Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer
These philosophers were active during the Century of Great Hope. Thus, the foundation of their argument is their belief in the law of society’s continual evolution.
Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer were contemporaries, and both sought to establish sociology as the study of society. Since Spencer and Comte are often grouped together in terms of their contributions to the development of sociological theory, Spencer is also referred to as the “second founding father of sociology.”
In contrast to Auguste Comte, Spencer had completely different goals in mind for sociology. To help men build a better society, Auguste Comte sought their assistance. Instead, Spencer advocated for avoiding human intervention in natural societal processes via the study of sociology. In addition, Spencer strongly believed in the notion of freedom and considered any interference with it detrimental.
Spencer was also introduced to Auguste Comte’s theories and took the word “sociology” from Comte. He vigorously contested any intellectual debt to Auguste Comte, however.
Similarities between Comte and Spencer
First off, Comte and Spencer were both committed to advancing the science of society.
They both saw society as an organism too. In other words, both stressed the importance of studying society as a whole and concentrated on the interactions among its many components, including social institutions.
Thirdly, and most crucially, Spencer shared Comte’s notion of historical development as an evolutionary process. Both had strong confidence in historical development’s unity and irreversibility, as well as their belief in progress. Both of their ideologies placed a strong emphasis on evolutionary philosophy.
Finally, Spencer did not read works by other academics and exhibited cerebral hygiene similar to Comte.
Differences between Comte and Spencer
Spencer disregarded Comte’s Law of Three Stages.
The most significant contrasts were Spencer’s adoption and promotion of the laissez-faire concept. Spencer, unlike Comte, had little interest in social reforms. He believed that the government should act passively to protect its citizens and not become involved in their personal matters. He desired an unrestricted evolution of social life.
Spencer, a social Darwinist, argued that the new science should show the modern state that humans should not interfere with or alter the natural processes in society. Furthermore, sociology demonstrates how and why a pure laissez-faire social policy serves society’s interests best, in contrast to Comte, who wanted sociology to help men build a better society in which to live. These presumptions led to Spencer also being referred to as a social Darwinist.
Spencer considered himself a positivist, although he disagreed with Comte’s definition of positivism, particularly his idea of a positivist religion.
Spencer dealt with various disciplines, similar to Comte, although he disagreed with Comte’s claim of the arrangement of sciences in hierarchical order. According to Spencer, sciences cannot be legitimately arranged in any linear order as he believed that the sciences were linked and connected.
Comte seeks to provide a definitive explanation of how human concepts have progressed. Spencer wants to assess how the external world is developing comprehensively.
Spencer emphasized ideas’ structural and functional development, while Comte was more concerned with ideas’ progression.