Same answer someone would have a given a thousand years ago? Do you think the answer might be different a thousand years in the future?
Our understanding of the world reflects how global society has changed over time and how people in general understand our world. Philosophers have been talking about nature of society for thousands of years, going all the way back t9o the ancient Chinese and Greek philosophers such as Confucius or Plato. This lesson focuses on a more modern theorist – a sociologist named Auguste Comte.
Comte is famous for being the person who actually came with the term ‘sociology’ way back in 1838 to define the study of society. So what did Comte say about how global society as Ancient people in the theological stage believed that the planets were gods.
Three Stages to Society
Comte believed that sociology could identify three major stages to the development of global society. The first and earliest stage is called the theological stage. Starting at the very beginning of human beings and social groups, Comte believed that in this stage, people viewed the world and the events of the world as direct expressions of the will of the gods. In other words, ancient people believed that everything around was a sign of active gods influencing their lives.
For example, ancient people actually believed that planets were gods in the sky, looking down on earth. Even the sun was the part of the world of the gods; ancient Greeks believed that the sun was one wheel on the massive chariot steered by Apollo. If something bad happened, like a community experienced bad weather on an earthquake, people in the theological state explain that event as g9od be angry and showing his or her anger to the people. In short, the theological state meant that people used divine or supernatural explanations to understand society and the world.
Comte’s second stage of the society is called the metaphysical stage. Comte said that this stage started around the Middle Ages in Europe, or somewhere around the 1300s. In the metaphysical stage of society, people viewed the world as reflection of human tendencies. People in this stage still believed in divine powers or gods, but they believed that these beings are more abstract and les directly involved in what happens on daily basis. Instead, problems in the world are due to defect of humanity.