refers to a set of epistemological perspectives and philosophies of science which hold that the scientific method is the best approach to uncovering the processes by which both physical and human events occur. Though the positivist approach has been a 'recurrent theme in the history of western thought from the Ancient Greeks to the present day, the concept was developed in the early 19th century by the philosopher and founding sociologist, Auguste Comte.Positivism asserts that the only authentic knowledge is that which is based on sense experience and positive verification. As an approach to the philosophy of science deriving from Enlightenment thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon and Pierre-Simon Laplace, Auguste Comte saw the scientific method as replacing metaphysics in the history of thought, observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science. Sociological positivism was later reformulated by Émile Durkheim as a foundation to social research. At the turn of the 20th century the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, rejected the doctrine, thus founding the antipositivist tradition in sociology. Later antipositivists and critical theorists have associated positivism with "scientism"; science as ideology.
Lecture notes prepared by Biju P R,Assistant Professor in Political Science,Govt Brennen College Thalassery