(noun) The doctrine that society is ordered and can be empirically understood and measured; that empirical knowledge gained through science is the best method to understand the world and all metaphysical explanations should be dismissed.
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- Coined by Auguste Comte (1798–1857) who also coined the term sociology (originally called social physics).
- Positivism was an attempt by Comte to study society scientifically.
- Positivists use the hypthetico-deductive method and stands in constrast to constructionism.
- The basic assumption of positivism is it possible that science can provide a framework through empirical observation to understand society. Postmodernism challenges this basic assumption of positivism.
- Antipositivism is contrasted to positivism.
- A type of reductionism.
- Also called logical positivism
- A (noun) positivist eschews metaphysical explanations to create a (adjective) positivistic or (adjective) positivistical conclusions (adverb) positivistically.
- Word origin of “positivism” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
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How to Cite the Definition of Positivism
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “positivism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved January 19, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/positivism/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
positivism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/positivism/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “positivism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed January 19, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/positivism/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“positivism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 19 Jan. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/positivism/>.