1. theological stage- society seemed to be the result of the divine will. everything was God's plan. scholars may consult the bible.
2. metaphysical stage- enlightenment thinkers saw human kind's behavior as governed by natural, biological instincts. to understand society, we need to strop away the layers of society to better comprehend how our basic drives and natural instincts governed and established the foundation for the surrounding world.
3. the scientific stage- we would develop a social physics of sorts in order to identify the scientific laws that govern human behavior. Comte was convinced that we could understand how social institutions worked, how well we relate to one another, and the overall structure of societies if we merely ascertained their "equations" or underlying logic.