Meaning of Positivism

What is Positivism:

Positivism is a philosophical current that affirms that all knowledge derives in some way from experience, which can be supported by means of the scientific method. Therefore, reject any knowledge prior to experience.

Positivism, epistemologically speaking, means 'worthless' or 'without prejudice'. That is, they do not believe in previous ideas or a priori ideas because everything is open until it is objectively demonstrated through a scientific method.

The term positivism emerged in France in the mid-19th century. The first to mention positivism was the French philosopher Saint-Simon, forerunner of social philosophy. However, it was the French sociologist and philosopher Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) who popularized this philosophical trend together with the British philosopher and politician, John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873).

Both Comte and Mill were based on the idea that all knowledge or philosophical or scientific activity should start from real and possible facts to verify through the scientific method, so they rejected any type of knowledge prior to experience.

Positivism has its roots in the French Enlightenment or Enlightenment where there is an emphasis on rationalism and 18th century English empiricism represented by David Hume (1711 - 1776).

Likewise, it was one of the results that the French Revolution produced after the political, social and economic changes, which placed individuals and societies as objects of study based on their experiences.

Therefore, positivism is a conjugation of empiricism, a philosophical current that is based on the fact that all knowledge is acquired through some type of experience or observation, in which logic and mathematics go beyond the facts through the application of the scientific method.

See also:

  • Enlightenment
  • Empiricism
  • Experience

The father of the scientific method René Descartes (1596 - 1650) claimed that ideas were innate. Later, John Locke (1632 - 1704) refuted this idea by introducing experience as a catalyst for all knowledge.

In another vein, the term positivism also refers to taking a more positive, comfortable and practical attitude to be happy and obtain better benefits. As one would say with the psychological analogy of the glass half full or the glass half empty, the one who practices positivism or, the one who is positive, always sees the glass half full.

See also: Positive thinking.

Characteristics of positivism

Below are the main characteristics that define the philosophical current called Positivism.

  • Reject the notions a priori and the concepts or beliefs of universal type that have not been verified.
  • Positivism is based on the fact that empirical facts are the foundation of knowledge.
  • It promotes as valid the knowledge of a scientific nature supported by the scientific method.
  • The scientific method must be applied to both scientific and humanistic investigations.
  • The knowledge that is obtained from positivism must be objective.
  • Documented evidence is the most important, not your interpretations.

Logical positivism

Logical positivism or neopositivism is a philosophical trend that includes the analysis of language in its scientific methodology and is limited to the analysis or study of everything that is empirical and verifiable. This derivation of positivism emerged in the 20th century and was developed by the members of the Vienna Circle.

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