The two areas of the social sciences which were more stimulated by Darwin's research were anthropology and sociology. The Frenchman, Auguste Comte (1798-1857), generally regarded as the father of sociology and the originator of that term, laid the groundwork for the immediate application of the law of evolution to the study of society. Comte's conception of sociology is derived from his philosophy of history. Sharing the Enlightenment belief in progress, Comte saw history evolving through three stages. The first was the theological stage, in which men supplied supernatural explanations for the natural and social phenomena. This was followed bu what Comte called the metaphysical stage, a period when men were immersed in speculation. The nineteenth century, he contended, was witnessing the dawn of the third, or positivist, stage of human history. Man was searching for, and would find, scientific law to explain social phenomena. Comte was convinced that through the discovery of these laws man would be able to control his destiny. After the publication of the Origin of Species, many thinkers were persuaded that the principal law had been discovered. [excerpt]
This is the publisher's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Bloom, Robert L. et al. "3. Darwinism and the Rise of Social Science. Pt. XV: Biology and the Rise of the Social Sciences." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 22-28.