Topics: Scientific method, Science, Sociology Pages: 4 (1323 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Positivism: the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge

Positivism is a philosophy developed by Auguste Comte (widely regarded as the first true sociologist) in the middle of the 19th century that stated that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method. This view is sometimes referred to as a scientist ideology, and is often shared by technocrats who believe in the necessary progress through scientific progress. As an approach to the philosophy of science deriving from Enlightenment thinkers like Pierre-Simon Laplace (and many others), positivism was first systematically theorized by Comte, who saw the scientific method as replacing metaphysics in the history of thought, and who observed the circular dependence of theory and observation in science. Comte was thus one of the leading thinkers of the social evolutionism thought. Brazil's national motto, Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") was taken from Comte's positivism, also influential in Poland. Positivism is the most evolved stage of society in anthropological Evolutionism, the point where science and rational explanation for scientific phenomena develops. Marxism and predictive dialectics is a highly positivist system of theory. However Marxism rejects positivism and views it as subjective idealism, because it limits itself only to facts and does not examine the underlying causes of things.

According to Auguste Comte, society undergoes three different phases in its quest for the truth. These three phases are the Theological, the Metaphysical and the Positive Phases.

The Theological Phase of man is based on whole-hearted belief in all things with reference to God. God, he says, had reigned supreme over human existence pre-Enlightenment. Man’s place in society was governed by his association with the divine presences and with the church that governed all. The Theological...
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