What is the Law of Three States and What Does It Mean? Auguste Comte

What is the Law of Three States and What Does It Mean? Auguste Comte

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Comte is an evolutionist. He sees history as a progress process, that is, he is optimistic. According to Comte’s theory of social evolution, which is called the three-state law or the three-state law, societies go through three stages: Theological stage, Metaphysical stage, and Posivitist stage.

1. What is the Theological (Theological) Phase?
Theological (Theological) Phase

In this period, humanity is in its childhood. In this period, people brought a religious explanation to the phenomena and tried to explain the events around them in this way. In the theological period, human beings have always tried to explain the events that they did not know and could not understand with a transcendent source. Again in this period, human beings listened to the voice of their imagination rather than their reason; Instead of making rationally grounded explanations, he resorted to the possibilities of mythical narrative based on metaphors and similes.

The basic idea at this stage is the belief that all events, physical and social, in other words, in nature and society, are governed by supernatural forces. Nature and society were created and governed by God. At the theological stage, existing information about nature, human beings and society is accepted without question because they have divine characteristics.

2. What is the Metaphysical Stage?
Metaphysical Phase

This age is the youth age of humanity. In this period, people pursued abstract ideas and tried to explain the universe in the light of abstract ideas (such as nature and ideologies). Spirit, immortality, etc. It is the stage where supernatural, abstract concepts and hidden forces are the main determinants. For example, it was explained by the falling of heavy objects, the effort to take their place in nature, or the fear of space.

In the metaphysical period, with the collapse of the belief in the existence of the gods of myth and their special abilities and powers, the human mind tried to grasp the absolute with different metaphysical research programs. During this period, a lot of metaphysical reasoning, metaphysical concepts and metaphysical problems were raised, but the problems put forward could not be solved, and not a single step could be taken in terms of the knowledge reached.

What is evident at this stage is the explanation of social and natural phenomena with some abstract forces. The abstract powers mentioned here are; social order, human rights, law, equality etc. It can be abstract concepts such as nature’s own mind and in this context, its effect on life, for example, “mixed” philosophical understanding. There is no God here; but there is a set of abstract forces that regulate social issues.

3. What is the Positivist (Positivity) Stage?
Positivist (Positive) Stage

In the positive phase, which is the last phase, people have stopped looking for the causes, meanings and sources of phenomena and aim to discover the laws that govern and govern them. In this period, people tended to examine concrete, observable phenomena in order to explain the phenomena in nature and social life. During this examination, cause-effect relationships between the cases can be observed and the regularities and successions in these relationships can be explained by laws.

The metaphysical research logic aiming at the necessary absolute has been completely and irreversibly replaced by a positivist framework of scientific research aimed at understanding the contingent and the relative. In this last period, in which it is assumed that the mind completely overcomes the imagination, human beings are now interested in the phenomena that are open to experimentation, the relations between these phenomena, and the structure, order and laws that are thought to underlie these phenomena.

The first two phases of the three state laws we have mentioned are the negative, that is, destructive, phases of human history. The final stage to be reached at the end (scientific stage) is the positive, that is, the constructive stage, which all societies have to reach without exception.

Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Introduction to Sociology” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Other Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM)