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Law of the THREE STATES by Auguste COMTE

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Summary of the three states of Comte

In this lesson from a TEACHER we offer you a brief summary of the Law of the three states of Auguste Comte, French philosopher, father of positivismand of the sociology modern. He was a disciple of Saint-Simonand together they worked for years, until the teacher tried to appropriate the book from his student, Plan of scientific works necessary to reorganize society, in which Comte develops his theory of three states. He invented the term altruism, and taught it by example, since in addition to writing an encyclopedia, he dedicated himself to teaching for free. In fact, his motto was altruism, order, progress.

If you want to know more about Comte and the law of the three states, keep reading this article from a TEACHER.

You may also like: Saint-Simon and Comte: differences


  1. The law of the three states of Comte
  2. Theological or fictitious state
  3. Metaphysical or abstract state
  4. Scientific or positive status

The law of the three states of Comte.

The law of the three states from Comte is a theory that he creates in his book

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Positive philosophy course, and defends the existence of three states different theorists throughout life:

  • Condition theological, or fictitious. Intelligence development
  • Condition metaphysical, or abstract. A path of transition
  • Condition scientific, or positive. Final state

Studying the development of human intelligence, I believe I have discovered a great basic law, to which intelligence is subjected with a need that cannot be changed. Each of our main conceptions, each branch of our knowledge, necessarily passes through three different theoretical stages: the theological (or fictitious) stage; the metaphysical (or abstract) stage; and the scientific stage, or positive ".

Here we explain the three states of Comte. Do not lose detail.

Summary of the three states of Comte - The law of the three states of Comte

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Theological or fictitious state.

In this theological or fictitious state the development of the intelligence of the human being. During this stage, supernatural it was the explanation for every phenomenon of nature, understood as a creation of God. The human being, was shown passive in this process, since by not depending on him, he could do little about it.

The gods are personify and they are responsible for all events and phenomena. This was so, because humans were not able to find the Causes, and in their eagerness for answers, they found nothing more than to attribute to the phenomena divine qualities of nature. This state is divided into three others

1. Fetishism

It is the primary state, and during it, there was no difference between animate beings and inanimate. Therefore, it was common to worship the sun, trees, mountains, volcanoes, etc.

2. Polytheism

The gods they substitute for inanimate objects. It is no longer the fire, the air, or the rain, the divinities, but now, it is the different gods that govern the course of events. The god of water, the god of earth, the god of fertility, etc.

3. Monotheism

Monotheism takes the place of polytheism. There are no different gods, but a single god, omnipotent, responsible for natural phenomena.

Summary of the three states of Comte - Theological or fictitious state

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Metaphysical or abstract state.

The metaphysical state constitutes a path of transition, from the primitive state, to the positive state and derives from the first state. God, the divine being that creates and directs the world, is a being abstract and personified.

It establishes, as is generally known, that our speculations on all subjects necessarily pass through three successive stages: a theological stage, in which spontaneous fictions that do not admit tests; the metaphysical stage, characterized by the prevalence of abstractions or personified entities; Finally, the Positive stage, based on an exact vision of the real facts of the case ”.

Scientific or positive status.

The scientific state is the definitive one. In this state, science relies on observation, the experimentation and the comparison, and the scientific method is valid for all explanation. Causal relationships (cause-effect) are established and the world is analyzed like any other object of study, based on observation and data collection.

Starting from the story, Comte makes a classification of the sciences, according to their complexity and based on the three state law. Therefore, the first sciences, the simplest, were the simplest, and they were followed by other more complex sciences.

According to the law of the three states of Comte, science evolves in this order:

  1. Math
  2. Astronomy
  3. Physical
  4. Chemistry
  5. biology
  6. Sociology

The mother of all sciences, "science reigns”Would be the last on the list, the sociology. In his hierarchy it occupies the first place, since, without a doubt, it is the most complex of all the sciences. Thanks to sociology, they could, Comte thought, solve all the problems that affected human beings and society.

Charles Darwin he wrote the following regarding the law of the three states: “Mr. Comte's idea of ​​a theological state of science [is a] great idea ".

Summary of the three states of Comte - Scientific or positive state

If you want to read more articles similar to Summary of the three states of Comte, we recommend that you enter our category of Philosophy.


Comte, A. Positive philosophy course. Ed Clarity. 2012

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