Humans are social by nature, be they living and dying in the misty rainforests or writing a philosophy book on their laptop in the Bronx, New York (though those folks are often decidedly antisocial). Humanity, as a general rule and barring the requisite exceptions, seeks out others of their kind for business and pleasure, friendship and romance. We comprise families, social circles, religious institutions, and bodies politic under the umbrella we call a society. And how we interact with each other is a never-ending source of fascination. From the Sophists who pronounced, “Man is the measure of all things,” to those who simply sit on a park bench and “people watch,” to the more scientific-minded who devised an elaborate and systematic discipline around people watching, sociology has emerged as a valuable and wide-ranging field of study.
Though many philosophers made the study of mankind and his social situations an object of scrutiny, the word sociology was first coined by a French philosopher named Auguste Comte in 1838. Generally regarded as the Father of Modern Sociology, Comte sought to employ the same methods that scientists had used in the investigation and exploration of the physical world and apply them to the study of human affairs.
The three major figures in sociology are Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. Their insight and influence changed the world and is still felt today.