Why are August Comte’s ideas important?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Auguste Comte’s ideas are important mainly because they led to the creation of the field of sociology.  They are also historically important because they were very influential in some countries in the mid- to  late-1800s.

Comte’s major idea was that science could be used to understand human societies.   This led to the creation of the field of sociology.  Sociology continues to be very influential today since it is used to try to determine what we should do in many areas of public policy.

Comte further believed that it was possible to objectively identify the characteristics of good society.  This idea was taken by people in many countries in the late 1800s and used to justify technocratic, non-democratic governments.  This was most notably true in places like Mexico and Brazil where positivist ideas were used to justify autocratic governments.