(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.

Audio Pronunciation: (pos·i·tiv·ism)

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Usage Notes:

  • 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.

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