What is it about?

We explore the ideas of French philosopher Auguste Comte and their relevance to contemporary psychology. Comte proposed a new framework for psychology, placing it between biology and sociology. However, his ideas were largely overlooked by positivist psychologists of his time. We argue that Comte's perspective, which emphasizes the social and affective aspects of human behavior, can provide a solution to the current fragmentation and disunity within psychology. By placing psychology as the highest science after both biology and sociology, Comte's approach offers a way to study human individuality while considering the influences of both biological and social factors. The article also highlights similarities between Comte's ideas and the theories of psychologist Lev Vygotsky, suggesting that Comte's influence on Vygotsky indirectly shaped his views. Overall, this article suggests a reevaluation of Comte's ideas for the development of scientific psychology.

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Why is it important?

This analysis challenges the traditional placement of psychology between biology and sociology and proposes a reevaluation of Comte's role in shaping the field. By highlighting the similarities between Comte's ideas and current trends in psychology, such as the recognition of social influences and the importance of affective life, the paper offers a fresh perspective on the potential future of the discipline.


Writing this article has been an absolute pleasure. Exploring how certain ideas from the past can ignite solutions for the challenges of contemporary psychology has been truly exhilarating. I genuinely believe that viewing psychology as a science of individuality, rather than just the mind, has the potential to profoundly transform the landscape of modern science. It is fascinating to delve into the works of Auguste Comte and rediscover the depth and relevance of his ideas in today's context. Realizing how his holistic approach to understanding human nature can offer insights into the fragmentation and crisis within our field is both inspiring and thought-provoking. The process of researching and connecting the dots between Comte's philosophy, Vygotsky's theory and the current state of psychology has been intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

Alexandr Fedorov
Novosibirskij gosudarstvennyj universitet

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This page is a summary of: Comte and Vygotsky: Revealing the unacknowledged commonalities., Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, May 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/teo0000233.
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