Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Philosophy A doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought.
  • n. Philosophy The application of this doctrine in logic, epistemology, and ethics.
  • n. Philosophy The system of Auguste Comte designed to supersede theology and metaphysics and depending on a hierarchy of the sciences, beginning with mathematics and culminating in sociology.
  • n. Philosophy Any of several doctrines or viewpoints, often similar to Comte's, that stress attention to actual practice over consideration of what is ideal: "Positivism became the 'scientific' base for authoritarian politics, especially in Mexico and Brazil” ( Raymond Carr).
  • n. The state or quality of being positive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A doctrine that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method, refusing every form of metaphysics.
  • n. Practical spirit, sense of reality, concreteness.
  • n. A school of thought in jurisprudence in which the law is seen as separated from moral values, i.e. the law is posited by lawmakers (humans).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A system of philosophy originated by M. Auguste Comte, which deals only with positives. It excludes from philosophy everything but the natural phenomena or properties of knowable things, together with their invariable relations of coexistence and succession, as occurring in time and space. Such relations are denominated laws, which are to be discovered by observation, experiment, and comparison. This philosophy holds all inquiry into causes, both efficient and final, to be useless and unprofitable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Actual or absolute knowledge.
  • n. [capitalized] The Positive philosophy (which see, under positive).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a quality or state characterized by certainty or acceptance or affirmation and dogmatic assertiveness
  • n. the form of empiricism that bases all knowledge on perceptual experience (not on intuition or revelation)

Etymologies

From French positivisme, from positif ("positive"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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