Comte believed that today we live in a time of crisis. Well, we contemporary readers in the 21st century recognize that thought. But don't forget that Comte worked in the city of Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, and was really in a very, very unstable situation. On the one hand, you had those who believed that the project of the French Revolution had not yet been finished, and that there still was a lot of work to do in bringing about more freedom, more equality and also more democracy. On the other hand there were conservatives who had been appalled by much of what had happened during and also in the aftermath of the French Revolution. And who were not at all convinced that human intervention in the vulnerable fabric of French society had produced anything positive. They dreamed about return to the time tested institutional arrangements of the past, the norms and values of good old France, the [FOREIGN] regime. Those two political camps opposed each other, not only in Parliament or in the newspapers but from time to time also in the streets of Paris. Where barricades were erected and where the kind of repetitions of the French Revolution took place on a somewhat smaller scale. But resulting in an ever changing balance of power between the inheritors of the spirit of the French Revolution and their conservative or even reactionary opponents. That is really a deep structural crisis and Comte to witnessed it, and according to him, it was ultimately the result of a crisis in the intellectual realm, Comte thought that a well ordered society must be integrated by a unifying set of ideas. Kind of intriguetive consensus. Medieval France, he thought, had been well integrated because the Catholic church gave each and every member of that society a set of ideas about the world. Moral codes, ethical goals worth striving for. Ideas that united everybody into an organic structure. But today, we witness how this religious source of unity loses its grip on the people. We experience now, Comte believes, every day the symptoms of a crisis. And what lies beneath those phenomena that is the fact that, you know parts of the population are still devout Catholics, their minds are in the state of theological thinking. Other groups interpret the world in a pre scientific way, their minds are in the metaphysical stage. And then there are, of course, kind of avant garde people containing many men who play an important role in the scientific world or in the industrial world. And they are the positivist thinkers. And the problem, today is that the scientific ideology doesn't yet reign supreme. In fact, all these different types of interpretation coexist, and that creates social chaos. When there is confusion in the intellectual sphere, the entire society is in turmoil. Now, Comte when he was still young and worked as the secretary of the philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon, who by the way developed many of the ideas that today we ascribe to Comte. When Comte was young he believe that the best scientists in France should get together. Create a new scientifically founded system of ideas that might serve as a foundation for the new intellectual social harmony, a bit comparable to what Catholic church had done for medieval society. But when Comte discovered that the scientists were not very interested in such an enterprise then, he set himself the task to present, first in series of lectures, later in an ambitious series of books, an overview of the state of scientific knowledge in his own day and age. And that became his famous book called Course on the Positive Philosophy. Published in Paris in seven volumes in the years stretching from 1830 to 1842. By the way, the fourth volume of that series appeared in 1838, and that was the book where you could find the word sociology in print for the very first time. It has been said that Comte may have been the last member of the human species who could survey all scientific knowledge of his own time and write authoritatively about such fields of study as mathematics, physics, biology, in a way that the specialists of those days recognized as a good panoramic view of what was going on in their field of study. Today, you know, such a task would be impossible. Let's admit even in Comte's day it was an extra ordinary accomplishment. But, then again, this ambitious philosopher with his encyclopedic knowledge loved a challenge.