three stages of human history would explain the phenomenon of war.

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Comte believed that human history had passed through the following three stages:

  1. The Theological stage, in which deities cause events or phenomena to occur. 
  2. The Metaphysical stage, in which natural events were explained by abstractions.
  3. The Positivity stage, in which events are explained by science and reason. 

Comte believed that although there is a general progression form the first to the third stage, many stages may or do occur at the same time and that societies may not progress from one stage to the next. The three stages can co-exist in the same society.

In the Theological stage, war would be explained as the anger of a deity with a distinct personality. In the Metaphysical stage, war might be explained as the outgrowth of an abstract concept, such as desire. In the Positivity stage, war might be explained as the urge of one society to control the natural resources of another to earn more money.