In terminology, positivism (TR:11) or a “positivist” is a social scientist—in the vision of Auguste Comte’s 1826 social physics, elaborated on his series of books, written between 1830 and 1842, on the subject of Positive Philosophy—whose research and or thinking aims to achieve a “positive” knowledge of the natural laws governing society and history; meaning that just as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society. [1]

The following are related quotes:

“If the magnetic force that has guided this particular compass – and what else was its source but the central order – should ever become extinguished, terrible things may happen to mankind, far more terrible even than concentration camps and atom bombs. But we did not set out to look into such dark recesses; let’s hope the central realm will light our way again, perhaps in quite unsuspected ways. As far as science is concerned, however, Niels is certainly right to underwrite the demands of pragmatists and positivists for meticulous attention to detail and for semantic clarity. It is only in respect to its taboos that we can object to positivism, for if we may no longer speak or even think about the wider connections, we are without a compass and hence in danger of losing our way.”
Werner Heisenberg (1952), Heisenberg-Pauli dialogue, Summer

Positivism needs to be purged. Romanticism needs to be borrowed from. It is the combination of determinism and freedom, after all, that constitutes the greatest art; advances in scientific sociology can move its aesthetics beyond a tire romanticism, hopefully into something greater.”
— Randall Collins (1975), Conflict Sociology [2]

Positivism is a doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought.”
— Anon (c.1990), American Heritage Dictionary [3]

See also
● Chemicalism | Chemicalist
Materialism | Materialist
Physicalism | Physicalist
Realism | Realist

1. (a) Rigney, Daniel. (2001). The Metaphorical Society: an Invitation to Social Theory (pg. 42). Rowman & Littlefield.
(b) Macionis, John J. (2012). Sociology (14th edition) (pg. 11). Pearson.
2. (a) Collins, Randall. (1975). Conflict Sociology: Toward an Explanatory Science (pgs. 28, 34). Academic Press.
(b) Brown, Richard H. (1977). A Poetic for Sociology: Toward a Logic of Discovery for the Human Sciences (pg. 27). University of Chicago Press, 1989.
3. Bouw, Gerardus D. (c.1999). “Entropy and the Human Situation”, Biblical Astronomer, No. 89, pgs. 16-25.

Further reading
● Kubbinga, Henk. (1990). “Thermodynamics, Molecularism, and Positivism”, Thermodynamics Conference, Eotvos University, Veszprem, Hungary, Jul 23-28; in: Thermodynamics: History and Philosophy – Facts, Trends, and Debates (editors: K. Martinas, L. Ropolyi, and Peter Szegedi) (pgs. 404-415) (Amz). World Scientific, 1991.
● Swingewood, Alan. (1998). “Industrialization and the Rise of Sociological Positivism”, in: Early Modern Social Theory (pg. 81), edited by Murray E.G. Smith. Canadian Scholars’ Press.

External links
Positivism – Wikipedia.

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