History of sociology and the father of sociology. Auguste Comte Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline. Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, and has been carried out from at least as early as the time of Plato. The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in 1086, whilst ancient philosophers such as Confucius wrote on the importance of social roles. There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Islam.
Some consider Ibn Khaldun, a 14th century Arab Islamic scholar from North Africa, to have been the first sociologist; his Muqaddimah was perhaps the first work to advance social-scientific reasoning on social cohesion and social conflict. The word sociology (or “sociologie”) is derived from the Latin: socius, “companion”; -ology, “the study of”, and Greek ????? , logos, “word”, “knowledge”. It was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes (1748–1836) in an unpublished manuscript. Sociology was later defined independently by the French philosopher of science, Auguste Comte (1798–1857), in 1838.
Comte had earlier used the term “social physics”, but that had subsequently been appropriated by others, most notably the Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet. Comte endeavoured to unify history, psychology and economics through the scientific understanding of the social realm. Writing shortly after the malaise of the French Revolution, he proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism, an epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy [1830–1842] and A General View of Positivism (1848).
Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding. Karl Marx Both Comte and Karl Marx (1818–1883) set out to develop scientifically justified systems in the wake of European industrialisation and secularisation, informed by various key movements in the philosophies of history and science. Marx rejected Comtean positivism but in attempting to evelop a science of society nevertheless came to be recognized as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning. For Isaiah Berlin, Marx may be regarded as the “true father” of modern sociology, “in so far as anyone can claim the title. ” Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was one of the most popular and influential 19th century sociologists. It is estimated that he sold one million books in his lifetime, far more than any other sociologist.
So strong was his influence was that many other 19th century thinkers, including Emile Durkheim, defined their ideas in relation to his. Durkheim’s Division of Labor in Society is to a very large extent an extended debate with Spencer from whose sociology, many commentators now agree, Durkheim borrowed extensively. Spencer was a critic of socialism as well as strong advocate for a lassiez-faire style of government and his ideas were very popular in conservative political circles, especially in the United States and England.