The word 'sociology' first appeared in one of the volumes by Auguste Comte (1798-1857), entitled Cours de Philosophie Positive (1). Comte considered that one could discern the natural development of society in accordance with some law within the history of mankind. He further believed that there was some form of progress attendant upon this natural development of society, and that the main task of sociology was concerned with the reconstruction and progress of social forms and structures. According to Comte there were three definite stages in the law which governed such progress:

the theological or fictive;

the metaphysical or abstract;

the scientific or positive.

This third stage, the phase of science, included sociology which was, to Comte, the very crown of science and of intellectual achievement.