The Truth has been, since time Socratic , an issue that has unnerved lot of philosophers throughout the ages. Even today, people still wonder what is True. Although there are many theories , perhaps one of the most far-reaching is the famous positivism .

What is positivism?

In philosophy , the current of thought that postulates that the truth or knowledge about the truth can only be achieved through the so-called Scientific Method. Formulated within the 19th century and under the hand of Augusto Comte, although with the influence of other great thinkers of that century or earlier. They reject all forms of speculation or superstition. Quite the contrary, they value experimentation as the only way to access the truth.

  • What is positivism
  • features
  • Source
  • Who was the creator
  • Types of positivism
  • Main ideas of positivism
  • Representatives
  • Plays
  • Importance of positivism
  • critics
  • Examples

What is positivism

Very unlike what people usually believe, positivism in philosophy has little or nothing to do with the association that ordinary people make about it. When someone says positivism, they think optimism , positive thinking, and the like.

According to philosophy, positivism is something else. It is a school of philosophical thought , widely used in philosophy of science , which postulates that Truth can only be reached through experimentation . All knowledge is only valid if it is obtained through the so-called Scientific Method .


  • Very related to empiricism , which can be seen as a predecessor , it rejects any notion or knowledge that is divorced from experimentation.
  • Used as a method of collection of data the observation . This serves to capture natural and social facts of interest to the researcher .
  • It puts, in the foreground, the scientific method as an instrument of access to the truth.
  • It postulates that the logic that guides the investigative processes must be universal to all science .
  • Science is, in this respect, something oriented to describe and predict the appearance of phenomena .
  • The senses are the means through which we can access the results obtained in research . Everything else is disposable .
  • Postulate the divorce between science and culture . This is done in order to free science from any political, religious or dogmatic pretense that limits it in its quest to know.


As an autonomous discipline, positivism emerged in the heart of the nineteenth century in Europe . This discipline takes from Empiricism one of its main bases, especially from Francis Bacon when declaring the importance of experience as a source of knowledge. Parallel to this, we also have the scientific naturalism of his time, which highly valued the importance of studying phenomena in their natural context.

Who was the creator

Positvism can be said to be a creation of the French Henri de Saint-Simon, Auguste Comte and the Englishman John Stuart Mill .

Types of positivism

Among the types of positivism that we can highlight, we have the following:

Logical positivism

Born into the Vienna and Berlin in the nineteenth century , such attempts positivism based only on questions that can be answered. Its function was in the elucidation of scientific concepts, always avoiding questions such as life after death . All this, according to the logical positivist, responds only to human feelings and passions , and not to a question of scientific interest.

Legal positivism

Also called iuspositivism , it is a branch of positivism that seeks the divorce between morality and law . This dissociation very possibly stems from the positivist interest in differentiating ourselves from human emotions insofar as they are capable of clouding judgments. The rule is, here, something of primary importance, that is, something that must be respected , regardless of the personal values ​​professed by the lawyer .

Social positivism

It is a positivist model that understands the development of the thought of society as something understandable in stages . Comte considers that the latter is the one to which every society must aspire to reach, the former being only preparations or preambles for a scientific era .

Main ideas of positivism

  • The logic that guides an inquiry must be universal to all the sciences that are called as such.
  • The purpose of science is to observe to describe and predict phenomena.
  • All research must be graspable through the senses.
  • The interpretation of the observed data must be constantly avoided. Instead, the positivist scientist will have to rely on logic.
  • Science will have to divorce itself from the values that prevent it from reaching new heights of knowledge .


Among some of its most emblematic representatives, we have:

  • Auguste Comte.
  • John Stuart Mill.
  • Henri de Saint-Simon.
  • Mario Bunge.


  • Positive Philosophy Course, by Auguste Comte.
  • Inclusive legal positivism, by wil waluchow.
  • Positivism in Mexico , by leopoldo zea aguilar.
  • Fisica social, by auguste comte.

Importance of positivism

Despite its detractors, we cannot help but admire the advance and influence that positivism has had in contemporary society . Even though many more things have been developed that leave the positivist postulates in question, the contribution that this made to contemporary scientific advances cannot be doubted.


However, this was a movement not without its detractors, such were the historical cases of the emergence of hermeneutics as an attempt to separate from positivist philosophy. Among the criticisms given to positivism, we of course have its inability to know, in any way, the intention of the object of study , such would be the cases of individuals, groups or other entities where an intention is supposed.


An example of the implementation of positivist philosophy can be found in almost any scientific project or scientific research. These try, as a general rule , to follow a procedure based strictly on the scientific method and on experience or experimentation.

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