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Reference Notes for Management

Which founder of sociology believed societies changed due to class struggle?

Which founder of sociology believed societies changed due to class struggle?

a. Émile Comte
b. Karl Marx
c. Plato
d. Herbert Spencer

The Correct Answer is

b. Karl Marx

Correct Answer Explanation: b. Karl Marx

Karl Marx, the correct answer to the question, is considered one of the founding figures of sociology due to his influential theories on society and its evolution. Marx believed that societies change primarily as a result of class struggle.

His perspective, known as historical materialism, asserts that history is shaped by the conflict between different social classes, particularly between the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class) and the proletariat (the working class).

Marx’s theory of class struggle revolves around the idea that throughout history, societies have undergone transformations driven by the struggles between those who own and control the means of production (the bourgeoisie) and those who sell their labor for wages (the proletariat).

According to Marx, this ongoing conflict between these classes is the driving force behind social change and the evolution of societies.

Marx argued that as capitalism advances, the gap between the wealthy bourgeoisie and the exploited proletariat widens, leading to heightened tensions and eventually sparking revolutionary movements.

He predicted that this struggle would ultimately result in the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a classless society, where the means of production are collectively owned (communism).

Now, examining the other options:

a. Émile Comte:

Comte, a French philosopher and sociologist, is recognized as one of the pioneers of sociology and the founder of positivism. His major contribution was the proposal of the Law of Three Stages, which outlined the development of human thought and society through three stages: the theological stage, the metaphysical stage, and the positive stage.

Comte emphasized the significance of applying the scientific method to the study of society, advocating for empirical observation and analysis. However, Comte’s approach did not primarily center on class struggle as the fundamental force driving societal change.

Instead, he focused on the evolution of human thought and society’s progression through these stages, highlighting the importance of empirical observation and the development of a positivist methodology in understanding social phenomena.

c. Plato:

Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, is renowned for his influential works, including “The Republic,” where he expounded his ideas on justice, governance, and the ideal state. Plato envisioned a society ruled by philosopher-kings, where individuals were assigned roles in society based on their innate abilities and virtues.

Plato’s views on society primarily revolved around the concept of justice, the ideal state, and the division of labor within that state. He proposed a hierarchical society with distinct classes: the ruling class of philosopher-kings, the warrior class to defend the state, and the working class.

However, while Plato’s philosophy encompassed discussions about the structure of an ideal society, it did not center on class struggle as the central force driving societal change. His focus was more on the organization and harmony within the state.

d. Herbert Spencer:

Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher and sociologist, is known for his contributions to evolutionary theory and the application of Darwinian principles to social sciences.

Spencer introduced the concept of social Darwinism, suggesting that societies evolve and progress similarly to biological organisms through processes of adaptation, competition, and survival of the fittest.

Spencer’s perspective on social change was rooted in the idea of societal evolution, where societies adapt and progress through natural selection and the survival of the most capable individuals or groups.

However, unlike Marx, Spencer did not emphasize class struggle as the primary driver of societal change. Instead, he focused on the evolutionary progression of societies and the role of competition and adaptation in shaping social structures.

In summary, while these thinkers and philosophers made significant contributions to understanding society, their theories and emphases differed from Karl Marx’s central premise of class struggle as the principal force behind social change.

Marx’s focus on the conflict between social classes as the primary catalyst for societal evolution stands out distinctly from the perspectives of Comte, Plato, and Spencer.

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