Positivism : Positivism And Positivism Essay

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In order to critically compare positivism and anti-positivism, firstly the concepts themselves need to be defined. Positivism takes a scientific approach; it is value free, and takes on the idea that the world exists with only natural law, and the methodological approach of society are not taken into account. Positivism follows a structured process; observation, hypothesis, proof and then fact, similar to that seen in scientific or mathematical methods. It takes into account three main aspects. These are empiricism; the idea that all knowledge comes from the senses, naturalism; the idea that everything known comes from the natural world rather than the social realm and scepticism; the ability to disprove the findings. In Social Theory in the Twentieth Century by Patrick Baert, he describes positivism as ‘part of an attempt to sweep away the metaphysical burden of our western philosophical heritage’ going on to say that ‘positivism conceives of sensory observations as a solid foundation (if not the only foundation) for the development of scientific knowledge’ (Baert, 1998, p175). The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: any of various philosophical systems or views based on an empiricist understanding of science, particularly those associated with the belief that every cognitively meaningful proposition can be scientifically verified or falsified, and that the (chief) function of philosophy is the analysis of the language used to express such propositions. (Oxford and

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