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Positivism: "Love, Order, Progress" - Auguste Comte (1795 - 1857) and Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917)

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  • Essay length: 3182 words
  • Submitted: 25/10/2004
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GCSE Sociology

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Positivism: "Love, Order, Progress" - Auguste Comte (1795 - 1857) and Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917)

The impulse to think critically and seriously about how the social world is made and continues in being is strongest in times of social crisis. Thomas Hobbes claimed to have founded the science of political analysis. His was a great and original contribution but we should not forget that he was one of hundreds of thinkers at that time who all cogitated on similar fundamental problems: If the king is dead who or what is the source of authority in society? If I put myself first, how is society possible?

Hobbes was writing during the English Civil War and after, and that profound political and economic transformation stimulated the production of thousands of pamphlets and books discussing the versions of this problem, which has been called in sociology the problem of order. Hobbes proposed that there should be in society some unquestionable source of authority and power - the Leviathan - that guaranteed the basics of security and law. Without it men would simply follow their appetites and aversions, their wants and fears, and their would be in consequence the

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