Social Science: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations

By Gerard Delanty | Go to book overview

1
Positivism, Science and
the Politics of Knowledge

Introduction: Defining Positivism

Philosophical debates on the methodology and self-understanding of social science have been for the greater part shaped by the positivist dispute. Therefore a good place to begin is with positivism itself. This will inevitably involve looking at disputes on the meaning of science more generally, since positivism, broadly understood, is a philosophy which argues for the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the social sciences and thereby presupposes the unity of the sciences. Underlying positivism more fundamentally is the naturalistic notion that science is the study of an objectively existing reality which lies outside the discourse of science.

Positivism has been under attack throughout the twentieth century from a variety of different standpoints. It is customary to contrast positivism to hermemeutical or interpretative social science or to the more Marxist inspired critical social science, but positivism, which makes certain assumptions about the nature of natural science, has also been undermined by developments within natural science itself, which cannot be considered positivistic. Thus positivism, both in natural and social science, has been very much in question, particularly since the 1950s. However, the origins of the demise of positivism are to be located within neo-positivism, that is in the general turn to deductive epistemology that began with logical positivism.

To begin, let us be clear on exactly what positivism is. In the most general terms positivism entails the view that scientific knowledge can be positively verifiable, in contrast to dogmatism, speculation

-10-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Social Science: Philosophical and Methodological Foundations
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 197

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.