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The ideas of positivism are actively covered on the pages of peer-reviewed scientific and philosophical journals and religious press published on all five continents. The idealistic picture of the world is considered in the framework of TV shows, documentaries and videos shown on scientific and educational channels.

There are several stages in the evolution of the philosophy of positivism.

The first positivism

The first, initial positivism, whose representatives were Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, Emile Littre, Pierre Laffitte, H. Taine, Ernest Renan and others, was formed in the 19th century. The prerequisite for the emergence of positivism was the rapid development of sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology. The theoretical source of positivism was the Enlightenment with its belief in the omnipotence of reason. Positivism also relied on the empiricism of Locke and Hume.

Second positivism, empirio-criticism, Machism

The second positivism, or empirio-criticism, grew out of the first. Its famous representatives were the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, the German philosopher Richard Avenarius, the French mathematician Henri Poincare.

Third positivism, neopositivism

The third form of positivism, neopositivism, has two varieties: logical (otherwise empirical) positivism and semantic. It was introduced by philosophers Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) and Hans Reichenbach (1891 – 1953).

Representatives: Bertrand Russell, Alfred Tarski, Karl Popper, Ludwig Wittgenstein and others.

Neopositivism, represented by analytical philosophy (Quine, Karl Popper, Kazimierz Aydukevicz, etc.) and the Vienna circle, on the basis of which logical positivism was formed (Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap and others).


Modern positivism is positivism, within the framework of which an obvious tendency is expected to soften the initial methodological radicalism and to focus on the analysis of the role of socio-cultural factors in the dynamics of science (Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Toulmin, Feyerabend, analytical philosophy, Vienna circle).

The program of the original positivism was reduced to the following principles:

  • cognition must be freed from any philosophical interpretation;
  • all traditional philosophy should be abolished and changed by special sciences (each science is its own philosophy);
  • in philosophy, it is necessary to pave a third way that would overcome the contradiction between materialism and idealism.
  • the study of human society can and should be carried out by scientific methods.

These and other provisions were set forth by Auguste Comte in the work “The Course of Positive Philosophy” and Herbert Spencer in the 10-volume “Synthetic Philosophy”. Auguste Comte was the founder of sociology, the science that studies society.

The second positivism

Representatives of the second positivism drew attention to the fact of relativity (i.e. relativity) of scientific knowledge and concluded that science does not give a true picture of reality, but gives only symbols, signs of practice. The objective reality of our knowledge is denied. Philosophy is reduced to a theory of knowledge, divorced from the world.

The subject of philosophy, according to logical positivists, should be the logic of science, the logic of speech, the logical analysis of sentences, the logical syntax of speech. The second kind of neopositivism contributed to the development of semantics. This direction describes the newest major role in all spheres of activity. All social collisions are caused by the imperfection of language and communication.

The fourth positivism puts forward the so-called methodology of research programs, the ideas of humanization of science, theoretical pluralism and the historical context of science.

Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857) was a French philosopher, sociologist, and positivist.

He presented his views in the six-volume “Course of Positive Philosophy” (1830-1842) and the four-volume work “System of Positive Polity, or Treatise on Sociology, instituting the Religion of Humanity.” (1851-1854). Comte, a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute of Paris, was the first thinker in the history of philosophy who had a basic technical education. This allowed him to take a fundamentally new approach to understanding and interpreting a number of problems, which was embodied in his theory of positivism.

John Stuart Mill (1806 -1873) was a British philosopher, political economist, and theorist of proto-feminism. In 1865-1868 he was a member of the House of Commons of the British Parliament. He was a representative of liberalism, a moral theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of the theory was very different. Author (together with Harriet Taylor-Mill) of feminist essays “On the Subordination of Women” (1869) on the expansion of women’s rights (in particular, electoral).

Henri Poincare (1854-1912) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher and theorist of science, Head of the Paris Academy of Sciences (since 1906) and the French Academy (since 1908). Poincare is called one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, the last universal mathematician, a man capable of embracing all the mathematical findings of his time. Member of the Royal Society of London (1894), foreign corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1895), member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, President of the French Astronomical Society, member of the Bureau of Longitude in Paris (1893).

Richard Avenarius (1843 – 1896) was a German-Swiss philosopher, professor at the University of Zurich, founder of empiriocriticism.

Thomas Kuhn (1922 – 1996) was an American philosopher and historian of science, one of the leaders of modern postpositivist philosophy. In contrast to logical positivism, which analyzed the formal logical structures of scientific theories, Kuhn was one of the first in Western philosophy to emphasize the importance of the history of natural science as the only source of genuine philosophy of science.

The positivists clashed with the Marxists, as the latter accused the positivists of the absence of materialism and attributed their worldview in philosophy to the bourgeois.

The ideas of positivism are actively covered on the pages of peer-reviewed scientific and philosophical journals and religious press published on all five continents. The idealistic picture of the world is considered in the framework of TV shows, documentaries and videos shown on scientific and educational channels.

Ann Rice (1941 – 2021) was an American writer, screenwriter and producer, famous for her debut novel “Interview with a Vampire”, which was soon followed by a film of the same name. The author’s books are distinguished by mystical imagery and a Gothic dark atmosphere. Anne Rice is considered the queen of the Gothic novel.


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