Emergence of Sociological Theory: Auguste Comte and Harriet Martineau

Discussion Questions
Here are the initial discussion questions:
(1) Seidman argues that “the Enlighteners…saw in the scientific worldview a triumph
of reason over prejudice.” What did he mean by “prejudice” in this case? Do you
think it’s a valid argument that reason has triumphed over prejudice? Why? Why not?
Give examples to support your view.
(2) Martineau identified several “anomalies” between morals and manners in 19th
century America. She argued that these kinds of anomalies would lead to social
change over time? In what ways do you think American society has changed with
respect to each of these anomalies? Do you see any and/or all of these anomalies
still present today? What are any instances in which these anomalies seem to have
produced social change? Give examples to support your argument.
(3) In what ways might Comte’s argument that societies dominated by positivist
thought would be ruled by scientists and industrialists be true today? Give some
present day examples to support your view.

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