Auguste Comte
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    Inorganic and Organic Classification of Sciences

    All natural phenomena can be put into two categories: inorganic and organic.


    The inorganic ones are more common. But, again, there are two kinds of inorganic things: astronomical and terrestrial. 

    Astronomical events are the most common of all, and they are based on mathematics. The stars and planets have the least amount of different looks. Astronomy studies how the planets and other objects in the sky move, including the earth. It is the most general and simple science after mathematics, and individuals need to know it to understand anything on earth and how it fits in with the rest of the solar system.

    There are two parts to terrestrial physics: physics and chemistry. Physics is about things like matter and energy, and chemistry is how things are made up. Physics is more general than chemistry because it is about masses instead of elements. Chemical events depend on the laws of physics, but they don’t change the laws of physics. The laws of weight, heat, and electricity govern how chemicals act. So, astronomy, physics, and then chemistry are the fields that study inorganic phenomena.


    There are two kinds of organic phenomena: individual and group. The individual organic phenomena look at how all plant and animal forms work and how they are put together. It has to do with general biology or physiology. It is the study of all living things and the general rules that apply to each unit of life. Biology is based on Chemistry because Chemistry is the only place to find reliable information about nutrition or secretions. Biology owes physics information about how much things weigh, how hot they are, and other facts about living things. Astronomical factors help to shape some biological laws. All accurate work in the study of biology is mathematical in nature. So, biology, the science of living things, depends on all of the sciences that came before it, and sociology is the one that depends on the most.

    Sociology had to come last because it depended on all the other sciences that came before it. It is based on knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy, and its tool is mathematics. Comte said that individuals could only study a science well if individuals knew enough about the science it depends upon. Comte said that a sociology student should not only learn a lot about science in general but also study each science in its own right. Comte insisted that one general science could not move past a certain point until the science that came before it had moved past a certain point.

    Sociology Plus