Positivism
Introduction
Notes and thoughts on positivism (in philosophy).
Positivist philosophy in its broadest sense is a general tendency in philosophy which embraces aspects of the thought of many philosophers including Humean scepticism, the work of Comte (who coined the term), elements of utilitarianism and pragmatism, and logical positivism.
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
Existential positivism is positive practical philosophy. It builds from a base of pragmatic scepticism, and is closely related to, though not strictly dependent on existential expressionism. It bears on philosophical matters which depend in some way on subjective values, or upon some other kind of essential reference to our personal feelings and intutions.
Notes on the History of Positivist Philosophy
Positivist philosophy in its broadest sense is a general tendency in philosophy which embraces aspects of the thought of many philosophers including Humean scepticism, the work of Comte (who coined the term), elements of utilitarianism and pragmatism, and logical positivism.
Key Elements of Positivism
Kolakowski decribes positivism as "a collection of rules and evaluative criteria referring to human knowledge" which tells us what kinds of proposition might count as knowledge of the world and gives norms for what questions are meaningful.

Four features enumerated by Kolakowski as characteristic of positivism: phenomenalism, nominalism, status of value judgements, unity of science. However, Carnap's logical positivism is neither phenomenalistic nor nominalistic.
Other Aspects of Positivism
Other features which may be present, such as empiricism, scepticism, semantic doctrines (verification, utility, pragmatics), methodology for science and philosophy, foundationalisms.
Scepticism has a long history.
Medieval Precursors
The views of some late medieval philosophers may be said to have elements of positivism in them, and contributed towards the separation of scientific knowledge from metaphysics and a separation of secular from ecclesiastical matters.
Precursors in the Enlightenment
According to Kolakowski, "the Enlightenment had a positivism all of its own".
David Hume
Hume scores well on all of Kolakowski's key features and is therefore considered the first full blooded positivist.
Auguste Comte
Comte is the founding father of positivism, the first to deliberately formulate a positivist philosophy and the person who gave the position its name.
My notes on the book by Leszek Kolakowski.
Positive Philosophy
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
RATIONAL
resolving the conflicts
ROMANTIC
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
The problem of engineering machines which reason is philosophically provocative. The justification of an architecture for such a machine is a kind of constructive philosophy.
A conception of philosophy in terms of its purpose, methods, form and content, which is closer in some ways to literary art than it is to most other philosophy.
Existential positivism is positive practical philosophy. It builds from a base of pragmatic scepticism, and is closely related to, though not strictly dependent on existential expressionism. It bears on philosophical matters which depend in some way on subjective values, or upon some other kind of essential reference to our personal feelings and intutions.
A triad of book projects related to Positive Philosophy.
Metaphysical Positivism
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
Materials on the history of philosophy which provide context for an understanding of Metaphysical Positivism.
In essence Metaphysical Positivism is a positivisitic philosophy with negative dogmas excised, with a positive attitude towards metaphysics, based around a method of logical analysis together with appropriate philosophical (including metaphysical) underpinnings.
The motivation.
Metaphysical Positivism is a positivistic philosophical system formulated for the twenty first century, building on a heritage going back at least as far as David Hume; cognisant of developments in logic and computer science which have taken place in the 20th Century, but turning away from some of the recent tendencies in analytic philosophy.
Existential Positivism
Existential positivism is positive practical philosophy. It builds from a base of pragmatic scepticism, and is closely related to, though not strictly dependent on existential expressionism. It bears on philosophical matters which depend in some way on subjective values, or upon some other kind of essential reference to our personal feelings and intutions.
Introduction
The term "Existential Positivism" combines two terms which are normally poles apart, apparently an oxymoron.This represents a weakness in positivistic phlosophy which we seek here to remedy.

up quick index © RBJ

privacy policy

Created:2009/09/15

$Id: x028.xml,v 1.1 2009/09/16 09:46:50 rbj Exp $

V